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CES 2018: Best tech gadgets on the planet

Samsung’s new giant 146-inch TV can be used to create a ‘wall-sized’ display. Picture: John Locher/AP
Samsung’s new giant 146-inch TV can be used to create a ‘wall-sized’ display. Picture: John Locher/AP

I WANT you all to know that the future is amazing. No, I am not a time traveller, I have just been lucky enough to visit the world's larger consumer tech convention in Las Vegas.

With CES showcasing some of the most cutting-edge products from the world's most innovative companies, there was always going to be some impressive things on show.

From robots to drones to artificially-intelligent home appliances, a world once dreamt of is now verging on reality and it couldn't be more exciting.

Here are our best products from CES 2018.

THE PHONE WITH THE TECHNOLOGY APPLE WANTED

Chinese smartphone maker Vivo is blowing Apple out of the water with their fingerprint sensor technology.
Chinese smartphone maker Vivo is blowing Apple out of the water with their fingerprint sensor technology.

 

When Apple released the iPhone X earlier this year, it did so without a physical fingerprint scanner and tried to convince people facial scanning tech was better.

But many wondered if Apple wasn't able to figure out the technology needed to have an on-screen fingerprint scanner.

If this is true, the tech giant should speak to Chinese smartphone maker Vivo which showcased on-screen fingerprint technology successfully on a pre-production model.

The fingerprint sensor - made by sensor company Synaptics - lives beneath the six-inch OLED display and uses an AI processor that's trained to recognise 300 different characteristics.

Using light from the screen, an optical image sensor beneath the display receives your fingerprint and the phone unlocks.

Synaptics claim the fingerprint reader won't suck up more battery by illuminating your finger, promising its power management will be on par with industry standards.

If all this holds true, I would expect to see all the major flagships move toward the technology in the coming years.

LGs TV RANGE

The ‘Grand Canyon’ flexible OLED TV display at LG’s Consumer Electronics Show booth. Picture: Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
The ‘Grand Canyon’ flexible OLED TV display at LG’s Consumer Electronics Show booth. Picture: Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson

Last year LG unveiled a "wallpaper" TV that is thinner than your smartphone and could sit flush on any surface.

This year they took things further and showcased a 65-inch flexible television screen that rolls down into a small tube like a poster.

Even more impressive is the rolling feature is controlled by the press of a button, with the screen capable of only partly rolling out so you can check information like weather.

While that is only a prototype, all of LGs traditional OLEDs and UHD LCD TV line-ups have received significant refinements and have a large focus on the company's ThinQ artificial intelligence platform.

Part of this improvement has seen LG also adding both Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa to both of the ranges.

The ‘wallpaper’ TV is so flexible that it can be rolled down into a small tube. Picture: John Locher/AP
The ‘wallpaper’ TV is so flexible that it can be rolled down into a small tube. Picture: John Locher/AP

The exciting thing is the Google Assistant doesn't require commands like with other products, instead it's summoned with the press of a button.

Using the assistant will allow you to find out more information on who is in a movie you are watching, show photos from your Google Photos or even ask the TV to turn off when the program you are watching ends - we all know someone with a partner who needs that.

For the high-end OLED models, an improved software and image processor means the screen deliver even more accurate colour and "enhanced image rendering" - especially helpful when up-scaling the quality of your free-to-air image.

Also new to the 2018 LG line-up is support for high frame rates (HFR) up to 120fps, which makes for a smoother picture.

THE WORLD'S FIRST AI-EQUIPPED TABLE TENNIS TUTOR

 

Japanese electronics company OMRON has created an AI-equipped robot that demonstrates how machines can work in harmony with humans.

By using sensing control, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics, the company created FORPHEUS.

What is exciting about the product is it doesn't try to destroy its mere human partner like you might expect, rather it judges the skill level of its opposition and adjust play to help promote longer rallies.

FORPHEUS uses a three-camera system to identify the ball and players, trajectory

prediction, a motion controller "brain" which tells the high speed robotic arm how to hit the ball and machine learning to evaluate his opponents' capabilities.

The robot has also recently learnt how to toss and serve. The skill to predict a smash is based on the movements of the other player and the ability to produce sounds appropriate to the state of the match.

It is hoped this will ultimately help coach and encourage the human player throughout their matches.

SAMSUNG'S "THE WALL"

Samsung US vice-president Dave Das unveils the new 146 inch TV screen known as The Wall. Picture: Supplied
Samsung US vice-president Dave Das unveils the new 146 inch TV screen known as The Wall. Picture: Supplied

Meet Samsung's "The Wall".

The product is a giant 146-inch TV with a micro-LED display - each one of the vast array of microscopic LEDs emits light, which eliminates the need for backlight.

Removing backlight gets rid of the illumination spills that occur when light moves past the targeted pixel, which means the screen is able to produce contrasts of lush colours and deep blacks.

Usually this is only something reserved for similar OLED technology, although micro-LED is pitched as a superior alternative because it offers both deep blacks and bright highlights.

The products will be pricey because it's expensive to individually place LEDs.

As far as the design goes, the 'module-based' display has removed all bezel and "can be used to create a wall-sized display, or simply let consumers increase their traditional screen size to suit a new room in the home".

Samsung was reserved about how this concept will work commercially and with pricing, but it looks impressive nonetheless and puts the company in direct line with some of its competition using OLEDs.

PETWALK

This smart pet door will open automatically for your pet and allow you to keep track of their comings and goings.
This smart pet door will open automatically for your pet and allow you to keep track of their comings and goings.

What if I told you that your pet could walk in a pet door that opens like it does for a human?

Enter PetWALK's fully connected high-end animal door, which will open and close when it registers your pet - it uses a tag worn on the collar.

Not only that, it can be controlled from anywhere via remote, mobile devices, web browsers or smart home devices.

It is also a handy way for the pet owner to stay informed about the animal's movements during the day and night.

The PetWALK door can also be integrated into any smart home service.

ROBOTS

 

Sony's Aibo is a robot dog that has been reborn for CES 2018.

With it comes a range of improvements from its predecessor like OLED eyes for better expressions, motion-detection, voice control and smarter intelligence downloaded directly from the cloud.

For a change of pace, you could wait for one of LG's concept robots which have been designed to take on tasks from the hospitality and service industries.

The company showcased a luggage carrying robot, a food service robot and a shopping cart robot.

What a time to be alive.

Continue the conversation with Matthew Dunn on Facebook and Twitter.

Matthew Dunn travelled to CES as a guest of LG

Topics:  ces ces 2018 editors picks games and gadgets las vegas tech



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