Top Trends at CES 2018

 
 Sony's Aibo robotic dog that sells for $1,800 USD.

Sony's Aibo robotic dog that sells for $1,800 USD.

OUR TOP 5 TRENDS FROM CES 2018:

  1. Autonomous Vehicles & Sensors
  2. VR and AR Sharing New Experiences
  3. Virtual and AI Assistants with Voice Control Interfaces
  4. As Always, LED TVs
  5. Smart Appliances

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Autonomous Driving and Sensors

Sensors, everywhere! Sensor technology is mainly being developed for autonomous driving. The self driving car [pictured] was simulated through VR experiences, with a prototype of the car sitting nearby.

In the VR experience, passengers are able to conduct meetings while on the road with people in the car or through video on the windows. Hands-free, passengers can catch some sleep before they arrive at their destinations, and families can make the most out of their roadtrips.

As a definite highlight, Osram utilized LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to adjust vehicles to their environments–in real time to help avoid crashes.

Self driving cars are not just for personal use, but commercial use as well. Concepts at CES included, pizza delivery with facial recognition to pay and  Uber and Taxi services.

 

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Virtual Reality (VR)

With so many conceptual ideas, there needed to be a way to simulate them. There was no shortage of VR, which included: a trip in a helicopter taxi, skydiving, fighting alien invaders, job training, practice surgeries, and racing Lamborghini in Germany.

The most impressive experience goes to Panisonic using HTC’s VIVE headset to walk through their Future of Travel concept. The VR world was rendered in such high fidelity that the water made you thirsty, and the hotel bed had you wanting to jump right in. With companies showing off their concepts in such high resolution, the expectations of the final deliverable are high.

All of these experiences can potentially lead to VR vertigo. The sensations are so real that it’s possible to experience a bit of motion sickness in the simulators. This has created an entire market for the prevention and aid of VR vertigo.

 
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Virtual Assistant

Siri, Alexa, Bigsby, Google Home? On one device these virtual assistants are helpful; the problem comes when companies start promising integration with home appliances. Want an LG fridge and a Samsung washer and dryer? LG can communicate with Alexa and Google Assistant, but Samsung can only use Bigsby. For right now, if consumers want to have various products and appliances with one virtual assistant ecosystem, they’ll have to wait. Companies are working toward compatibility but with no end date in sight.

At the top, Amazon’s Alexa is acquiring more skills this year and is able to respond to subtle nuances of conversation. The user does not have to say “Alexa, what is the weather today?” Instead, a more natural question would be, “Alexa, do I need a jacket?” With voice control as the hottest trend in tech, this means smart appliances will eventually respond to everyday language and not just commands. Alexa seems to be the front runner of this tech.

 
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TV

LEDs are not new, but these TVs are becoming thinner than ever. The new trends in TVs is to not even notice them. This has pushed creative innovation with thinner screens that double as wall art or rollable screens that can be stored away. Not only are screens getting a physical makeover, the internals are improving as well.

The star of the show was Sony’s 8k resolution screen. The best part was the seemingly natural look of the picture, not overly processed, like some 4k screens.

 

Augmented Reality (AR)

AR is giving VR a run for its money. One of the coolest examples was from Indiegogo. Using a 3D model of the moon, users can interact through their phones to learn about the moon’s different craters and characteristics.

 Haier Majic Mirror. Photo Credit: Chris Monroe/CNET

Haier Majic Mirror. Photo Credit: Chris Monroe/CNET

Another great concept came from Haier. Their wardrobe and bathroom mirror take a morning routine to the next level. With the help of AR and scanning, a user can try on different outfits in the mirror. With the potential to show product options and virtually try on clothes, there’s more speculation about how this will integrate with an ordering service, such as Amazon Prime.


Here's our best in show


SONY

Introducing their own phone, Sony showcased 3D scanning with AR and slow-mo that catches 960 frames per second–four times as fast as Apple. They made advancements in audio, from sound bars to personal headphones, allowing for a better musical experience. Sony is also on the autonomous driving circuit, using their technology to help cars see more contrast and evaluate the scene for better performance. Overall, the best part was the physical tech to try out and see in person. They are making big moves as far as projector TVs, personal audio, and AI technology.

 
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Polaroid & Kodak

These companies are on the list due to the their persistence to stay relevant in the tech industry, even though now considered a nostalgic throwback brand. They are still in the game by adding high tech aspects to the classic camera. However, both companies have jumped off the camera ship and are pursuing new plans. Kodak is planning to carry out a blockchain-based initiative to help photographers gain more rights to their photographs. Meanwhile, Polaroid is diving into the 3D.

 

Panasonic

Their simulations gave the highest resolution and experience. Also, their prototypes showed advancements in materials and technology. Although they only presented tech, their VR seemed to be the crowd favorite!


 
Mallory Evans