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CES 2017: 6 Companies with Cool Products

The International CES (Consumer Electronics Show®) is the world's biggest technology conference for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies.
2017 is the 50th year of CES, and the products shown in CES 2017 are super cool. Here are products from 6 companies which impressed me most.

1. Intel with AR

This is a BMW car, but the shining point is not this car. Intel used AR technologies to combine data with automated driving by Hololens. They call it "Automated Driving Multi-Media Experience": to showcase the coming-fast-future of automated driving in an enclosed space, Intel marketers used Microsoft HoloLens “holographic computer” headsets to build an augmented reality experience that let attendees “see” what the car sees: sensor data from all sides, other traffic and even data flying up and down from the cloud.

"Automated Driving Multi-Media Experience" starts at 1m10s

I tried the headset and there are blue & read lines appearing on the surface of car. When I saw the car from Hololens, blue lines fit the car surface and flowed from the front to back. There were also blue road alignment on the ground. The moving lines made me feel that the car was driving forward fast. Also, there were red numbers suspended around the car: they may be some parameters for this "driving" car, but it was hard to tell their meaning.

The experience was very cool, but there were several problems:

  1. The screen of Hololens was very small;

  2. Only 2 colors (blue and red);

  3. Mix real and virtual scene, making me feel a little bit dizzy;

  4. Surface fitting was good but not perfect - there was small gap between real and virtual contour.

  5. Run out of buttery fast - battery went die after 4 visitors trials

  6. Show data without meaning.

See more about Intel @ CES 2017: CES 2017: Tech Pushes Performance

2. Qualcomm Cat M1 IoT

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. designed the industry’s leading module original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) based on its MDM9206 LTE modem for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Designed as a global connectivity solution for applications such as battery-powered sensors, the MDM9206 modem features a purpose-built design for IoT and offers lower power consumption and longer range connectivity than the Company’s previous LTE generations.

The presenter showed me a product prototype where MDM9206 can be used:

Package tracking with MDM9206 module

It's a package tracking system. You can clearly know where your package is, when it is dropped and when it is lifted all in real time with the combination of MDM9206 and some sensors. As MDM9206 is a new LTE category M1/NB-1 modem designed to support reliable, optimized cellular connectivity specially for the IoT, it has great potential to be the core of IoT products in near future.

Apart from this chip, Qualcomm has many other cool products as shown in the following image:

Norton Core Wi-Fi, with special outlook

See more about Qualcomm @ CES 2017: Qualcomm at CES

3. Changhong Material Sensor

What if you could flash your phone over anything –a banana, a pill, or even a piece of plastic – and instantly know its chemical composition?

Changhong made a sensor that uses spectrometry to shine near-infrared light on objects — fruit, liquids, medicine, even your body — to analyze them. Spectrometers work by sending out a pulse of near-infrared light that causes materials in an object to vibrate. From the returned light, the exact material composition of an object can be obtained. And the Changhong H2 phone with this sensor will be on sale in June with a price tag of roughly $435 US dollars.

I tried the phone H2 with material sensor. Changhong set several user stories:

  • Select the sweetest fruit
  • Select fresh food by detecting nutrition
  • Diet eating with calories control
  • Scan skin for body fat

I think this sensor is quite attractive to the people who want to control calories intake - for example, the elderly and the guy loving workout. This sensor and Apple Watch will be the best pair for workout.

See more about Qualcomm @ CES 2017: With a Built-in Molecular Spectrometer, This Phone can Identify Any Material

4. Panasonic Smart Home Solution

There were massive smart home solutions in CES 2017, yet the most inpressive one was from Panasonic. They constructed a real room that merged kitchen, dining room, and living room together:

A wine cooler

that was designed with zones to keep different drinks at their most suitable temperature. With a simple tap on the glass screen, you could also see recipes on what to make for dinner based on the items you have in your fridge. What’s more, if you’re running low on milk, for example, the cooler alerts you and allows you to order your shopping there and then.

A transparent TV

Once you’ve chosen your dish from the cooler, A TV discreetly hidden in a single sheet of glass appears and gives you video instructions on how to prepare and cook your meal – perfect if you need an easy to follow guide on unfamiliar dishes.

Cook steak on dining table

Now you have your recipe, you’ll need to get cooking. Although seemingly ordinary at first, the kitchen island in the centre of the room is actually an induction hob. Simply place your pot on the counter and the wine cooler tells the hob exactly what temperature the food needs to be cooked at to achieve perfection. You can cook from your dining table, too. When your food is on the table, a glass cloche is placed over the top and the table begins to cook the food on the plate right before your eyes.

Transparent screen in dining room

The transparent screen in dining room was very impressive: when it was not lighten, you can not even tell that it was a screen. Comparing with other companies' transparent screens, Pasonic made it really transparent. Samsung's transparent screen is a little bit white and Intel's kind of black when not lighten. Note that in the CES of last year, Panasonic used to show a similar product, but at that time, you can clearly tell the screen from glass. But this year, they made a great improvement.

See more about Panasonic @ CES 2017: Panasonic CES 2017

5. Sony's Art of Combination and UX

Sony's exploring many areas including sound, image, and light. Surprisingly, Sony showed great innovation by playing with two concepts: Combination and UX.

Combination: light and speaker

Combination: projector and speaker

Combination: light and speaker

UX: turn any surface into a touchscreen

"New design concept for IoT: IoT will be everywhere and its interface could be transparent, e.g. windows, glass, wall, table-top and so on. Therefore new design experience must be clearly legible on any surfaces. This concept can be realized consistent user experiences across all Sony devices."

UX: what projector can do when they are free

It's fun that several companies were thinking about what the devices can do when they are free (not used). Sony thought that projector has similarity with phone when it's free, so they designed a lock screen for it. You can place pictures, photos, music albums, time, weather, etc. on it. The amazing part is: they seem so "true" as shown in the picture above. Samsung also made use of its flat-back TV as art image hanging on the wall when they are free.

UX: reading experience on TV screen

6. Naughty America VR Porn

Although this booth was in the corner and the most hidden place in the CES South Hall, it was filled by people all the time. I tried using the VR headset to experience the VR porn video and felt that it was much better than watching porn videos on laptop: with a extremely big screen, I felt like watching film in theater within close distance.

Naughty America is a content provider: they provides 2K video contents to VR infrastructure maker (like Samsung Oculus). By talking with the CTO, I got to know that they wanted to focus on remote experience in 2017 - providing solution for lovers in different places. I hope it will be the savior to long-distance relationships.

My Feeling and Conclusion

  • Some ideas I thought about last semester in courses have already been solve by products in industry- food monitor, package tracker, etc.
  • AR becomes week, VR's usage focuses on games and porn experiences.
  • TV's next trend is OLED, most of the TV makers have already uses it to make TV and monitor.
  • IoT's home solution is attractive, and the best way to show IoT tech is to give solution for a real space, like Panasonic did.
  • Wearable market is not as hot as I thought before.
  • AI is used everywhere, yet mainly in car self-driving and driving assistance.
  • Most concept cars in CES use pad to replace steering wheel, and use map to replace dashboard.
  • Transparent screen is common, and it is quite attractive and practical to be used.
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