The coolest tech trends 2018 from CES

Life

1. These robots will help you in the future

Almost every second exhibitor at CES presented its own robot, which is bursting with artificial intelligence. Many are intended to serve as pet replacements in the process. Sony, for example, is bringing back its robot dog “Aibo”, Bosch showed the latest version of “Kuri” and Bluefrog Robotics presented its prototype “Buddy”, which is due to be launched on the market this year in September for 1500 US dollars – also in Europe. LG even presented 3 new robots: The “Serving Robot” is supposed to serve food in restaurants, the “Porter Robot” is supposed to carry suitcases in hotels and the “Shopping Cart Robot” is supposed to help with shopping in supermarkets.

If you want to get an idea of what the AI robots can do, you should take a closer look at “Cozmo” from Anki, which we presented in detail in our Gadgets for Men special.

2. TVs that roll themselves up

Hardly a CES without exciting TV innovations. Probably the biggest sensation this time was Samsung’s “The Wall”. The real highlight of the mega TV is not its impressive size of 146 inches or its 8k resolution, but the self-luminous “MicroLED” technology behind it, which does without color filters and backlighting. Each pixel consists of its own light-emitting diode, which according to Samsung is supposed to set new standards, especially in terms of picture brightness and black levels. Particularly interesting is that the modular design would theoretically allow for any TV size. However, Samsung isn’t sure yet what exactly they want to do with this possibility.

In the battle for the best picture, besides 4K and 8K resolution, “High Dynamic Range” (HDR) is probably the most promising method at the moment to be able to display more contrast and colors with finer gradations. However, the question of a final standard is still not settled. At the CES, Panasonic, Samsung and the film studio 20th Century Fox now presented the fifth standard called “HDR10+”, in which the brightness and contrast can be dynamically adjusted to each scene, instead of only statically to the entire film as with “HDR10”. The result was quite impressive on site. It now remains to be seen whether the new process can also become generally accepted.

The TV disappears into the base

If you listen to the big TV manufacturers, in the future it will also be a question of what happens to the huge black surface on the living room wall when the TV is turned off. Samsung recently launched “The Frame,” which uses interchangeable (picture) frames and an art mode to turn the TV into a painting that is almost indistinguishable from a real one. In Las Vegas, LG now presented the technology study of the world’s first rollable OLED TV with 65 inches, which can disappear into its base after being switched off.

Either completely, or still partially visible as a bar, for example to display the time or the current weather. Panasonic, on the other hand, has been working on a transparent screen for years and showed the latest prototype at CES. Hung on the wall or placed in front of decorations, it is hardly recognizable when switched off.

3. Internet of Things: all tech products networked by 2020

By now you should have heard about it. No? Then you should definitely read our FAQ on the Internet of Things, because basically the next technology revolutionary stage is just around the corner, and some of it can already be experienced – for example in the smart home sector. Samsung, for example, made it clear at the trade fair just how serious the industry is about a completely networked world of technology by saying that they want to make all new products IoT-capable by 2020. Regardless of whether it’s a refrigerator, TV, washing machine or wearable.

The big problem with the IoT trend, however, is that there is no uniform standard yet. In addition, each major manufacturer is currently developing its own small IoT universe, covering only its own products plus some cooperation partners.

4. The smart home reaches into the bathroom

Control the light or climate in individual rooms, start the cleaning robot, turn on the washing machine or look in the refrigerator while on the move: More and more areas and devices in our homes are being made intelligent and controlled by app, voice assistant or gesture. What else is possible is shown, for example, by the company KOHLER, which plans to integrate the entire bathroom into the smart home with a new product range in the near future. Simple voice commands should automatically fill the bath, control the mirror light, start a shower program, flush the toilet or even preheat the toilet seat. There remain actually hardly still desires open.

Food tracker against waste

Another interesting idea is that of the U.S. startup Wide Afternoon, which wants to help stop wasting food with its “Ovie Smarterware”. In the process, new food items in the refrigerated display are fitted with a tracker. An LED ring then indicates the freshness of the product and alerts via app when something should be eaten as soon as possible and how it could be combined with the other foods to make a meal.

Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri? Who controls the smart home

However, integration with the Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri voice assistants will play a major role in the development and spread of smart home products. As with the IoT, almost every major provider of smart home products is currently brewing its own app soup and simply locking out competing devices. There needs to be a general platform that can be used to control the entire home without exception and without having to commit to specific brands. However, that could still take a while.

5. Autonomous driving systems are getting smarter

CES in Las Vegas is also increasingly becoming a show and innovation stage for the big car brands.

In 2018, the focus this time was on self-driving cars in particular. BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler showed their increasingly intelligent assistance systems, which can, for example, keep in lane independently, take over complete control in stop-and-go traffic or brake automatically and, above all, faster than the driver in the event of danger. The way things look at the moment, we’ll soon have hardly anything to do – theoretically, of course.

Technology trend robot cars

When it comes to fully autonomous robotic cars that do not need a driver, the USA seems to be ahead of the game. Google subsidiary Waymo, for example, already has cars driving around autonomously without a control driver in a suburb of Arizona.

The fleet is to be increased to 600 robo-cars in the next few years. General Motors also wants to reach similar numbers by 2021. By way of comparison, German automakers are planning to have a test fleet of just under 40 test vehicles by then, in the best case scenario. However, this may also be due to the fact that the legal framework for testing self-driving cars in Germany is stricter than in the U.S.

Helping robots in the supermarket or hotel, self-driving cars and a completely intelligent home – right down to the flushing toilet: these are the technology trends that will change our lives by 2020.

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