True to form, CES 2024 kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center with some major announcements that included getting ChatGPT on a car, a real-time interpreter that could put Google Translate to shame, the entry of AI into gaming, eye-tracking devices on automobiles amongst other cool stuff.
Of course, for Apple fanboys, all roads would lead to Apple Stores on February 2, when the company launches its ultra-expensive Vision Pro device. Costing $3500 in the US, pre bookings for the device starts on January 19 for a device that Tim Cook described rather boastfully as “the most advanced consumer electronics device ever created.”
Though we had come out with our own set of expectations for the event, we thought it fit to delve into the reality and share some of the announcements that caught the headlines and our attention from CES 2024:
Samsung goes big on sustainability
The Korean tech giant took a leaf from Apple’s playbook and doubled down on its commitment to sustainability, expanding its efforts towards resource circularity – starting from designs to product development, usage and eventually recycling. Inhee Chung, the VP of corporate sustainability noted that smartphones, recycled plastic in TVs and recycled aluminum in refrigerators would be the name of the game in future.
From a launch perspective, the company home robot was up for preview. The new improved Ballie (from 2020) comes with a three-hour battery life and sports a spatial lidar sensor that helps it navigate around rooms and obstacles. It has a 1080p projector with two lenses that allows Ballie to project movies, video calls and even act as a second PC monitor.
The company also announced some new generation product plans where devices could fold both inward and outward. They showcased a series of monitor-sized folding and sliding OLED screens with another innovation in the form of a transparent Micro LED that they brought forth for the first time.
But that was not all, the company also showcased initiatives for connected homes where it moved beyond the UI and feature updates to the existing SmartThings platform to showcase a map view that creates an interactive home map with animated avatars of residents and pets.
Sony takes a major step into the future
While its Korean rival was busy showcasing innovations, the Japanese tech giant Sony literally took a step into the future by focusing on content authentication as a means to innovation of the future in the media and entertainment industry. The company announced an in-camera digital signature technology that creates a “birth certificate” of sorts for images captured by an individual as a means to verifying the content.
Aficionados of NFTs were left in awe as many felt that this could just be the technology that could bring content authentication of age. Though not strictly a technology for NFT, it does resemble the core concept of these tokens, seen by many as a means to put more power into the hands of content creators than ever before.
Neal Manowitz, president and COO at Sony Electronics took center stage to announce the effort would help creators navigate opportunities while protecting the authenticity of their work. The company revealed that they collaborated with Associated Press and other bigwigs to create this digital birth certificate for images shot on personal cameras.
The company also revealed a mixed-reality headset aimed at 3D content. The announcement comes in the wake of Apple’s Vision Pro release date with the device, created in collaboration with Siemens, combining an XR head-mounted display with 4K OLED microdisplays. It also supports see-through functionality and comes with a pair of controllers.
Language problem? The X1 Interpreter Hub is here
Going for a global conference and need multi-language simultaneous interpretation? At $699 you could acquire Timkettle’s X1 Interpreter Hub that can handle multiple languages at once. The idea emerged in 2017 and took seven years to fructify into what the company claims to be the world’s first multi-language simultaneous interpretation system.
The X1 Interpreter Hub works out of the box and there’s no need to download a separate app. For one-on-one meetings, all you need to do is touch the devices with that of the other person and just start speaking your language. The handheld device comes with earbuds and each one can listen to what the other says in their own language. As simple as that!
The system can handle 20 persons at this moment and some of these can also be virtual conversations where remote users can dial into a phone number associated with the product to access the translation capabilities. The product has already gone on sale and it may be worth waiting for early reviews to judge how well the machines copes with language diversities.
LG Seeks to change the design language for TVs
Down the ages, the television has been called an idiot box and true to its name, these boxes have far from looked pretty or engaging. Looks like Korean giant LG Electronics wants to change this perception with the launch of what it calls the “world’s first wireless transparent OLED TV” – one you can look through in case the screen is off.
The company says, the OLED T liberates users from the dominant black screen that seldom goes well with the rest of the home decor. The 77-inch screen provides a transparent display that harmonizes with the environment as it becomes practically see-through when turned off. Of course, one may ask what’s really the benefit of such a screen when TV viewing is falling.
The auto revolution gets going too
While there were a few eye-catching revelations in the auto industry, the one that caught our eye related to German automaker Volkswagen adding ChatGPT to all their models equipped with its IDA voice assistant. Now, if you are wondering what an AI-powered chatbot could do within a car, the company has news for you!
It says drivers who want an AI-based chatbot to read out researched content to them could provide an alternative to music and podcasts. The chatbot is based on their Cerence Chat Pro product and a large language model from OpenAI. It will launch in the second quarter from Europe and Volkswagen becomes the second auto giant after Mercedes to include a chatbot.
Meanwhile, Mercedes Benz previewed an AI-powered update of its own via its in-car voice technology – the MBUX voice assistant. The in-car AI runs on proprietary technology and uses generative AI and proactive intelligence, the company said. It is also piloting the ChatGPT based voice assistant.
Another German giant Bosch has shown up with two new technologies in eye-tracking while driving. One of them will check for tired eyes and tell the driver that it’s probably time for a quick coffee break and in case there’s an IoT machine handy at home also give it the specification of the drink you want. The other tech tracks what the driver is looking at while driving.
The eye-tracker that keeps tabs on our eye movements could be used during a drive to figure out one’s areas of interest by which the car could end up providing contextual information and even prompt the driver with the hours that she needs to drive to get to a restaurant. Seems scary at first glance, but there are great use cases that highway restaurants can use.
And there’s much more… Nvidia has announced their entry into AI with GeForce RTX graphics cards for desktops that could add a visual treat while playing games. There are a few home appliances for the kitchen that include grills to smart microwaves and a lot in between. Another highlight relates to the French startup Neoplants that’s brought out houseplants that can act as air purifiers for your homes.