CES 2018 concluded last week in Las Vegas where there were tons of new and improved gadgets, innovations and technologies on show from some of the world’s leading tech companies. From advancements in 5G technology to updated digital assistants, from virtual reality headsets to retrofuturistic robots, this year’s show did not disappoint. In this article, we take a look at some of the most interesting highlights from the event:
The future of Healthcare
AI and Machine Learning are leading the way in the field of healthcare. Presenters at the event claimed that personalised medicine (using gene sequencing) would be introduced very soon and Machine Learning will help healthcare providers reach out and treat patients in remote places, hence cutting out a lot of the tedious paperwork.
Humox Hex, a watch wearable developed by a team at MIT, goes deeper than any wearable device till date. Rather than monitoring just the heart rate, it calculates oxygen consumption in the muscles to make real-time recommendations to the user. This reduces injury, optimises exercises and monitors the recovery process.
L’Oreal’s Thumbnail-sized Sensor
Surprised to see L’Oreal in this list? You’re not the only one. But they’ve been active participants at CES events in recent years and this week unveiled their own innovation – UV Sense Patch. It’s so small that you can attach it to your thumbnail and it’ll measure your exposure to sunlight, thus helping you limit the risk of skin cancer. It’s less than two millimetres thick and battery-free so has to be replaced every two weeks.
Hyundai’s Digital Assistant
Hyundai made a splash at this year’s event when they announced that a new voice-enabled bot was in advanced development (expected in 2019). Most of us are acutely aware of the dangers of texting while driving and Hyundai wants to solve that problem. This digital assistant will be fitted in the car and you can talk to it to text, make phone calls, switch on the AC, play a song or open the radio, and even get directions.
Co-developed by Silicon Valley based SoundHound Inc., it will also recognise multiple commands in the same sentence. For example, if you tell it “call my home and also tell me what the weather forecast is for tomorrow”, it will recognise those are two separate commands.
Cocoon Cam Clarity
This baby monitor will send you real time data on the infant’s breathing and send you other alerts as well. Their latest version, showcased at the event, has added sensors for temperature, humidity and sleep analytics (like sleep and wake patterns, trends, growth behaviors , etc.).
Still a concept rather than a reality, Rinseed is developing a car model (called “Snap”) that looks like a skateboard pod. The idea behind this is to move people in urban areas quicker and they can step on and off it easily if they don’t like how the AI powering the car is driving.
Toyota’s e-Palette Concept Car
Toyota’s response to the whole driverless cars debate – the e-Palette. It’s a fully autonomous electric vehicle with eight wheels. It looks like a home in a box – it can contain furniture, TVs, can be used to deliver parcels, among other things. According to the Toyota CEO, Akio Toyoda, it can even be used as a temporary accommodation. A driverless hotel room!
A software called MSPF (Mobility Services Platform) is at the core of the e-Palette design.
Google Assistant is taking on Amazon’s Alexa, in a BIG way
It’s no secret that Google wants to be your go-to everything – home, car, device. At CES 2018, Google brought it’s AI assistant to smart displays – basically, speakers with displays built in! It’s a smart bet that smart displays will outnumber smart speakers very quickly. For example, if you ask the smart display for directions, it’ll also send those directions to your phone without being prompted. Amazing.
In cars, Google Assistant will be incorporated into ‘Android Auto’ to improve your in-car experience. Ask it to pick out a song, check the score, recite a recipe; anything you can think of in a car, Google Assistant wants to help you get that information.
Youtube’s Recommendations Keep Getting Better
Youtube’s Chief Product Officer, Neal Mohan, said in a CES panel discussion, that their ever improving recommendation AI has taken another leap forward. According to him, the average session duration on a mobile device is almost an hour! The user is lured into a loop by the excellent recommendations that are shown next to each video. Using various ML techniques (which they prefer keeping under wraps), they expect this number to drive up even further this year.
Our take on this
This year’s event saw a lot of focus on digital assistants. If last year’s event was all about Amazon’s Alexa, this year Google’s virtual assistant was the star of the show. We can expect to see it being integrated into our everyday lives very soon, with Google insistent on having it available in cars and in your house (it’s already available on the phone). Alexa and Google Assistant will be at the front of the next advertising wave.
Driverless cars were also at the forefront of the event with Lyft, Rinseed, Ford, Intel and Toyota leading the chase. A lot of these are still concept cars but the general consensus is that these should start rolling out by 2020.
In other categories, healthcare saw a lot of innovation – wearables, already a trending topic among the general public, is seeing a ton of upgrades. Features like sleep, oxygen consumption, sunscreen exposure are getting embedded deeper into these devices, thus granting us a far more integral view of how our bodies behave in different circumstances.
Virtual reality headsets were introduced as well by Facebook and Lenovo but failed to gain any real traction. There is a lot of scope for improvement in this field and next year’s event could potentially see a leap forward in the technology.
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