CES 2020: Alexa-enabled showerhead and 8K TV’s start the show
Image credit: reuters
Firms are gearing up to launch 8K televisions at CES 2020, held in Las Vegas, while Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant will be embedded into showerheads and bike helmets for the first time.
Samsung has been demonstrating Micro LED screens, an emerging display technology that offers the benefits of both OLED and LCD but which has struggled to reach commercialisation due to complex manufacturing processes.
It’s largest screen, dubbed 'The Wall', is a whopping 292 inches on the diagonal and is composed of a series of smaller Micro LED panels. The pricey panels are aimed more at wealthy commercial companies than the consumer, although it said it anticipated “larger scale production” in 2020 with mass-produced screen sizes up to 150 inches.
Samsung also introduced an 8K QLED screen which comes with AI that the firm claims will improve its audio, visual and smart capabilities.
LG has expanded its 8K line up, after first introducing models with that resolution last year. It now has eight 8K TVs, with the new 77 and 65-inch models joining the existing 88 and 75-inch screen sizes.
These displays also contain an AI processor that is used to upscale smaller format content to fit the 8K resolution. It can also recognise faces and text on screen, fine-tuning and sharpening each to produce more natural skin tones and produce more readable characters.
The AI can recognise the genre or the type of content being watched and automatically apply appropriate picture settings.
This year’s consumer technology event is also seeing a continuation of the 'Alexa-in-everything' trend that began at CES 2017, with voice-activated technology really picking up the pace at CES 2018.
First up, bathroom specialists Kohler announced a showerhead with an embedded Alexa-powered smart speaker that will let you listen to music or the news while washing. Kohler said the speaker was designed by Harman Kardon and is, of course, waterproof with an IPX67 rating.
Safe-Tec showed off a cycling helmet, also with Alexa built in, that has headphones in the main body and dual microphones and controls embedded into the chin strap. The helmet comes with lights at the front and is designed to give cyclists easy - and crucially hands-free - access to their media.
Chinese robot maker PuduTech unveiled a pair of food delivery robots with a cat theme. While BellaBot is designed with food delivery in mind, HolaBot takes dishes away at the end of the meal.
Both bots have been imbued with cat-like personalities, such that when customers touch them in different places, such as the head and the ears, they react in a satisfied way. The robots will be less receptive if customers play with it too much, reminding them it has a job to do.
The four-day trade show will also see the chief privacy officers from Apple and Facebook appear together on stage for a discussion about data privacy - an issue on which the two firms have publicly disagreed in the past.
CES organisers have also been forced to defend the event over its decision to hand a keynote speaker slot this year to Ivanka Trump.
The White House adviser is scheduled to appear alongside CES boss Gary Shapiro for a discussion on the future of work, but some have criticised the decision, claiming she is benefiting from nepotism at the expense of other, more qualified women from the technology sector.
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