The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas wraps up on Friday. There were a lot of gadgets, concepts, and gizmos worthy of a second look. While nothing as game-changing as the personal computer or the smartphone was revealed this year, there were a lot of products that added incremental functionality to items we already own.
The Beam from Suitable Technologies
The Internet has allowed people to work remotely and efficiently. The downside to this is that they have also become cut off from the goings on at their offices, factories, and facilities that are sometimes spread throughout the globe. Enter the Beam by Suitable Technologies. It is a roving robot with a large screen that allows employees in remote locations to interact with each other.
Using simple software developed by Suitable Tech, a person can tap into the Beam robot remotely and drive it around an office or factory thousands of miles away, allowing them to be there, without actually being physically present. The person’s face is shown on a large screen roving at eye level with people, making remote conversations more natural and productive than a soulless conference call. The robot’s cameras, sensors, and microphones are very good and driving the robot is super easy. Now, your boss in New York can be in the office with you in Kuala Lumpur and interact with you on a far more, dare I say, “human,” level.
The XPS 13 laptop and Venue 8 7000 tablet from Dell
Dell surprised everyone at CES this year. While the company has become far quieter since going private and has committed a lot of resources to increasing its enterprise offerings, it hasn’t totally written off its consumer line. Consider its new XPS 13 laptop and Venue 8 7000 tablet. Both sport a very thin bezel, meaning that Dell was able to pack a lot of screen in a smaller footprint. So, the Dell XPS 13 is a 13-inch laptop smashed into a footprint the size of a 11.6-inch Macbook Air. The implication for this is that laptops will be easier to pack and carry around, which is good news for pretty much everyone. This bezel-less design will undoubtedly be copied by Asian manufacturers in the year to come, making Dell, once again, a leader in PC design.
The F 015 autonomous vehicle from Mercedes
Driving is so 20th century, at least according to Mercedes-Benz. Since 1893, Mercedes has been at the forefront of automobile technology, so its presence at CES isn’t as odd as it sounds. This year, Mercedes revealed an entire concept car, a first for the show, the F 015, autonomous driving vehicle. The futuristic looking car featured an array of game-changing technologies on board, allowing it to be driven totally by a computer.
Autonomous driving will revolutionize your commute. Now, you won’t have to watch the road and listen to NPR; you can instead watch the Today show while checking your Twitter feed. Mercedes says the car is just a concept, but they believe that they will “soon” be able to make an economic case for building a car with autonomous driving capability in the very near future. Other companies are scrambling to keep up, but none have gone as far as the German automaker in this arena.
The Dart from FinSix
While laptops have gotten thinner and smaller, the laptop charger has remained heavy and fat, canceling out much of the point of having a small and powerful laptop. This, of course, wouldn’t be an issue if laptops were able to hold a charge for a considerable period of time, but few, if any, can really get you through the day, or even through half a day.