The technology event CES commenced in fine style on January 6, 2016, in Las Vegas. CES 2016 is the opportunity for the world’s electronics developers and leading innovative businesses to showcase the latest gadgets they believe will cause a stir amongst consumers. Some 3,600 companies attended this year for what is the 49th anniversary of the technology show.
CES has a reputation for innovation, and last year at CES 2015 the world was introduced to StoreDot’s mobile charging, which caused the BBC to announce it was like “what feels like a modern-day technological miracle.” We were also introduced to wearable technology and increasingly smaller PCs. In a press release, CES called this year’s event “Next Generation of Innovation Debuts,” and over a busy few days there have been some real surprises.
Here’s a selection of the best moments:
The Oculus Rift
This virtual reality device Oculus Rift is being touted as a potential landmark moment in video game history. Facebook bought out the company and the device has gained steady momentum ever since. At CES it prompted huge queues, and even the $600 price tag hasn’t turned eager punters from making preorders.
It’s not the only virtual reality headset on the way. Legendary developer Valve (responsible for Half-Life 2 and the PC gaming Steam phenomenon) have one in development called the HTC Vive, and Sony has one underway for its PlayStation console. The latter wants to remove controllers from gaming, and is consequently developing a gesture-based headset called SoftKinetic.
There were 33 drones in evidence at this year’s show, and the one which dominated the news is an enormous, pilotless drone which is able to transport humans.
The Chinese company Ehang showed off the Ehang 184 to much amazement. It resembles a small helicopter but it’s powered by electricity and can, impressively, be fully charged in only two hours. Furthermore, it can carry a load of up to 100 kilograms (220 pounds). Users merely set a flight plan and tell it to “take off” or “land,” potentially making those trips to the local supermarket for groceries all the more interesting. The downside is one will cost some $300,000.
Other drones included the Disco, designed by the company Parrot, which looks like a stealth aircraft. Other businesses that have pitched their ideas for drones in the hope this concept will take off with consumers included Hexo+, Fleye, Disco, and Mota, while WowWee showcased the Rev Air, a drone which is chased by a smartphone-controlled car. Others are designed to follow their owners around filming them, in some sort of benign, narcissistic version of Orwell’s nightmarish Big Brother vision.
Mcor Desktop 3D Printer
Desktop 3D printers have been touted as the next big thing for going on five years, but the technology’s not advanced to the stage where it’s readily affordable for most consumers. Mcor, however, showcased a the Mcor ARKe 3D printer which the company states is suitable for offices and classrooms.
The Mcor 3D printer creates colour models with a resolution of 4,800 by 2,400 dots per inch—this is a greater detail than many traditional inkjet printers. It uses a mixture of paper, glue, and razors to print, and is likely to go on sale at around $6,000.
Samsung’s Smart Fridge