“Over the next decade or so, AI is going to transform every human experience.” Konrad Feldman, CEO and Founder, Quantcast at CES 2019.
When ROBRADY design’s CEO / Design Director Rob Brady and Senior Industrial Designer Matt Vergin hit the hi-tech Mecca that is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (CES), they found ample support for Feldman’s statement. Below is a recap of highlights from the 3-Day event.
Better Living Through Technology
With nearly 3 million square feet dedicated to the latest and greatest in consumer electronics, innovation could be found in unassuming objects as well as autonomous vehicles, and in incremental advances as well as game-changing gadgets.
In fact, the smart toothbrush by Phillips might be the coolest gadget you didn’t know you needed. Featuring an app that, among other helpful functions, shows users the spots they’ve missed via a mirror display, the rechargeable brush will likely be as popular with dentists as with their patients. A children’s version of the smart brush goes even further by gamifying oral hygiene, turning the bathroom mirror into a video game and awarding points and rewards for proper brushing.
Also in the “how could it get any better” category was a kettle bell system by Jaxjox. The stylish weight not only records reps via accelerometers but also adjusts the weight, shedding or adding pounds as desired, to provide an elegant and space-saving solution to a room full of workout equipment.
But along with unexpected surprises like toothbrushes and kettle bells were more familiar entries such as voice-controlled systems like Alexa which will soon render switches, knobs, and dials as quaint as the Space Commander TV remote.
And speaking of television…
The Revolution Will Be Televised…Eventually.
The only bigger buzzwords than Artificial Intelligence at CES weren’t even really words: 8K and 5G. Though devices and content aren’t commonplace yet, they’re already becoming household words for good reason. The extraordinary 8K screens were the norm at CES, and though a limited amount of content is available for the 8K, imminent 5G technology will revolutionize the speed and volume at which it arrives. Compared to current 4G rates of 3-5 MB per second, 5G rates are a blistering 20GB per second. This means instead of streaming one 4K video, bingewatchers could stream hundreds of 8K-quality videos simultaneously.
Apps and cloud-based tech will have a growing impact on the healthcare industry. With unprecedented ability to leverage big data and connectivity, physicians and patients alike will not only see improved accuracy and immediacy of personal care, but a greater ability to track larger trends could help shape the battle plans against societal crises such as opioid addiction.
Smarter Vehicles, Smarter Drivers
Let’s face it, at CES the vehicles are still the rock stars. Once the stuff of pulp sci-fi then of curiosity, autonomous and smart vehicles are coming into their own. The possibilities and the promise of AI-enhanced vehicles have expanded beyond the Tesla coupe. John Deere demonstrated the possibilities for farming with its AI combine that can differentiate between plants and disperse pesticide with accuracy to within 2.5 cm that eliminates undesirable growth while helping viable crops thrive. And Bell’s personal air transport, which more closely resembles a full-sized drone than a conventional helicopter with its six-prop configuration, may single-handedly usher in the era of Uber for the air. If it can rise above the controversy and red-tape of personal air travel.
Then there were the cars; from the single-seat roadster that looked part Mercedes and part Mach-5, to Byton’s electric car that comes with an impressive LCD interface that spans the width of the cockpit. And, not to be outdone, Nissan boasted of a concept vehicle that can even read a passenger’s thoughts or transform rainy skies into sunny days with a special augmented windshield display.
With Great Tech Comes Great Responsibility
Yet when it comes to vehicles, having smarter tech means nothing without having smarter drivers. Reaping the full benefits of the coming paradigm shift requires an educated populace and to meet that objective, several car makers and suppliers announced the formation of Partners for Autonomous Vehicle Education (PAVE). This consortium seeks to provide clear and factual information to help Americans understand the potential of AI and autonomous technologies with a multi-tiered strategy that exposes consumers and policymakers to autonomous vehicles, educates legislators through workshops, and makes educational material available to car dealers and service centers.
If this year’s CES is any indication, AI will indeed transform the mundane as well as the monumental areas of our lives. But as PAVE exemplifies, with great intelligence comes an even greater need for understanding how best to use and apply the tech.