This year at CES we’ve seen wonderful and intriguing technology being presented, by large companies such as Huawei, Intel, Sony, LG and plenty others. While the event itself has followed the same tradition, there were some mentions which sparked our imagination. We are talking about amazing projects, which push the limits of evolution one step forward and make us wonder what will the future have in store.
Today, we’ve decided to linger a bit more on this specific category and present the most interesting technology and the most futuristic projects unveiled at CES 2013. The list is long, categories are broad, but we assure you that everything below is more than eye-catching.
Awesome Technologies Introduced at CES 2013
Samsung 3D OLED HDTV with Multiple Views
Couples will have to find other reasons to fight now, as Samsung introduced a TV so smart, that it can simultaneously render 2 channels without messing with the viewing experience. In a few words, the high resolution 3D TV can transmit two pictures at high refreshing rates are then filtered by a pair of glasses, allowing couples to watch NHL and Dexter without interfering the images. The channel separation is accomplished through a smart mechanism and allows the filtering glasses to be used pretty much as a remote, by switching from one view to another using a button mounted on the left side.
Valve’s Steam Box
Valve’s Steam Box is a subject much spoken about in the past few months, in which more than several rumors have surfaced. Well, the devil has appeared this year at Las Vegas, and although it’s merely in a prototype state, Valve has a few designs that might appear in your living room next year. Do check out some other cool gaming gear at CES 2013.
The idea behind Valve’s Steam Box is to bring a hardware form of the well-known gaming platform right in the living room, and this year’s CES developers have taken the chance and presented several Logitech products as possible bearers. The show was designed to simply create enthusiasm and to help product makers pick a form. More details will be announced in the following months.
Transparent Mobile Displays
While complete transparency for a LED display is still a myth, Wysips has managed to create a unit capable of passing 90% of the lightwaves striking its surface, making it a feasible option for those who wish to read news and see the boardwalk at the same time. Besides transparency, the project also aims to power the new-age display simply by using the sun as a battery, but results are yet to pass a sufficient threshold to amaze us all. Still, by 2014, the company should deliver something more impressing.
Neonode’s Multi-sensing technology
Using a multitude of sensors and infrared technology, Neonode has invented a way of adding touch capabilities to any surface, whatsoever. The concept is simple, and uses several bars of infra-red light, which track motion once the patter has been interrupted. Adding this concept above any surface, be it a monitor display or a large sized table, will allow users to move around using their fingers. Unfortunately, the project is a bit power-demanding and it is yet unclear if the extra bezel will be demanded.
Gigabyte’s Tiny but Powerful PC
Gigabyte has shrunken the PC world once more, thanks to their new-age computer that occupies only 0.3-liters of volume (that’s a bit bigger than a hand cream box) and embeds components powerful enough to render high end games. The device, yet named and priced by Gigabyte, gives owners the possibility to integrate an i3, i5 or i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a hard-core 256GB SSD that would match most laptops out there. The problem comes with connectivity, as the assembly has only two USB and HDMI ports.
LG’s Smart Activity Tracker
LG’s partnership with Google did not resume on smartphones and intelligent TV sets, but also in a tricky bracelet, which can do more than monitor basic fitness habits and body functions like others. First, the Smart Activity Tracker is compatible with both Android and iOS and can connect through Bluetooth with other intelligent gadgets, like a tablet, and make use of various sensors found on the device itself or, on its hosts (like an altimeter).
During the symbioses, the bracelet will allow users to see who is calling them and even perform basic action, using the built-in touch surface, while syncing with smart LG TVs and dedicated fitness applications.
Bone Conduction Headphones by Panasonic
Panasonic has been a lovely presence this year at CES and besides revealing a large line of TVs and other interesting gadgets, the manufacturer presented a concept of bone conduction headphone. Although the project is still in an early phase, with problems being present in several chapters including the quality and amplitude of the sound, Panasonic has once more proven that a pair of headphones can be somewhat charged by the brain itself. At this moment, the headset is powered by a single AAA battery, but Panasonic aims to replace it with a rechargeable unit which will be powered by the human body instead.
Styku Virtual Fitting Rooms
I’ve always found unsuitable to purchase clothes from a web-based shop, because it’s hard to find something that will fit nicely and actually were it afterwards. Thanks to a new concept, integrated by Styku last year and displayed in Vegas last week, the pilot program Nordstrom gives online buyers to scan their bodies using a series of Kinect sensors and to obtain accurate measurements of their body. Afterwards, all the data captured can be used to find fitting clothes and even to venture into more expensive purchases, such as a wedding gale.
At this moment, measurements are pretty accurate, it takes only 30 seconds for the hardware to process them and the only major impediment is the price of the technology; not everyone can afford such a room.
Mind Controlled Gadgets from Muse
Muse has developed a headband that can interpret brain waves and put their energy in action, using several software applications and gadgets. Technically, the device uses EEG signals from four sensors placed on the forehead and two behind the ears, and sends measured data using Bluetooth to an included application suite that is mostly composed out of games, fitness and brain training software.
Although the concept relies only on the focus developed by the train, developers aim to extend the concept and have opened the medium using a SDK built for third-party developers.
Cloud Gaming on Android
Agawi and Marvell have teamed-up to bring cloud-based gaming to Android platforms all around the world, in an attempt to push gaming on step further from the console. At the moment, the resolution aims at internet and cable providers, game publishers but also at retailers. Known as CloudPlay, Agawi’s system may be embedded in the next TV generation and just like Ouya said, gaming may return to the television.
The concept states that smart TVs that contain Marvel-made hardware will be able to run state-of-the art games, using the power of Android.
Cross-Platform Virtual Assistant
The story started with Siri, evolved with Google Now and branched through various other projects, all standardized on a single platform. Now, Nuance’s project called Wintermute wants to extend even further by bringing a virtual assistant to various mobile operating systems. The concept, still in the works at the moment, will bet heavily on the cloud to offer first-class assistance in a platform agnostic method.
Wintermute aims to be compatible with every tablet, smartphone or computer out there and even wants to extend its tentacles to smart TVs. Although the idea is quite catching, major questions will have to be answered, as all of these devices will require a strong internet connection and a powerful hardware platform to perform the task. Still, it’s a great one.
Smart watches are on the bridge of evolution, but with every new release and every design, it seems that something is missing. For instance, there are several watches that can handle fitness functions but only a few which can actually be entitled smart.
Toshiba aims to be one of the first companies which exploits this huge opportunity, by designing a truly smart watch, capable of binding smartphone functions with advanced sensors and traceable body gimmicks. The project, still in a concept phase, will be able to measure your body’s pulse and basing on that, recognize the person wearing it. Moreover, certain functions will be optimized from one person to another, in a way similar to a computer ID session.
Besides fitness tricks, Toshiba’s smartwatch will also pair with Android / iOS and pull certain content from the smartphone, such as emails, maps and even turn-by-turn directions. All that wrapped in a classic, stylish body.
Garmin K2 Smart Car Cockpit
The Garmin K2 “Glass Cockpit” is truly a smart invention which aims to bring an IQ surplus inside the cabin, while easing the driving experience. Unlike other concepts of the same kind, Garmin K2 has two display units mounted inside the car, one that’s 10.4-inch wide and mounted in the central platform, and another which measures around 12-inches mounted right behind the steering wheel.
Both of these panels are used to render information synchronized with your smartphone and with the Garmin server, regarding traffic information, mileage, gas price, nearest points of interest and even more personal details. All the information is transmitted using the cellular connection from the mobile or, if users opt to, the car can be paired with a dedicated modem for a stable link.
iTwin Connect USB
iTwin is known for its powerful encryption algorithm and the ability of setting up secure VPN connections, for a price. What turned our eyes around this year at CES was the iTwin Connect technology embedded in a plain USB stick, which allows users to securely access remote computers on-the-go. The device costs around $130 and can be used for VPN links even between different continents (US, Asia and Europe), solely relying on a humble storage stick.
Dell’s Project Ophelia
Dell has plans of creating a portable USB stick that once inserted into a monitor, it will turn the unit into a fully-functional computer. Based on Android 4.0, Project Ophelia as called by Dell’s security unit Wyse, will be primarily based on a cloud server where all your content will live. Although there are few details available at the moment, we know that users will be able to play games and access tons of content from just about anywhere.
Morphing Touchscreen Keyboard
I personally hate virtual keyboards and like me, thousands of BlackBerry addicts. This may have to change as an innovative company, Tactus, had in mind of producing a morphing touchscreen keyboard. The concept was introduced in the second half of the past year and involves tiny bags of silicon and a controller to activate the wonder.
In a few words, the idea is quite simple and perfect for those wishing a full-state QWERTY and a 4-inch touch display at the same time. Once embedded into the smartphone, users will only have to activate the system using a switch and a liquid will be injected into small bags, recreating the feel of a physical keyboard just above the virtual one.
Flexible e-paper tablet
Plastic Logic is the company that came up with the brilliant idea of flexible tablets, but it needed a bit of help to push the project into making. Now, sustained by Intel and Queen’s U, that concept evolved into a fully-sized product which will be on the streets soon.
Seen as a flexible and very light tablet, the PaperTab from Plastic Logic is a flexible device almost as thin as a sheet of paper which can render content pretty much like a full-sized tablet. Aimed for content consumers, the product can be bent in every way and brought together with other tablets of the same kind, to create a bigger surface which can transfer content from one plane, to another. Just like in a scene from Avatar, users will have the option of switching the view between multiple devices and turn pages simply by bending the PaperTab.
Nvidia’s Project Shield
Nvidia has announced earlier that it will aim even deeply at the gaming market, by introducing a Shield gaming console, a cloud-based computing and a new Tegra generation. The first one in question was also showcased at CES this year, where nVidia took the liberty of bragging with an almost functional model, that blends the advantages of an old-school controller with the beauty of a 5-inch wide multitouch display on high resolution. The assembly is powered by the new Tegra 4 quad-core Cortex A15 processor and promisses to run astonishing games on an Android platform.
Samsung Flexible OLED
OLED technology has been the trend this year at CES and from what I have seen all-around, people are already worshiping the extended quality and are seriously thinking of renouncing at their LED TVs, for the new generation. Well, Samsung has taken the concept a step further and has released the world’s very first bended OLED TV, with a viewing angle similar to cinema panels. The first curved TV gives owners the possibility of immersing themselves into the environment presented, by creating an almost life-like viewing experience.
Asus Motion Control Technology
Asus has thoughts of replacing conventional TV remotes or even keyboard mice, by implementing a motion control technology into computers and smart television sets. This year in Las Vegas, Asus introduced their own Google TV project, called Asus Qube, with a pretty smart remote.
The Qube, which blends both the hardware platform and the remote itself, can interpret owner’s gestures in methods similar to a Wii controller, letting owners browse through channels or navigate through applications. The motion controlled-remote is paired with a tricky Android interface that can extend to playing games and pairing with other intelligent devices. The motion control technology developed by Asus is said to also arrive on the next generation of computers or AIO devices.
Tobii Rex: Gaming with your eyes
Another Valve-sustained project presented this year was Tobii Rex, an eye-tracking device that has the potential to revolutionize gaming experience as we know it. Its name is pretty straight-forward, and describes a device that lets owners interfere with the computer by only using eye movement, pretty much like in a Sci-Fi movie.
At the moment, Tobii Rex is capable of navigating through the Windows 8 interface and supplement some basic moves in StarCraft 2, like zooming in or out, migrating a limited set of units or centering the screen, but there are no limits of this technology as years pass.
Audi’s Self-Driving Car
Although the name of “self-driving” is pretty much offset, Audi has managed to introduce a smart A7 car that can park all by itself. The car was demoed in a multi-story car park, where it successfully managed to choose an empty parking space and direct its body without touching the environment.
The concept Audi A7 relies on a wide range of Wi-Fi sensors placed around the car and, unfortunately, on a laser grid map of the parking lot, which has to be manually made before performing the autonomous parking. It’s a good start, but truly self-driving cars are still decades away – and for the fun of driving, I hope even further.
uChair – a keyboard made to fit
There are more than several ergonomic keyboards out there, which help users type in the most comfortable ways, but we can guarantee that none can be compared with uChair. This project showcased at CES it’s the almost perfect combination between an ergonomic split keyboard, a comfortable chair and a recliner for your laptop – the recipe for a full day’s work (or gaming).
LG’s Tiniest Printer, the Pocket Photo
The LG Pocket Photo is a tiny, cute printer that can fit inside your pocket and print images on-the-go. Measuring just a few inches, Pocket Photo uses a Zero-ink technology to print 2×3 inch photos and NFC connecting technologies to pair with LG phones. Although USB and Bluetooth transfers can also be made from various smartphones towards the printer, those who own an LG Nexus 4, for instance, can simply tap the printer with the smartphone and the file will warp instantaneously, thanks to NFC magic and to a dedicated app.
The price of the wonder orbits around $169, which is not so much for the portable wonder, but this will only made available in Korea.
A mouse that scans documents
The Systec Slam Basic is a pretty helpful mouse that can scan documents, receipts, pictures and other kind of files and magically convert them into Office-compatible files, or .JPEG images. The idea was implemented pretty simple into the mouse unit, with a camera being attached in the lower part and used for quality scans. The process is also done with ease, users having only to move the mouse over the needed document and watch magic happen (there’s an app for that).
Moneual Smart Ordering Table
Waiting for infinite queues at McDonalds may become a thing of the past, as Moneual has invented the MTT300 Touch Table PC, a perfect device for ordering food. In a few words, the unit allows clients to complete their order right from the seated table, by selecting the menu, paying for the order with a credit card and waiting for the waitress to serve it, without actually staying in front of a cashier’s desk.
Although the concept is meant primarily for restaurants, Moneual says that depending on the customer’s needs, the table can be configured to perform any action that a regular PC can. This is mostly accomplished by the fact that the table has usual audio-interfaces, an Intel Atom D2700 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and a Nvidia graphics card.