We pounded the pavement (aka the convention floor) of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to find all the tech you'll be obsessed with tomorrow...today.
Audi “Jack” Autonomous Robot A7 Fastback
Yeah, Benz made the biggest splash with its F015 Luxury In Motion robot car concept (see below), but Audi may have made the biggest achievement. Taking a more short-term, grounded approach to autonomous driving, Audi eschewed the pie-in-the-sky concepts in favor of bringing a car that, ya know, could actually drive itself. And not just around the corner—but rather from Silicon Valley all the way to Vegas. Jack, as he was lovingly dubbed by Audi, made the 560 mile journey from Stanford University without any major setbacks, driving on public roads while requiring human input “less than 5%” of the time, according to Audi officials. I, for one, welcome our Robot Car Overlords.
808 Audio Performer BT Wireless Headphones
Wireless Headphones are big at CES…real big. Of course you can expect some offerings aimed at the Bugatti clique, but we have cheaper aspirations. 808 Audio has been specializing in entry-level audio for a couple years, and their new Performer BT wireless headphones were the best inexpensive option we saw. You can hard-plug them in, or listen wirelessly via Bluetooth. It’s a solid build with exposed metal headband and yolk, leather and silicon. Rotate earcups 180-degrees for single-ear monitoring or conversations, or make hands free calls with the built-in mic. But the Performer BT’s best feature might be the self-adjusting bungee-suspension ear cups, which aren’t physically connected to the headband with any mechanical apparatus or plastic—much like what you’d find in high-end microphones. All that for under $100, when they drop in spring.
Panasonic Smart Mirror
Tired of waiting for your lady to apply her make-up, only to change her mind halfway through and start all over? If you had Panasonic's Smart Mirror, you’d never face that dilemma again. The Smart Mirror not only analyzes your skin’s health, but better yet allows one to sample a slew of looks without ever putting on a drop of make-up—allowing your girl to go from Goth to Innocent Schoolgirl to Electric Daisy Carnival with a mere tap of the screen.
Motorola Scout 5000
Consider the Motorola Scout 5000 a full time nanny for your pooch. Not only will it GPS track your dog, it can also Geo-Fence—keeping Fluffy from leaving a pre-prescribed vicinity. And, unlike most pet nanny wearables, the Scout features a 720p video camera that will live stream you footage of exactly where your dog is, so you can see if it’s stressed out, or merely wondering the hood with the pack. And if your pooch gets anxious, you can even use the Scout 5000 to whisper calming commands to soothe his frayed nerves. Pick one up early summer for only $200.
808 Audio Hex TL Bluetooth Speaker
Sure, this sharp-looking portable speaker can fill the room with some big audio thanks to its rear bass resonator, full-frequency driver, and dedicated tweeter (all for the very reasonable price of $79), but the real reason we lingered around the booth? The nightclub lighting, pounding sounds, and gyrating go-go dancers.
Sharp Free-Form Displays
The world of wearables is about to get a helluva lot more radical with Sharp’s new free-form displays. Using what they term “IGZO technology,” Sharp’s new digital screens are no longer constrained by the box; they can be any shape you want. Not only will this allow for an explosion in smartwatches and other wearables, but—as Sharp was flexing aplenty—expect auto dashboards to be revolutionized as well. If displays can be any shape, the possibilities for their use will multiply accordingly.
Toshiba Chi-Hia Communication Android
Easily the creepiest thing at CES—which is saying a lot, given the herd of the greasy-haired mouth breathers trolling the joint—is Toshiba’s Chi-Ra “communication android.” With 43 actuators (15 in the face alone!) Chi-Hira proudly boasts she “can show her feelings”…that is, smile and cry. You will too, undoubtedly, when you gaze into her dead, vacant eyes.
IPG’s vSelfie iPhone case
Do you take enough selfies? Do any of us, really? No. We need more. Many
more, apparently, as there is no shortage of CES tech aimed at making #selfies ever easier to execute. One of the better solutions is IPG’s vSelfie. The hard case for the iPhone 6 comes with a built-in adjustable stand and a removable remote that actuates your phone’s shutter—so you can take copious selfies at the perfect angle and distance.
Mercedes-Benz F015 Concept
Marking the first time a major automaker has debuted a concept car at CES, this autonomous driving beauty attracted a crowd of nerds so large, it was as if Olivia Munn had appeared in a Princess Leah slave outfit. Dubbed “Luxury In Motion,” the F015's most startling feature is a cabin with four seats that can swivel around to face each other. (After all, isn't more face-to-face time with your family exactly
what you want?) Take a closer look here...
Nikon EDG Fieldscope 85mm
Good for low lights and extreme magnification, consider the Nikon EDG Fieldscope binoculars on steroids. It uses the finest optics—we're talking 20-60x strength in the eyepiece alone. But, you can also attach any Nikon lens to it, and it will convert to a mindblowing 1750 mm lens. Even better? It's the first VR—vibration reduction—field scope on the market, so you can photograph without a tripod. It starts at $5000, plus $1200 for the camera attachment. Click here
for more info.
Ion Party Bot
With the ION Party Bot, the truth is in the name. This little R2-D2 lookalike is a full Gronk-level fiesta in a small trashcan-size package. With 50 watts of music playable via Bluetooth or USB thumbdrive, Party Bot will dance around your apartment like a Roomba or follow your commands via remote control...all while flashing enough party lights out of his dome to cause a seizure. The dude literally lives on the edge—he can even dance on a table without falling off!
Open Bionics Prosthetic Arm
Openbionics' catchphrase—"because prosthetics shouldn't cost an arm and a leg"—is fitting. These kids from Bristol (founder Joel Gibbard looks like he invented this between FarCry
sessions) have created a 3-D printable prosthetic arm. First you scan your arm, then it will print a prosthetic to fit to your needs. The hands can hold about six kilograms, and it will offer amputees a relatively cheap solution—expect first models sometime in 2016 for about $1500. Click here
for more info.
Volkswagen Golf R Touch
Long gone are the days of Volkswagens simple enough that pretty much anyone could repair them with the help of one big book
. Yes, VW is indeed flexing its tech muscle with the Golf R Touch. It may not look like much, but new the new MMI (Multi Media Interface) is pretty ridiculous. With touchless buttons, you can open the sunroof with the wave of your hand and manipulate all the car's features with Minority Report
StreamTV Glasses-Free 3D TV
StreamTV Network is bringing to life a new line of 3D 4K TVs you can watch without glasses. Using a combination of firmware, software, and hardware, they allow a bizarrely accurate—although somewhat nausea inducing—3D experience without any clumsy eyewear. The first screens should be out from different manufacturers by summertime, at a cost of about 15% higher than that of a regular 4k TV. Click here
for more info.