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CES 2018 Day 4: a glimpse of 2030

After several packed days at CES, it’s time for the crew here in Las Vegas to start packing up and heading home. But not before we talk about our experiences with gadgets, robots, toys, and rides that happened here in Sin City. Here are all the things we loved (and didn’t like so much) from CES 2018.

  • Sam Byford

    Jan 19, 2018

    Sam Byford

    The line between TVs and monitors is blurring

    While tectonic shifts in the tech industry have seen CES and its ilk decrease in relevance over the past decade, some product categories have been less affected by the rise of all-encompassing platforms pushed by software titans. For these forms of consumer electronics, it remains entirely appropriate to be trotted out on a Las Vegas stage with incremental updates every year.

    To put it another way, it’s never not going to be fun to go to CES and look at a bunch of awesome screens. 

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  • Lauren Goode

    Jan 12, 2018

    Lauren Goode

    Peloton Tread is the treadmill I want but can’t afford

    It didn’t take long for me to understand the draw of Peloton’s indoor cycling bike when I gave it a two-month try last winter. Its allure was less about convenience — any exercise equipment at home is, for most people, more convenient than going to the gym — and more about its magic sauce: live-streamed classes, led by exuberant fitness pros who somehow manage to chatter constantly throughout class.

    The Peloton Tread, the $4,000 treadmill unveiled Tuesday, holds the same promise. Running and cross-training classes will stream live from the treadmill’s HD touchscreen; more than 7,000 classes will be available on demand. The question is whether that alone is worth the price.

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  • Dami Lee

    Jan 12, 2018

    Dami Lee

    Watch Circuit Breaker Live from CES Day 4: The Verge Awards

    Another CES has come and gone, we finally made it everyone. We had a blast scouring for all the crazy gadgets from the show floor, and showing the best of what we found on Circuit Breaker Live. For our last episode, we gave out The Verge Awards for categories like “Best Robot” and “Most CES”, which you can see for yourself! This is our last episode for a while, but we can’t wait to do it again.

    If you want to relive the good times, watch the full episode above, and check out our Storystream below for all the other episodes!

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  • Sean O'Kane

    Jan 12, 2018

    Sean O'Kane

    These concepts are the most exciting cameras Canon’s brought to CES in years

    Tucked in a corner on a shelf at Canon’s booth are the two most exciting cameras the company has brought to CES in years. They’re not wholly unique ideas (and one of them doesn’t even work yet), but compared to the iterative releases and myriad of camcorders that usually make up Canon’s announcements for this particular show, they’re a welcome breath of fresh air.

    The concept camera that does work is shaped a bit like the Samsung Gear 360, though it only has one lens. That lens and the sensor architecture sit on a movable platform inside the camera’s dome, which itself can quickly swivel a full 360 degrees.

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  • Thuy Ong

    Jan 12, 2018

    Thuy Ong

    This smart dishwasher can wash your dishes and cook seafood

    Photo: Heatworks

    This dishwasher called Tetra from Heatworks and design firm frog is most likely a godsend for those who live in tiny apartments and would love a dishwasher. Tetra is an internet-connected countertop dishwasher (because everything is connected these days) that doesn’t require plumbing to operate — just a standard electrical outlet.

    To use the dishwasher, you load it with water manually so you always know how much you’re using. Though the device is quite compact, it’s still able to fit two full place settings including bowls, cups, and plates, or 10 plates or 12 pint glasses. Heatworks says each load takes about 10 minutes, and there’s an internal detergent reservoir that lasts dozens of cycles.

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  • Dan Seifert

    Jan 11, 2018

    Dan Seifert

    Google’s CES exhibit is meant to indoctrinate you in the ways of the Assistant

    Google does not typically have a public presence at CES. In years past, the company would certainly have staff here, taking meetings, making deals, working with partners, and exploring exhibits, but Google itself lacked a public presence. This year, things are wildly different, as Google has basically taken over the entirety of Las Vegas with ads and billboards highlighting the Google Assistant. It’s basically impossible to go anywhere in the city this week without seeing a giant Google advertisement.

    The centerpiece of all of this effort is a three-story installation in the parking lot in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Instead of building a booth on the show floor inside of the convention center, Google has instead erected a structure the size of a small house, complete with giant screens, multiple levels, and a rooftop coffee bar. There’s even a blue corkscrew slide to get back down to ground level after visiting the top floor. It’s all extremely Google-y.

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  • Sean O'Kane

    Jan 11, 2018

    Sean O'Kane

    The Ford Ojo Electric scooter is a total joy ride

    Electric scooters are basically a dime a dozen these days. But few companies have been able to scoop up all the things that people like about them — solid range, fun to ride, smart features — and put them all together in a well-built package like California company Ojo Electric.

    The Ojo Electric scooter has a bountiful 25 miles of range, which can be doubled with an add-on battery pack. It has a top speed of around 20 miles per hour and is properly quick in the highest performance setting. A suspension system on both wheels and a rigid aluminum unibody structure keeps the ride smooth and stable. I was able to take some pretty sharp corners on it without ever feeling like I was in danger of toppling over.

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  • Jan 11, 2018

    Verge Staff

    The Verge Awards at CES 2018: Hey Google

    The CES crowd seems to be dwindling every year as more tech companies wait until events like Mobile World Congress or their own developer shows to announce new products. But at CES 2018, even though we saw fewer things, they were also more interesting than previous years. We also saw Google, for the first time, make a spectacle out on the convention floors, fighting back against Amazon’s Alexa takeover.

    Cover CES enough times, and you’ll also see trends start and grow from the show floor booths. Fingerprint readers that are directly embedded into touchscreens, for example, might be the new standard — just as the Qi wireless standard became universal this year now that Apple has adopted it on its latest iPhone models.

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  • Dami Lee

    Jan 11, 2018

    Dami Lee

    Watch Circuit Breaker Live from CES Day 3, and tune in to watch the final episode at 5PM ET today

    We’re almost nearing the end of CES, which can’t come soon enough. Just kidding! We love CES, despite the flooding and power outages. We’re in it for the gadgets, baby. Yesterday’s episode of Circuit Breaker Live had a very HighQuality guest, none other than HQ’s Scott Rogowsky! Plus, Ashley brought us more crowdfunded gadgets she found from the show floor, like the Moodo “scent DJ” and the latest craze after raw water, water pods! So hip. Then Lauren came on to show off an extremely dubious sleep mask, and Paul came by to with the Wonder Workshop Cue, a robot with personality.

    Today’s episode is our last from CES, so don’t miss it! You can tune in at live.twitter.com/ces to watch it happen live at 5pm ET and tweet at us using the #CircuitBreakerLive hashtag. And as always, if you can’t watch it live, check back on theverge.com for the full episode tomorrow.

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  • Jacob Kastrenakes

    Jan 11, 2018

    Jacob Kastrenakes

    Kevin is a smart speaker that’s supposed to make it seem like you’re always home

    If you’re worried about leaving your house or apartment unattended for long stretches of time, you might set your lights on a timer or leave your TV on. But now there’s a new smart speaker that wants to do all of that for you — by flashing lights and playing TV sounds and other noises to make it seem like someone’s home.

    The speaker is named Kevin — certainly a nod to Home Alone — and is made by a Swiss company named Mitipi. From the front, it looks just like any other smart speaker, wrapped in fabric, with a flash of brightly colored plastic along the top. The big distinction is on its back, where it’s covered in LEDs pointing in different directions. These allow the device to simulate movement, since it’ll look like there are multiple light sources that someone’s interacting with.

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  • Paul Miller

    Jan 11, 2018

    Paul Miller

    The Relay hotel delivery robot will soon spot Wi-Fi dead zones and mingle with guests

    Directly adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center is a Renaissance hotel with a pair of special staff members: robots. Savioke’s Relay robots have been on the job for three months, helping out the concierge by delivering items to guests during peak hours. The two robots, named “Elvis” and “Priscilla” by the hotel, pick up orders from the front desk, call and ride the elevators without help, and call the guest’s room phone when they’ve arrived. They navigate autonomously, based on a pre-generated map, so there’s no problem if they lose Wi-Fi or LTE signal. I got to watch a delivery in action (to a demo room), and it was a seamless experience.

    After three years of putting robots in hotels, Savioke is well beyond the pilot stage, and ready to expand Relay’s functionality beyond delivery tasks. This year, the robots will gain the ability to patrol a hotel and look for zones with poor Wi-Fi quality and report it directly to IT, which will help with one of the most frequent complaints from guests. Savioke is also working on “tray and debris detection / reporting.” Relay will be able to detect a food tray or trash, and alert staff to where they are — a job usually left to security guards in a typical hotel at night. Finally, Savioke is going to capitalize on Relay’s popularity with guests to add a “mingle” function, where Relay can hang out with guests in the lobby and tell jokes or deliver treats.

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  • Jan 11, 2018

    Angela Chen

    When it comes to sleep gadgets, the ideas are moving faster than the research

    Photo: SleepScore

    This is the second year that CES has had a section dedicated to sleep tech and the gadgets that promise to make everything right with the world if you just get enough sleep. Sleep trackers, “three-in-one” kits, and a variety of headsets all dangle the possibility of better rest. But while the tracking technology might be getting more accurate, most scientists agree that more data is not always better.

    Sleep is important for quality of life, and sleep deprivation is associated with health risks like increased blood pressure and heart disease. Because sleep deprivation leads to inattention, it can also end up being a public health danger if the sleep-deprived are driving or operating other machinery. Though sleep problems are a legitimate concern, sleep has also recently become a trendy pillar of “wellness.” There’s no shortage of books about the need for sleep, and Dr. Oz had a session at CES talking about the “sleep epidemic.” When Dr. Oz starts shilling for something, you know that it’s become mainstream.

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  • Jan 11, 2018

    Vlad Savov

    Let the robots speak to one another

    Amazon Echo next to Simplehuman Sensor Mirror Pro
    Amazon Echo next to Simplehuman Sensor Mirror Pro
    Photo: Simplehuman

    I’ve been coming to CES since before The Verge even existed, and in all that time one problem has vexed consumer electronics companies trying to build the smart home. That problem is interoperability. My smart TV, your smart lightbulbs, Samsung’s smart fridge, August’s smart lock, they all work in slightly different ways, use slightly different software, and don’t have a common language to unite them. And at this particular CES, I’m coming to wonder: why not just use human language? Let the gadgets speak to each other.

    The device that inspired this idea in me is Kohler’s new voice-activated smart mirror, which can do fun stuff like dispensing a precise amount of water from the tap connected to it. The mirror already has Amazon’s Alexa built in and responds to your commands accordingly, but do they have to be your commands? Why can’t it be, for instance, your Google Home Mini conveying your instructions from a more distant place? We call devices like the Google Home and the Amazon Echo smart speakers, but so far we’ve mostly tended to use them as smart microphones.

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  • Dami Lee

    Jan 11, 2018

    Dami Lee

    I faced off against a Scrabble-playing robot and lost miserably

    I thought hanging out with a Scrabble-playing robot would be a nice, chill time. I even imagined they would be useful at nursing homes, as therapy companions to elderly residents. I was extremely wrong.

    Scrabble bot’s official name is actually the Intelligent Vision System for Companion Robots, made by Taiwanese research company ITRI (Industrial Technology Research Institute). It uses a combination of AI, 3D vision, and hand-eye coordination to pour its opponent a cup of coffee, and then mercilessly crush them at Scrabble.

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  • Sean O'Kane

    Jan 11, 2018

    Sean O'Kane

    I rode in the Mercedes concept car that shut down the Las Vegas Strip

    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.

    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.

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  • Sam Byford

    Jan 11, 2018

    Sam Byford

    I played with Sony’s new Aibo robot dog, and I miss it already

    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.

    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.)

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  • Natt Garun

    Jan 11, 2018

    Natt Garun

    Aflac’s toy robot for kids facing cancer is the smartest toy of all

    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.

    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.

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  • Paul Miller

    Jan 11, 2018

    Paul Miller

    Taking a ride on Segway’s Loomo robot

    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.

    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.

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  • Chaim Gartenberg

    Jan 11, 2018

    Chaim Gartenberg

    Vestaboard brings the internet to old-school mechanical split-flap displays

    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.

    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.

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  • Paul Miller

    Jan 11, 2018

    Paul Miller

    Misty I is a robot for developers, not roboticists

    There are approximately one million toy robots on shelves right now that can teach kids to code. But how many let programmers control a “real” robot, without requiring them to become roboticists? Not quite enough, according to Misty Robotics, a spin-off from Sphero, which just announced Misty I Developer Edition. It’s a first stab at an “affordable, easily programmable, advanced personal robot.”

    Misty I will ship next month to select developers for $1499. Misty Robotics plans to follow up with a more polished Misty II later in the year, targeted at a wider audience.

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