A quick look at CES 2018

Let the tech wars begin!

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Flock made a splash at CES 2017, and we met so many amazing people there (and saw some incredible tech!) that we decided to keep an eye on what’s happening at this year’s CES, even if we couldn’t be present at the show.

CES 2018 is the year’s first and best showcase for tech innovation, and there’s some cool and some crazy stuff unveiled at CES every year that, more often than not, sets the tone for the rest of the year.

Crazy thin TVs, table-like projectors, no-wires head-mounted devices (HMDs), designer on-the-wall speakers, see-through thermostats with voice-controls, no-camera home security solutions, and an AI-based clothes folder — there’s great stuff and then some quirky stuff on display at CES this year.

Here’s a quick roundup of the best, and the quirkiest tech from Las Vegas…

Crazy thin TVs from Samsung and LG

CES has always been the best showcase for super expensive TVs that will never show up in our homes.

This year, Samsung introduced “The Wall”, a modular TV system that uses multiple borderless MicroLED TVs merged to create a giant screen. Not to be outdone, LG showed off its Signature OLED TV W8, a 77-inch screen that is less than 3mm thick and hangs flush on any wall. The W8 TV is so thin that all its non-OLED components are housed in the sound bar!

The game-changer here is LG’s ThinQ AI (see the video above), an intelligent voice control hub that comes with built-in Google Assistant controls and is compatible with Amazon Echo. Honestly, these are some unreal TVs with unreal pricing that you’d have to rob a bank to own even one of them.

Sony’s LSPX-A1 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector

When you hear of a projector with a $30,000 price tag, you know it has to be special. Sony’s LSPX-A1 projector is shaped like designer furniture that sits right next to (9.6 inches away from) the wall it projects on. This table houses a 2,500-lumen laser projector that can beam a 120-inch screen and a glass-based sound speaker with 360° sound capability.

In essence, you are buying a home theater system in a table. Talk about less being more!

Bang & Olufsen’s BeoSound Shape

Seriously, a speaker has never looked so good! Bang & Olufsen introduced a new wireless speaker system that looks like a work of art.

The BeoSound Shape is hexagon-shaped two-tone tile-style speaker that can be mistaken for an art installation, well, until it starts blaring out music from your collection. The speakers support AirPlay, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth 4.1, and wired audio inputs, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility.

My tip: If you can afford the BeoSound Shape, get a few of these speakers and create a custom hexagon-ish speaker installation in your living room!

Aura’s no-camera home security solution

When we think home security, we think of cameras and alarms. Aura changes it all by using the invisible Wi-Fi radio waves in our homes to detect motion. A tiny gadget that can be plugged into a wall outlet, Aura says its “Beacons” can use mesh networking to cover larger areas, and you can monitor everything from your smartphone.

Never mind the security angle, this is some seriously cool tech that can be used to switch on lights as soon as you step into a room! Yay!

HTC’s no-wires Vive Pro HMD for VR

Two years after it created waves with its first virtual reality headset, HTC has come up with a successor to the well-reviewed Vive. It’s, very creatively, called the Vive Pro. Coupled with the Vive wireless adapter, the Vive Pro offers a wireless VR experience that can turn VR naysayers into believers. I love playing in virtual reality as much as any nerd but I feel the Vive Pro takes it a little too far. It can make a nerd look at you and think, “What a nerd!”. So I hope the design gets better and more compact in the future.

GLAS, a Cortana-powered thermostat

More than a century after it was first invented, the thermostat is being re-invented by Johnson Controls. The GLAS thermostat runs on a Windows 10 IoT core and supports Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant. With an unconventional design that uses a translucent OLED display supplied by Samsung, the GLAS supports temperature controls, weather forecasts, and monitors air quality, in addition to tasks accomplished through Cortana.

GLAS is stepping into the realm of well-designed home gadgets that the Nest thermostat pioneered. Considering its high asking price (>$300), it remains to be seen how many units of the GLAS Johnson Controls will sell.

Laundroid, the laundry folding robot

For lazy folks like me that don’t like folding clothes, Seven Dreamers’ Laundroid is a robot that folds clothes using artificial intelligence. First seen at last year’s CES, the new model showcased this year has a refreshed design and a few tech upgrades. It uses a neural network of over 250,000 images of clothing items to recognize clothes, find out the best way of folding them and, well, do its thing.

While using robotics and AI to solve such a trivial problem might seem funny to most people, it’s an interesting if not quirky application of technology. It looks the part too! But at $16,000 a unit, it better fold all my clothes perfectly.

So, here we are, almost through CES 2018. We’ve seen some great, and some quirky tech on display. What’s next? I don’t know the exact details, but I’m sure there’s more interesting tech on its way to make us drool and crave even more.

Stay tuned for news on what’s happening in the realm of technology this year. Cheers!

Authored by Kesava Mandiga, who is, sometimes, overwhelmed by how fast technology is changing the world around him. Also, a content marketer at Flock.