The rain has finally stopped in Las Vegas, so we’re back out here for another day of gadgets, tech, smartphones, robots, and best of all, cars. Our reporters are meeting up with a ton of car companies for their rides of the year, so stick around for a first look at the future of transportation here at CES 2018.
Jan 16, 2018
The prevailing design trend with smart speakers like the Amazon Echo has been to make them look as minimalist and unassuming as possible, presumably so they can be placed anywhere around the house. The Raven H, however, looks like it spilled out of a kid’s toy closet. I love it.Read Article >
It’s the result of a collaboration by Chinese internet giant Baidu and Swedish tech design house Teenage Engineering. The Raven H has a colorful stacked design that culminates in a posable, detachable, touch-sensitive top panel that displays simple status information through a cute LED array.
Wireless charging is not particularly new technology, but this year at CES 2018, we’re seeing it show up in a big way. Tons of companies are releasing new products in a wide variety of form factors and styles.Read Article >
Specifically, we’re seeing a huge wave of Qi wireless chargers, the popular industry standard that’s used by major smartphone companies like Samsung, LG, and many others. The standard has actually been around for years, but last fall, Apple introduced Qi charging to its new iPhone 8 and iPhone X models which brought an influx of new users. So now, accessories companies are cashing in.
Jan 11, 2018
Self-driving cars are a long way from the hands of customers, but the race to get there is fierce, and no company wants to look like it’s been left behind. The biggest automakers seem especially eager to remind us constantly that they’re just as focused on the future as Silicon Valley. That’s why Mercedes-Benz shut down part of the Las Vegas Strip last night and let me take a ride in the Smart Vision EQ Concept.Read Article >
The Smart Vision EQ was unveiled last fall at the Frankfurt Motor Show. After a stop in Tokyo, the Vision EQ made its US debut in Las Vegas this week. (There’s only one prototype at the moment, a Mercedes-Benz publicist told me.) The car is supposed to capture Mercedes’ — and parent company Daimler’s — take on what a fully autonomous car will look like in 2030, which explains the lack of steering wheel or pedals.
Jan 11, 2018
Between the flooded booths and convention center blackouts, CES 2018 has been kind of a disaster. But for me, at least, one little gadget saved the whole thing by reminding me why the show exists in the first place. Sony is rolling back the years with Aibo, the resurrection of the robot dog line that was one of its most iconic brands during its ‘90s and 2000s heyday.Read Article >
The new Aibo is quite simply adorable. It has touch sensors on its head, chin, and back so you can pet it. It responds to touch and voice, and 22 actuators enable more realistic movement than previous models. Its eyes are OLED panels. It has a camera on its nose to help it recognize family members and search for its bone — which is called Aibone — while a camera on its back helps it navigate to its charging station like a Roomba. (Aibo gets two hours of playtime and takes three hours to charge.)
Jan 11, 2018
It’s easy to feel jaded at an event like CES where there are countless of tech companies claiming to have the smartest and most innovative products that are, in reality, just expensive and useless eye candy. So it was heartwarming when we came across a robotic toy duck designed to help children diagnosed with cancer cope through their treatments.Read Article >
The toy is a partnership between Aflac and robotics toy company Sproutel. It’s called My Special Aflac Duck, and it has five touch sensors along its cheeks, under the wings, and back. Kids can pet and snuggle with it, and the duck will cuddle back or cheerfully quack in response. It also comes with an accessory bag full of RFID tags. Kids can tap any one of the emoji discs to the duck’s chest to express how they’re feeling that day, and the duck will emulate it with a happy chirp or painful groan. Sproutel CEO Aaron Horowitz tells me the goal is to help children feel like they’re not alone in the process, with the duck mirroring their own emotions.
Jan 11, 2018
My favorite robot at CES this year has legs, but my second favorite robot is designed to minimize my own leg usage. Segway’s Loomo bot has a straightforward value proposition: you ride it like a hoverboard to the store, and then you hop off, load it up with cargo, and have it follow you home.Read Article >
After watching 90Fun’s new Segway-inspired robotic suitcase fall repeatedly, I was a little worried about stepping onto Loomo, but I shouldn’t have been. Rideables are Segway’s bread and butter, and while I’ve never actually been on a mall cop-style Segway, I found Loomo vastly easier than any hoverboard I’ve attempted. Like a hoverboard, you lean forward to go fast, lean back to slow down, but unlike a hoverboard, you turn with your knees instead of elaborate foot work. I was comfortable within a couple minutes of riding it, and after that it was almost second nature.
Split-flap mechanical signs are sadly a relic of a bygone era. The famous, clacking boards were once used in train stations all over the world, but advances in technology have retired most of them in favor of boring digital displays.Read Article >
At CES 2018, split-flap displays are getting a second life with the Vestaboard, an internet-connected mechanical display that merges the classic clattering flaps of a retro train board with modern internet technology.
- Read Article >
The automaker said Wednesday that the traffic app will work with 2018 Ford and Lincoln models equipped with the SYNC 3 infotainment system and a smartphone. Crucially for most Waze users, Ford’s system retains the app’s key features such as navigation, traffic updates and warnings, HOV lane support, and the new Talk to Waze feature.
Pimax, a Chinese startup developing an 8K virtual reality headset, came to CES this year to show off its latest prototype, the fifth in just a year since the first version was unveiled at last year’s show. After a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, one in which Pimax raised more than $4.2 million and beat out even Oculus VR’s initial crowdfunding campaign, it’s working toward mass production of the consumer version that is slated to come out later this year after an initial shipment to backers.Read Article >
In my very brief time with the device, I can say that it is does achieve stunning high-resolution visuals, 3840 x 2160 dual displays to be exact, and a rather remarkable 200-degree field of view. Pimax’s unit is without a doubt what the bleeding edge of VR hardware technology looks like. But that also means it exists as a testament for all the hurdles consumer VR needs to clear to be adopted by mainstream consumers.
Jan 10, 2018
Dish announced today that it has been working on integrating Google Home and Google Assistant into its TV service, fleshing out the options for controlling a TV with your voice.Read Article >
A press release says the integration will work in “multiple languages, including English and Spanish,” and that Dish customers can expect it to be available “starting in the first half of this year.” It will work with all generations of Dish’s Hopper DVR, all models of its Joey client, and its Wally single-tuner HD receiver. Eventually!
I find it hard to get on board with the idea of filling my home with smart security cameras for a number of reasons, not the least of which is privacy. But there’s one smart camera at CES this year that has a clever solution to the whole spying-on-you problem: just have the camera look away.Read Article >
The smart camera Angee — which was crowdfunded in 2015 and is now shipping to backers — is able to rotate a full 360-degrees. That allows the camera to spin around to face a wall when it realizes that you’re home, which is a smart solution to the uncomfortable feeling of always having a camera pointed in your direction.
Mercedes-Benz may have been one of the numerous automakers that showed up to CES to talk about voice assistants. A swath of companies came to say they’ve partnered with Amazon Alexa or added Google Assistant to their infotainment systems. But the German automaker came to Las Vegas this year to say it built its own voice assistant, along with a new user experience for drivers.Read Article >
Overdoing it? Probably. But the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX, which is less of a mouthful) is a significant leap forward for the company’s interiors and a glimpse into the very near future for what drivers will interact with when they want to adjust the air conditioning or send text messages or find the quickest way to get out of Nevada.
Jan 10, 2018
Among the deluge of CES news releases this week, one stood out to me because it made little sense: Netflix was bringing its upcoming Altered Carbon series to the big Las Vegas exhibition. How do you bring a drama series to a hardware show?Read Article >
It turns out, Netflix’s idea was to construct an elaborate faux-serious campaign, including a partnership with the drama’s fictional company Psychasec, and the collaborative booth they’re presenting at CES is a pretend exhibition area for Psychasec’s “sleeve” products. A sleeve, in the Altered Carbon universe, is a spare body you can transfer your consciousness into — because, as the tagline smugly proclaims, “no body lives forever.”
Power in the North and Central halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which hosts CES annually, was out for nearly two hours on Wednesday. First reports of the power outage began hitting Twitter from convention goers starting around 11:14AM PT, and was slowly restored shortly after 1:00PM PT. Security evacuated most visitors from the affected halls during that time.Read Article >
“A preliminary assessment indicates that condensation from heavy rainfall caused a flashover on one of the facility’s transformers,” reads a statement from the CTA, the organization that puts on CES. “We are grateful to NV Energy for their swift assistance, to our customers and their clients for their patience and to the staff for ensuring the safety and security of all attendees and exhibitors.”
With all the recent talk of AI posing existential risks to humanity and our privacy, global tech company Omron is taking a softer, more innocuous approach. Specifically, with its table tennis robot Forpheus, which strives to pursue “harmony of humans and machines” by patiently teaching us how to play ping-pong.Read Article >
Although ping-pong ball-pitching machines like TrainerBot exist, Forpheus can actually live up to the feeling of playing against a real opponent. First introduced in 2014, the fourth generation of Forpheus (easier to remember than “Future Omron Robotics technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonized aUtomation with Sinic theoretics” as stated on its website, but spells out FOREPHUS) was displayed at the CEATEC trade show last October. The updated machine adds a companion arm that can serve up balls in the air, and better predict smashes through improved AI.
Jan 10, 2018
CES is still happening, and we're still doing Circuit Breaker Live on Twitter. Yesterday's episode was truly a gadget bonanza with talking robots, smart displays, and drum pads. You can watch the full episode above. But if you want to catch us live on Twitter, you still can! We'll be airing again today at 5PM ET / 2PM PT.Read Article >
Today we'll have a second round of pod gadgets, an AR video game demo, and a coding robot for kids. I'm not going to promise a bonanza, but it'll probably be something like a bonanza.
HTC planted its flag in the premium virtual reality market this week at CES with its announcement of the Vive Pro, a higher-resolution version of the original Vive headset with built-in headphones and a wireless adapter for cordless play. The Vive Pro is a natural next step for HTC and its partner Valve, and the new features make perfect sense this many years into the product’s lifespan.Read Article >
None of those individual features will revolutionize the VR market. But together, they could notably impact HTC’s primary competitor, the Facebook-owned Oculus.
Jan 10, 2018
Lyft isn’t just a ride-hail company nipping at the heels of its rival Uber. It also fancies itself a think tank with big ideas about the future of transportation. The company’s co-founders, John Zimmer and Logan Green, have released policy papers predicting the end of personal car ownership in major cities by 2025, and calling for more people to carpool by charging a fee to those who don’t.Read Article >
This evening, Zimmer is holding a “fireside chat” at CES where he plans to stake out his next big position: households in the US should sell their second cars. The idea of “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” has been synonymous with American prosperity since Herbert Hoover used it as a campaign slogan in 1928. Since then, it’s an idea that’s been modified to include a few additional cars, especially with the birth of the US highway system and advent of the suburbs in the 1950s. The number of households with two or more cars increased substantially during the latter part of the century, from 31 percent in 1969 to 59 percent in 2009, according to US Census Bureau.
Jan 10, 2018
Soul Electronics has debuted two new in-ear headphones at CES with gait analysis that are built specifically for runners. The Run Free Pro Bio and Blade both come with built-in sensors and an accompanying app that will tell you on the fly if your running form is off and how to correct it, says the company.Read Article >
While you are running, the headphones’ sensors track a host of different parameters integral to good form and preventing injury: cadence (steps per minute), step length, step width, vertical oscillation (the up and down bounce of your body), head tilt angle, stance / flight time, shock, maximum leg force, balance, and consistency. If any of these fall outside an optimal range, the app’s digital trainer will tell you in the headphones what to adjust in order to correct your form. Ideally, this should help people who have to be mindful of existing injuries and really, prevent injuries from happening to begin with.
Jan 10, 2018Read Article >
Like other mesh Wi-Fi systems, Huawei’s Wi-Fi Q2 system aims to send a stable signal through a large home or an estate. There are two options: a base and two satellites, which would rely on G.hn PLC technology to deliver gigabit data over electrical, telephone, and coaxial wiring, or a hybrid three-pack, which relies on both wired and wireless connections.
Jan 10, 2018
A year ago in Las Vegas, Amazon and some budget TV manufacturing partners announced the first-ever “Fire TV Edition” televisions. They were designed to compete with the fast-growing number of TVs that come with Roku’s software as the built-in operating system. Roku TVs are everywhere, and the momentum of companies that make them — such as TCL and Hisense — is only growing.Read Article >
The Element/Westinghouse-branded Fire TV Edition televisions were an attempt to slow Roku’s living room charge and expand Amazon’s stake beyond streaming devices like the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. There’s no faster way of getting consumers to Prime Video than serving as the central software on their TV. Amazon can do no better than when consumers see a row of originals like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel the minute they power on their TV. The Fire TV Edition was priced aggressively and heavily promoted on Amazon’s homepage.
I was standing off to the side of the showroom at CES while engineers worked in hushed voices, fussing over a $16,000 artificial intelligence-powered laundry-folding machine. The machine wasn’t giving back the T-shirt I put in, and for one brief, terrifying second, I really thought I broke it.Read Article >
I had brought my own Verge T-shirt to try out a prototype of Laundroid, and I had to coax Seven Dreamers CEO Shin Sakane into letting me drop my shirt in, instead of the demo shirts they had prepared. As he expected, it didn’t work. After about 15 minutes, the Laundroid opened up to reveal nothing but an empty drawer. An engineer had to reach into the machine to pull out the shirt.
Jan 10, 2018
SteelSeries’ new mouse, the Rival 600, is designed to eliminate an obvious problem for gamers: keeping track of the cursor in mid-air. Sometimes, when a player lifts their mouse off the mat and places it back down, the cursor can jump and skitter across the screen. The Rival 600 compensates for this with a dual-sensor system and 1-to-1 tracking that keeps tabs on how high the mouse is lifted, making sure the cursor stays in the same place when it’s put back down.Read Article >
This isn’t a new feature for gaming mice, but it is a nice addition for the Rival range. As well as this tracking system (which SteelSeries has branded “TrueMove 3+”), the Rival 600 also has customizable interior weights, which users can add or remove to get the desired heaviness they’re most comfortable with. There are eight 4g weights inside, so the mouse can be changed to weigh between 96 grams and 128 grams.
Hot on the heels of its integration with Razer’s Chroma lighting system, Philips has announced a way to sync its smart lights with not just games, but anything and everything that shows up on your computer.Read Article >
It’ll all work through an upcoming app, called Hue Sync, which will be released for Windows 10 and macOS High Sierra. Hue Sync watches what’s on your screen and automatically changes your lights to match. This is mostly meant for when you’re watching a movie or gaming, but you could even just be browsing a webpage and have the lights change as you scroll. It can also sync up with playing music, and you have the option to dial in exactly how intense all these effects are.