When you think of the city of Vegas, what images come to mind? Slot machines, ostentatious casinos, the Little White Wedding Chapel, perhaps. But what about an assembly of tech geeks from around the world?
Every January, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is held in Las Vegas, offering people a glimpse into what the world of technology has to offer.
This year, the show was held from January 6-9 and showcased cutting-edge inventions. Here is a wrap up of a few technologies that stole the limelight.
Internet TV: Cutting The Cord
Sling TV symbolizes the rise of the Internet TV. Due to streaming websites such as Netflix and Hulu, people have begun cutting down on watching cable.
Dish developed Sling TV as a service that allows people to stream channels over the Internet rather than watching them via cable. Dish has already secured many major channels, including ESPN, Disney Channel, CNN, Food Network, and ABC Family, and is making them available through Sling TV at $20 a month. Sling TV will be compatible with other devices as well, including the Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and the Xbox One.
3D Printers: Making 'Em Real!
One of the biggest trends of 2014 was 3D printing. We have written about MakerBot, the company that pioneered 3D printing here.
Rather than simply using plastic, MakerBot uses composite filaments or materials that combine plastic and something else. That “something else” could be iron, bronze, limestone, or other materials. This allows 3D printers to create products that look much more realistic.
While the composite is still not completely identical to the real thing (it is still mixed with plastic), it has many advantages. It can take on the properties of the added material. For example, an iron-based plastic could be magnetized, while a wood-based plastic could be sanded or stained.
Mercedes-Benz: Luxury in Motion
Another new trend in recent years is self-driving cars. While most developments in this field have been made by companies like Google, Mercedes-Benz is adding a twist that they are best known for style.
Car seats swivel so that passengers can face one another. People can control the car through remotes and hand gestures. Colored LED lights allow pedestrians to know when it is safe to cross. The F015 is not a realistic model, nor will it likely go into the market. However, it is a concept car, showing us what Mercedes believes the future of self-driving cars holds for us.
Bendable TV, Wearable Devices, And More...
One of the most popular gadgets revealed at the CES was 4K TVs. When it comes to resolution, 4K is as good as you can get—it is basically Ultra HD. While a TV with 1080p resolution has around 2 million pixels, a TV with 4K resolution has 8 million pixels -- 4 times as much as the next best option. And LG was part of this trend, showcasing the second generation of their 4K OLED TV that can be bent or straightened according to user preferences. We have written about OLED TV's here.
Wearable devices such as smartwatches that track health and fitness goals were the rage as expected. Then there were internet-enabled devices such as intelligent thermostats, washing machines, refrigerators -- and even a smart toothbrush that connects to your iPhone or Android app and tells you how well you are brushing!
Charging Devices... Remotely!
What happens when you see the small battery symbol on the top corner of your computer or phone turn red and display a small 2% sign? It is a mad rush to the charger, where you fumble a bit for the plug and then sigh in relief when your device begins to charge.
Energous’ WattUp changes all of that. WattUp is a wireless charger that can charge your devices from up to 15 feet away—you don't even need a charging pad! Using Bluetooth, WattUp connects to compatible devices. Then, it sends out radio signals, which are converted to DC power by a small chip in the device.
The WattUp can either automatically charge all devices in the 15-foot radius or be manually programmed to charge certain devices. Because it prioritizes charging devices with lower battery, you will never need to worry about running out of juice before you get to the charger. Energous plans to have this technology out in stores by the end of the year.