The Best of CES 2015

From a driverless Mercedes prototype to controlling objects at the wave of a hand, here are some of the coolest products from this year’s CES.

In January of this year, 170,000 of the world’s techies gathered in Las Vegas for the annual International CES (Consumer Electronics and Technology Show). With more tech space than ever, 3,600 exhibitors covered more than 2.2 million square feet, and showcased everything from connected devices, automotive electronics, home security systems, and fitness and health solutions, to televisions, computers, headphones, wearables, and telephones of every imaginable shape and size. Here is a round-up of some of the coolest products on show.

Mercedes-Benz revealed its driverless concept car, the F 015 Luxury in Motion

Driverless cars are the automobile industry’s hot topic with pretty much every automaker working on a version. Mercedes’ vision, the sleek and high-tech F 015 Luxury in Motion, is perhaps the most futuristic of all.

The F 015 offers a luxury living room interior fitted with open-pore walnut wood and front seats which can swivel to allow front passengers to face those in the rear. The living room space is also equipped with six screens seamlessly integrated into the instrument, rear, and side panels, which are controlled by touch, eye-control, and gesture. Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Dieter Setsche, comments: “The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space”.

It is of course unlikely that the F 015 will ever be mass produced for the road in its current form, but the prototype clearly demonstrate where Mercedes is going with its driverless cars.

The Smart Ring promised “one gesture is all you need”

The second model of the revolutionary Ring, created by Kickstarter-funded Logbar, promises “one gesture is all your need” as it allows users to control everything in the house with the wave of a single digit. The cloud control device allows wearers to turn lights, music, or the television on and off; open and close curtains; and fulfil a number of other small actions using pre-programmed gestures logged into a smartphone app.

The Ring was named as a 2015 CES Innovation Awards Honoree, and should be coming to the market at $130.

Virtual reality is near

Having been acquired last year by Facebook for $2 billion, Oculus VR took a giant booth at CES to demonstrate its leading position in the development of virtual reality.

The company’s demo Crescent Bay, an immersive, 3-D, high definition and 360 experience using the prototype, showed how close the company is to achieving what everybody really wants to see from virtual reality. Oculus is currently hiring the best in developing talent to add to its team of 250 engineers, and is working on a consumer version of the headset and a full system for use with games and other apps. It looks like virtual reality is near.

Toshiba showcased a lifelike robot

ChihiraAico is a lifelike communication android that reportedly had more than a few people freaking out: speaking English, Japanese, and with the ability to sing, it is probably the most realistic robot we’ve ever seen. It has been designed with 43 pneumatic actuators — 15 in its face, four in its body and 24 in its shoulders and arms – intended to make it look and behave like a human that can achieve real communication with human-like facial expression and natural movement.

Toshiba say the android is a prototype that the company will continue to develop with the aim of creating a service robot that is able to assist people in the fields of welfare and healthcare.

3Doodler’s 3D pen got smaller and smoother

3Doodler announced the new and improved Generation 2.0 3D printing pen that can draw and create physical objects. Smaller, smoother, and easier to use than the first generation model, and weighing just 50 grams, the 3Doodler uses heated strands of plastic that cool almost instantly into a solid form. The developers have already created spectacles and a suit jacket, whilst users across the world have created fashion items, jewellery, architectural models, and brail.

Following a Kickstarter campaign to fund production – it took just 16 minutes to hit the target – the first models should be shipped by April 2015, selling at about $85.

And offering us a renaissance of sorts, Sony unveiled its new Walkman

Hi-res audio is becoming a big thing, and Sony just claimed a strong position in the field with the launch of its ‘retro’ High-Resolution Walkman NW-ZX2. Chunky in size and in matt black it plays on nostalgia, but it is oh-so-modern. The portable music player Android system contains an S-Master HX digital amplifier, 128GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot, and a number of functions and tricks which all offer a full audio experience.

Retro has always been cool, but perhaps the $1000 + price tag is less so…

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