Let’s explore the technological horizons for the year ahead.
The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) provides a rare glimpse into the future of domestic and commercial technology. Held in Las Vegas each January, it also offers early indications of how electronics will impact on our lives over the coming year. From 2.6mm thick OLED TVs to 2TB USB sticks, this year’s show’s recurring theme was packing high-end specifications into remarkably small casings.
As manufacturers continue their headlong rush to integrate device connectivity, CES 2017 was notable for the proportion of items that can be controlled remotely through web portals or smartphone apps. Samsung has already declared that every product bearing its logo will be internet-enabled by the start of the next decade, and its CES highlights included QLED televisions that use quantum dot technology for unparalleled clarity. However, the concept of web-enabled TVs seems rather passé; this year’s show saw everything from Bluetooth-equipped radiation detectors through to walking sticks that send out an alert if they’re dropped.
To the Future!
Fortunately, much of the connected technology at this year’s CES was more useful. Sevenhugs unveiled a Smart Remote that effectively clones the remote control interface for almost any device it’s pointed at, promising to banish all those plastic wands that lurk in every living room. Casio presented an outdoor smartwatch that incorporates GPS and offline map viewing alongside a gyrometer and magnetic compass, powered for a month on one battery charge. And Dell revealed the closest thing yet to Tony Stark’s laboratory – a 27-inch touchscreen monitor that can be laid flat to become an interactive work surface controlled by your hands.Exciting? You bet!
Advancing Biometric Security
CES also provides a preview of the high-end computers early adopters will be sporting later this year, and 2017’s highlights mostly involved laptops – supposedly an endangered species. The Asus ZenBook3 Deluxe crams a lot into its 13mm deep case, including a 14-inch screen and twin Thunderbolt 3 ports. Dell displayed a 2-in-1 laptop with a fingerprint scanner and facial recognition technology, capable of powering its 3,200×1800 QHD screen for up to 15 hours on a single charge.
Enhanced displays of a different kind were the focus for smartphone and VR manufacturers. HTC Vive unveiled a wireless PC-powered VR headset, alongside a tracking device that can make inanimate objects like tennis rackets visible in the virtual world for a truly immersive experience. HTC also showcased the world’s first virtual reality subscription service – a platform agnostic package described by the developer as ‘Netflix for VR’, and intended to form the basis of VR arcades in pubs and cafés.
2017 – A Tech Year To Rule Them All
Back in the real world, the growing convergence of mobile communications and personal transportation has seen car manufacturers and computing giants collaborating and competing in equal measure. Autonomous vehicles were displayed by everyone from Nvidia to a BMW/Intel collaboration, while Panasonic demonstrated a pioneering head-up display that effectively removes any need for dashboards or instruments. Indeed, with voice-controlled chatbot devices also prominent at this year’s CES show, 2017 might be the year that traditional input media like keyboards and mice begin their sad march towards obsolescence…
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