A year after going digital, CES has returned to Las Vegas, armed with even better and smarter tech. A hotbed of the most innovative and practical tech, including some that has become mainstream, and others that remain as concepts, this year CES 2022 will be closing a day early, as an additional safety measure to the current health protocols that were put in place for the event.
Though several companies backed out of in-person events at the last minute, most will run streaming press conferences and host digital events. Like always, the show must go on. “As the world’s most influential technology event, CES is steadfast in its pledge to be the gathering place to showcase products and discuss ideas that will ultimately make our lives better,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA has said.
CES 2022: AI and the metaverse pave way for the future
While last year saw autonomous vehicles, robotic assistants, and foldable phones, the post-Covid economy has played a big role in this year's innovations. A tight labor market has led to the growth of AI-powered solutions, and an emerging metaverse, where the grass is much greener, has triggered new products and services that let individuals and businesses build virtual worlds. Meanwhile, autonomous vehicle (AV) technology continues to advance.
The exhibited solutions are evidence enough that we are living the future.
Here are some of the most futuristic technologies from CES 2021, in no particular order.
1. Body and soul in the virtual universe
Shiftall has unveiled its new products designed to be used for exploring the metaverse. Shiftall's MegeneX, an ultra-lightweight and ultra-high-resolution VR headset compatible with SteamVR and intended to help prevent headset fatigue, a common issue faced by VR users after extended periods wearing their headsets. The head-mounted display also features a foldable frame and built-in speakers. According to Shiftall, the headset's 1.3-inch OLED microdisplay features a total resolution of 5.2K and a 120Hz refresh rate.
The second device, PebbleFeel, is designed to be strapped to the back of the user’s body, allowing them to feel the temperature of the VR environments that they’re exploring. Shiftall calls it a “personal air conditioner” and says that it can heat up and cool down the human body using a Peltier element small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
The third product, the mutalk, is a specially built Bluetooth microphone built specifically to suppress “leaked sound”. According to Shiftall, it should help suppress any ambient noises from your home, which means a more immersive environment for everyone you talk to in VR. It also prevents the users' voices from intruding on the quiet time of anyone else nearby.
Shiftall has also revealed that its HaritoraX full-body motion-tracking system is coming to the United States. The device will allow users to take complete control of their avatar’s body in VR experiences.
2. The flying car that was promised
French company Maca has developed the S11, a flying race car powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Maca had unveiled an earlier model at CES 2021 but has updated the machine with a new design. This CES, it’s showing off a small-scale model of the S11 but plans to test a full-size, 23-foot version later this year. Initially, the S11 - which is designed to fly as fast as 155 miles an hour (250 kph) - will race on a closed course, making it easier for the company to pass regulatory hurdles.
Advanced features of the flying beast include next-gen materials and a semi-automatic pilot. In the future, Maca hopes to become involved in the air-taxi business.
3. A gamechanger for the audio market
Harry Potter's invisible cloak may only exist in fiction, but invisible headphones exist in real life. Noveto N1 is a smart speaker that uses beamforming technology to create a binaural audio experience without the need for a pair of headphones but unlike other devices, it can only be heard by the user.
It works by transmitting ultrasound silently through the air, which converges into audible pockets just outside of your ears - creating an experience similar to wearing a pair of headphones.
According to Noveto, anyone else in the room will only be able to hear only, "a sound of whisper", while the user is immersed in three-dimensional audio. Motion sensors allow for facial recognition, helping the N1 to track your ears and ensure the sound hits the right place.
4. Is this the future of sleep?
Sleep Number, a leader in sleep health, innovation, science, and research, has introduced their NEW 360® smart bed featuring highly accurate advanced monitoring, personalized insights, health risk evaluations, and monitoring - all from the comfort of your bed. The bed adapts to sleepers’ needs over time, and the company claims that it will provide exceptional sleep, along with assessment tools that proactively care for sleepers in a real-world setting, monitoring their general wellness, health behaviors, and chronic sleep barriers. For example, the bed can sense snoring, and will gently adjust şts position to open the sleepers' airway for easier breathing. The entire bed can also be lowered or raised, for example, to help pregnant women get out of bed more easily.
The smart bed can also tilt to a gentle slope position while maintaining proper spinal alignment. The company claims it is an effortless, individualized, multi-sensor sleep ecosystem that provides an adjustable, responsive, and holistic microclimate. The result provides a comprehensive and accurate picture of how sleep affects health.
5. You may not want to leave this gaming seat
The Razer Enki Pro HyperSense, an advanced gaming chair armed with a powerful haptic engine, promises an immersion experience like no other. Designed to generate arcade-style tactile sensations, intense gaming realism is combined with all-day comfort to create this seat of the future.
The advanced haptic engine has been developed to simulate a range of vibrations, textures, and motions. Being a Razer product, it also has a customizable RGB headrest to match the rest of your setup.
“With the Enki Pro HyperSense, Razer and D-BOX have built the most advanced gaming chair to date,” Sébastien Mailhot, President, and CEO of D-BOX, told Techradar. “Our combined efforts have resulted in a product that physically transforms the experience of games, movies and music through the use of cutting-edge high-fidelity haptic feedback," he said.
6. Change the color of your car, with the touch of a button
German car-maker BMW has unveiled a technology that changes the color of a car with the touch of a button. The company said it was, “bringing the car body to life” with its specially-developed body wrap for its all-electric iX SUV concept car, which uses the same technology as Amazon’s Kindle e-reader. The automaker described the exterior as an "advanced research and design project.”
The color palette is fairly limited, changing between black and white, and a few shades of grey, or light and dark stripes.
According to BMW, the effect is created by applying an electrical charge to millions of microcapsules with a diameter the thickness of human hair. The microcapsules contain white and black pigments suspended in a liquid encased in the wrap.
White pigments within these microcapsules are negatively charged, and black pigments carry a positive charge. Input from the user shifts the electric field around the capsules, nudging some of the pigments to the surface where they change the color of the paint. “This [technology] gives the driver the freedom to express different facets of their personality or even their enjoyment of change outwardly and to redefine this each time they get into their car,” according to Stella Clarke, who led the project within the company.
However, the color-changing technology is intended as more than just a gimmick. According to the company, the different shades could help the car remain relatively cooler under direct sun.
7. Enjoy a private cinema lounge, in the privacy of your car
In addition to color-changing tech, BMW has also revealed a new in-car technology called the "Theatre Screen". According to the automaker, the gigantic 31-inch 32:9 panorama display can be fitted into the interior of the car's roof, transforming the back seats into a "private cinema lounge".
The screen will be running Amazon's Fire OS operating system, and will have access to most modern video streaming services and other Fire TV apps. The touchscreen display will have small touchpad controls built into the rear doors of the car.
The audio is 4D, enhancing the experience, and when the screen descends from the ceiling, "the roller sunblinds for the side windows and the rear window are closed and the ambient lighting in the rear of the vehicle is dimmed", according to The Verge. While it is unclear when the feature would be available to consumers, it sounds like a magnificent way to watch a film.
8. A tablet, big-screen laptop or a mini screen, all rolled into one
The ZenBook 17 Fold OLED, which sports a foldable OLED display, can be carried around anywhere with the flexibility to use it in the mode you want. You could even get a 12.3-inch display, which is enough to get work done on the go.
The Zenbook comes with 12th Gen Intel Core i7 U-Series processors and up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. It includes Asus’ “ScreenXpert 2” software (also on its recent dual-screen devices) to help you more split the screen and arrange its contents.
Though Asus hasn’t provided a battery life estimate yet,the Zenbook 17 claims to have a 75W battery inside. The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED will be available in Q2 of 2022 with pricing to be announced.
9. Read, write, work, socialise. All while driving
Volvo cars has revealed that it is working with LiDAR company Luminar and autonomous developer Zenseact to introduce "Ride Pilot", a true "hands-off, eyes-off autonomous driving system" that will give passengers plenty of time to enjoy "secondary activities like reading, writing, working or socializing," according to Volvo.
The system will be available on a subscription basis in its upcoming EVs. It is designed to function on highways and will allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road, making it an SAE Level 3 system.
Volvo and Luminar have also unveiled a new Volvo Concept Recharge, which uses a LiDAR sensor mounted onto the roof to provide data about objects in the car's path and inform the Ride Pilot system.
Volvo says that the system will only be available in California at first, and will still be subject to regulatory approval.
10. Entertainment on the go
Samsung Electronics Co.'s latest Freestyle portable screen and entertainment device is the one gadget you never knew you would need. The Freestyle projector, which can rotate 180 degrees to turn anything into a display, including the floor, walls, and ceiling - no screen required. It gives you the flexibility to point, play and enjoy a big-screen experience. With its round, compact shape, and light weight, you can easily slip it into a backpack.
The Freestyle’s 5-watt woofer sends sound waves in every direction for a deeply immersive and cinematic audio experience. The Freestyle’s picture is brilliant in full 1080p HD. Whether you’re camping under the stars or studying at the kitchen table, this projector’s gorgeous, high-contrast visuals makes for a delightful experience.
11. Move over traditional hair dyes, these cartridges will color your hair
The closure of salons during the lockdown led to more consumers turnign to at-home color kits, which, let's admit, can create a messy situation. Developed in response to consumer needs, the L’Oréal Group unveiled its latest beauty tech innovation. With the Colorsonic, L'Oreal hopes to reinvent the home hair color industry, making it less messy and provide a more consistent color.
The Colorsonic is a lightweight, handheld device that uses an innovative, mess-free process to mix haircolor and apply it evenly. The wand-like device uses recyclable cartridges of dye and developer to provide a custom mix. This is then distributed using the oscillating nozzle, according to a press release. Users brush the device over their hair and the Colorsonic dispenses the right dose of haircolor.
“Our century-long, deep experience and leadership in haircoloration has allowed our researchers, data scientists and Tech engineers to completely revisit and reinvent the haircoloring experience for both: at home with Colorsonic, a unique user-designed re-usable device allowing a precise vibrant result of haircoloration, and for hair stylists with Coloright, the most personalized and advanced experience in hair salons to achieve desired haircolor results anywhere in the world," said Barbara Lavernos, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, in Charge of Research, Innovation and Technology.
12. An immersive and safe biking experience
LG has gone a step ahead from the stationary bike with its new "Virtual Ride" and "Media Chair." The innovations, showcased at CES 2022, let users ride a stationary bike while immersed in the images and sounds of a forest or a street.
The Virtual Ride is a futuristic indoor stationary bicycle with three vertical 55-inch OLED displays located in front and above the seat. The advanced displays come together to form one large, curved, r-shaped display that gives users an immersive view both forward and above. The display that bends to create the ceiling above the rider has a curvature radius that reaches 500R, or a radius of 500mm, the most among existing large displays, which illustrates its superior flexibility. In addition, its futuristic, sleek design takes home exercise to a whole new level of immersion, greatly improving the mood and ambiance in whatever room of your home you put it in.
Meanwhile, the Media Chair is a modern relaxation device that brings together a 55-inch OLED TV display with an extremely comfortable recliner. The chair uses the company's built-in sound technology Cinematic Sound OLED (CSO), which allows the display to vibrate without the use of external speakers, creating a vibrant sense of reality.