CES 2017: MAKING VIRTUAL THE NEW REALITY

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The annual technological trade show, known as one of the anticipated in its category happens each year at Las Vegas, NV in the month of January. The Consumer Electronics Show, fondly referred to as CES is akin to the moment children run down the stairs on Christmas morning to find their gifts wrapped and ready under the Christmas tree, if only the Christmas tree was Las Vegas, the gifts were the brain child of tech giants and the fervent kids none other than the techies and gadget enthusiasts around the world. Started in the year 1967, and owned by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), CES has been the iconic launch pad for some of the most household game-changer products you now use in your daily life. Don’t quite believe it? Well, here are some of the few products that have made their debut through CES in the past decades:

·       Videocassette Recorder (VCR), 1970

·       Laserdisc Player, 1974

·       Camcorder and Compact Disc Player, 1981

·       Digital Audio Technology, 1990

·       Compact Disc – Interactive, 1991

·       Digital Versatile Disk (DVD), 1996

·       High Definition Television (HDTV), 1998

·       Hard-disc VCR (PVR), 1999

·       Satellite Radio, 2000

·       Microsoft Xbox and Plasma TV, 2001

·       Home Media Server, 2002 , Blu-Ray DVD and HDTV PVR, 2003

·       HD Radio, 2004

·       OLED TV, 2008

·       3D HDTV, 2009

·       Tablets, Netbooks and Android Devices, 2010

·       Connected TV, Smart Appliances, Android Honeycomb, Ford’s Electric Focus, Motorola Atrix, Microsoft Avatar Kinect, 2011

·       Ultrabooks, 3D OLED, Android 4.0 Tablets, 2012

·       Ultra HDTV, Flexible OLED, Driverless Car Technology, 2013

·       3D Printers, Sensor Technology, Curved UHD, Wearable Technologies, 2014

4K UHD, Virtual Reality, Unmanned Systems, 2015

Let’s say these well known names have now grabbed your attention and turned it towards the marvel show that is CES. This new year was no less of a stunner, as many more tech giants are currently making use of the latest trends today. And among the headlining ideas, the majorly focused areas have been Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, which have had crowds gathering and rushing for demos upon demos at the Tradeshow. And then come the usual heavyweights in the area of television, laptops and smart vehicles. So here’s a look at some of the new highlights that grabbed the most attention in this year’s edition:

SMARTGLASSES

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The revolution towards virtual and even augmented reality is now a race between companies and the plot has thickened with the latest release of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 VR glasses.

Known as AR/VR smartglasses, they are wearable eye pieces in the form of goggles, which are now equipped with a 40 to 50 degree field of view, and a HD 1080p resolution. The tradefair this time was swarming with excited viewers all craning for a chance to try a hand at this form of reality, and the product aims to satisfy consumers by being adaptable to more devices apart from mobile phones. Some of the hurdles they faced were the control of heat dissipation when it comes to such a heavy weight device, but the designers have fared well, in achieving the premium demands now in the technology field, which is compactness, ease of use and sleek designs. The heavy backing that this device gets is from its Snapdragon 835 processor, which the management proclaims holds many surprises. We just have to wait and see till the release. And what we see will definitely be beyond the reality we know now.

2013 Consumer Electronics Show Highlights Newest Technology

Some of the other emerging companies such as Occipital are all about blending what we have in the real world, with the unlimited possibilities of the virtual world. Now before your imagination takes you to the ideas movies like Matrix probably imbibed in you, you should know that this has more explainable science behind it. This company looks to using its “Structure Sensors depth sensor Technology” which is inbuilt within a headset that helps in creating a mixed reality application. For instance, if you wanted to scan a room and map its contents into a virtual world, at the least you wouldn’t be considered a lunatic if you suggested it post the release of this product. So our dreams of achieving the high-tech atrocities of Mission Impossible are one step closer to becoming reality.

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Some of the big shots playing in this particular pond are Microsoft, with its HoloLens equipped with Kinect sensor software and Google with their much discussed new brain child called Project Tango. This is a separate new division holding the reigns for growth in the AR field. They all scan the living world around the person, and map it into a 3d world and create a computer enhanced blend of these two to create the ultimate augmented reality experience. All this can now be soon done, with something not that different from your regular Ray-Bans.

FARADAY FUTURE FF 91

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Much like how their CEO Elon Musk turns heads at any gathering, Tesla Motors has, as usual, turned quite a few heads at this trade show, as it showcased its latest development in the overtaking of electric cars in the automotive industry. Faraday Future FF 91 is the packet of innovation like none other shown previously by Tesla. From zero gravity rear seat which offer cooling and massages to reclining angles that beat first class seats on a flight, this car also aims to be a rocket in its field, with powered acceleration. And its smarter than it sounds, with the simple ability of driving itself using the auto piloting technology previously designed by Tesla.

“The FF 91 will usher in a new age of connected vehicles,” Nick Sampson, said the company’s senior vice president of engineering and R&D and a former Tesla engineer.

Much of the comparisons being made are to futuristic movies such as Minority Report, from its design to what its equipped with. Interestingly enough, what makes this vehicle special is not what it has but what it Doesn’t Have. No handles, no keys, no mirrors and best of all, no combustion engine. Hard to believe? It was harder to materialise but they managed it. With electronic panels surrounding its interior, it’s a mecca of information for the driver, and its connection to Virtual Reality is that, it was entirely designed in one. Instead of our run of the mill door handles, you will have a selection of buttons and a panel that identifies you and hey, even throw you a wee greeting! As for the no mirrors criterion, who needs mirrors when you can have high-resolution cameras surrounding the vehicle giving you a clear picture of your surroundings on your mirrors? That’s what FF 91 provides. And common for any electric car, this vehicle has no combustion engine spewing harmful gases into the environment. Now all there is left to see is how the production of this vehicle happens on a commercial scale. And for the sake of our future generations, let’s hope it goes well.

TOYOTA CONCEPT-I

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Now in comparison to the high tech capabilities of Tesla, Toyota’s management have admitted that their vehicles have not as of yet caught up to that level of autonomous functioning in their cars. However, they still managed to produce a beauty of an automobile, in the form of Concept-I. Terming it as “semi-autonomous”, Toyota is looking to bring in artificial intelligence to a form of reality, in their endeavour to produce a car that has a built in “virtual” assistant called “Yui”. Having an apprentice could be a good comparison to Yui, which will in time learn your driving patterns and habits and methods, in case there is ever a need for it to take over driving at some point of time. This virtual presence of a helping hand is sure to boost Toyota’s presence in the automation field, and the tech world’s hurry to enter a new reality with the help of ever changing products.

Apart from this main theme of following AR and VR in the future, CES also had a showcase of varying objects that in the near future could prove to be indispensable as well as being capable of taking entertainment to a whole new level, such as LG’s new venture on OLED tvs.

LG SIGNATURE OLED TV W

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From the age of tv’s with a protruding back, we have since progressed to the current date, where a tv could be easily confused with a wall poster. If you have a poster lying around at home around 2.6 mm thin, and around 65 or 77 inches wide, then stick it on your wall and you’d be looking at something pretty similar to LG’s newest instalment in the OLED TV division. Thinner, sharper and smarter seems to be the motto the company is following, with the thinnest size as of now, and sharpest sounds and images with the help of Dolby-Atmos soundbars and active HDR. And as for smarter, compatibility to the rest of your futuristic devices is what the designers are after. Experiencing a theatre like quality in the comforts of your home is the aim and they sure are on their path to achieving this, based on consumer reviews at the trade show this year. Follow the company’s online space for more updates, in case you want in on the experience.

MOTIV RING

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How many times have we wanted to hear the rhythm of our hearts? As poetic as it may seem, this virtual ideas is soon to hit the markets as a reality in the form of a ring. The first ever of its kind, this wearable ring is the quoted to be the next new thing in the arena of health and fitness, wherein it is equipped with an optical heart rate sensor inbuilt. Apart from being able to track heart activity in general, it keeps a check on sleep patterns as well. The innovative edge it gives is comfort and ease of wear, in comparison to its predecessors, which have mostly been smart watches or wrist bands. Imagine a simple ring that is convenient to wear and ignorable during daily activities, which at the end of the day, could be a gate way to a healthier life style. Now that is Motiv Ring. And for the lazy bugs who can’t be bothered removing it for showers, well, the designers probably knew you existed because the device has been made waterproof to a great degree, 5 ATM to be exact. And charging doesn’t seem to be a great concern as it only requires to be charged every four to five days. You can expect this device to hit the market commercially anytime during spring.

With all these new releases, us consumers have little to do but wait till the next year’s trade show to see what new marvels show up. But till then, we can spend some quality time playing and experimenting with this year’s treats, all year long.

 

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