Trippy Tech

You might notice an uptick in news about “future tech” crossing your radar over the next week or so. That’s because the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is going on in Las Vegas this week, and pretty much every news outlet sends someone to cover it. That’s partly because they need something fun to talk about between the holidays and the Super Bowl/Oscars.

In case you’re not familiar with CES, it’s a mega-event sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) that takes over Las Vegas the first weeks of January each year. Here’s CTA’s own description of it.

CES showcases more than 4,500 exhibiting companies, including manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems and more; a conference program with more than 250 conference sessions and more than 180K attendees from 150 countries.

Here’s a one minute video that CTA released right before the show that features the breathless, frenzied technophile tone that’s associated with CES.

There’s plenty more where that came from on the CES YouTube Channel.

Since the show’s so huge, every reporter that’s sent to cover it comes away with a different take on the experience. Here’s an example from Euronews that sticks to a “Screen is King” view of the show emphasizing things like “foldable” mobile devices and “rollable” televisions.

While the latest and greatest “screens” have always been a major feature of CES, developments in transportation are an increasingly big part of the show. Here’s a clip that includes a flying taxi and an autonomous bus right out of the Jetsons in amongst some other odd products.

As for the VR Roller Coaster, take my advice — just say NO!

Other news outlets take a different tack. Here’s a clip from CBS This Morning’s Gadgets and Gizmos segment that emphasizes “lifestyle products” such as a $1000 laundry robot, a $3000 huggable robot and a sonic tooth brush.

Yeah, sure.

In truth, my own view of CES tilts towards the cynical. Maybe I’ve just been exposed to way more than my share of buzzwords and bandwagons, but I tend to gravitate towards the more down-to-earth coverage of CES that is available to those who take the time to sift through coverage or know where to look.

Here’s a fun piece from Geoffrey A. Fowler of the Washington Post that takes an “everyman” approach to covering weird things like a fully automated dog litter box as well as that huggable robot from the earlier segment.

Personally, I find that “huggable bot” called the Lovot down right creepy. But, then again, I tend to appreciate articles like this piece from the Associated Press.
Home items are getting smarter and creepier, like it or not (Anick jesdanun, Associated Press)

The segment also covered the “adaptive digiceutical” dedicated VR headset Tripp.

Things that make me go, humm…

Now there’s a product that probably won’t be wildly successful.

My work, including this site, tends to be bullish on “3D” media. However, there’s a reason that I focus on 360° video that can be seen with just a standard phone or computer rather than on VR hardware that can show the same media with higher fidelity. It’s because I am realistic enough to recognize that VR hardware isn’t mainstream now, and it won’t be anytime soon. Here’s an article from the Associated Press that covers the “situation” nicely.
Remember virtual reality? Its buzz has faded at CES 2019 (Mae Anderson, Associated Press)

Finally, here’s the only 360° video related to this year’s CES that I could find. It’s a tour of the “Disneyesque” ride that Google sponsored to showcase Google Assistant.

There are mixed reviews of the experience online, but here’s my favorite.
Inside Google’s very strange amusement park ride at CES 2019 (Karissa Bell, Mashable)

One final point. It’s well documented that the majority of the stuff that shows up at CES in Vegas tends to stay there and never sees the light of consumer’s eyes.
The CES secret few talk about: Past hits fizzle with consumers (Jefferson Graham, USA Today)

If you want to see more of this year’s tech at CES, there’s a gallery of it on Wired.
All of the Coolest Stuff We’ve Seen at CES (Wired)

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