Last week, more than 180,000 people from over 155 countries descended on Las Vegas to catch a glimpse of the technology of tomorrow at the biggest tech expo of the year.
From 8K rollable OLED TVs to wristbands that control body temperature, the international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 did not disappoint: this year, over 4,400 tech manufacturers stepped up to the world stage to unveil a plethora of cutting-edge products tipped to transform the way we live and work.
As the week-long event came to a close, many delegates had still only scratched the surface – of course, with 11 venues and more than 2.9 million net square feet of exhibit space, catching sight of every weird and wonderful product is near impossible. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the top innovations you can expect to creep into the mainstream in 2019.
Improving health and wellbeing with wearable tech
It may come as no surprise to hear that wearables were prominent in this year’s instalment of CES, but beyond the latest smartwatches and fitness trackers, the show was filled with devices for every possible use case imaginable. Increasingly, manufacturers are exploring the realm of possibilities that exist when wearable tech is used to monitor and improve health – one prime example being the Withings Move ECG watch. Featured at CES 2019, this hybrid smartwatch doubles up as a blood pressure arm cuff and is capable of taking readings to detect serious heart conditions by measuring blood pressure and ECG.
Meanwhile, the innovative team at Embr used CES to promote their Embr Wave temperature bracelet, a wristband that allows you to adjust your own body heat in a non-invasive way. Depending on the setting you choose, the bracelet generates a small amount of hot or cold waves that can create a temperature change of up to five degrees Fahrenheit. As well as preventing aircon-related arguments in the workplace, this could be revolutionary in protecting the elderly – particularly those who live alone – from overheating in summer or developing hypothermia in winter.
Charging in an always-on society
Washington-based tech firm Ossia has continually pushed the boundaries within the world of wireless charging, bringing to market tech that aims to make cables obsolete. Until now, however, the concept of truly wireless, pad-free charging was somewhat of a pipedream reserved for prototypes. Now, Ossia have joined forces with accessories maker Spigen to deliver a phone case that harnesses their patented RF smart antenna technology.
Known as the Spigen Forever Sleeve, the case allows for over-the-air charging long as a user is standing within 10 to 12 feet of an Ossia wireless power transmitter. While the case and transmitter may not be accessible to the public until 2020, advancements in this technology will undoubtedly improve efficiency for busy professionals by minimising downtime caused by lack of power.
Smart devices getting smarter
Artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data are the forces driving all the biggest innovations at CES 2019. One such development in this arena is the addition of Interpreter Mode to Google Assistant which aims to serve as a go-between for people who don’t speak the same language. It works by simply asking Google to become your interpreter. Upon hearing a beep, you say the sentence you wish to translate and Google Assistant will then recite the sentence in the language you have specified. So far, the futuristic translating tool works in 27 languages, including Spanish, Czech, Hindi and Vietnamese.
From smart lights, security cameras, mattresses, televisions and more, tech industry giants and ambitious start-ups are working to create seamless, personalised experiences that save time and enhance our quality of life. In one of the first keynotes of the show, president and chief technology officer of LG Electronics, I.P. Park, detailed the company’s vision for A.I., which can “solve this problem of using complex systems, so that the devices become smart — and smart devices mean they’ll know exactly what you want.”
Some honorable (but totally pointless) mentions from the CES show floor
For tech firms, CES is a golden opportunity to showcase exciting developments and futuristic solutions they have been working on over the course of the year. With over 4,400 companies exhibiting, however, it’s no surprise to see several somewhat pointless inventions on the show floor. The Foldimate is one of these; a device that looks like an office photocopier but in fact is designed to fold your t-shirts so you don’t have to. Another is the Y-Brush, a device that aims to revolutionise tooth-brushing.
Similarly, while the LG OLED Falls exhibit wowed attendees with it’s 260 LG OLED digital signage screens, in curved and flat configuration, although it’s difficult to imagine anyone but the world’s richest boasting one of these screens in their home. Even in the sphere of robotics, CES was divided in two tiers: innovative machines that are proving revolutionary in improving our lives and seemingly useless robots that don’t bring much to the table (we’re looking at you, Qoobo.)
As the doors of each venue closed and CES came to an end, one thing was for sure: most of what happened in Vegas will not be staying in Vegas, though we hope some of it does.