MEET THE GAME CHANGERS
Here’s a look at some of the most innovative gadgets at CES 2017
I STARTED THIS column as part II of a report on CES 2017 with some good stuff, a few of the junky products and closing it with some of the weird. Halfway through, realised that the list of truly innovative stuff was long and very meritorious. Thus, I’m dedicating this column to all the game-changing technology and products of CES 2017. Some of these will change the world this year.
Seven hugs Smart Remote:
Remotes are a mixed blessing. A universal remote was supposedly the solution, but all of them have either been useless or too complex to set up. Enter the Seven hugs Remote that knows what device you ’re pointing it towards and it automatically draws up the right buttons. Aim it at a TV or a Blu -ray player or even your DTH box and it’ll know what you need instantly. Its contextually aware system works with a proprietary indoor positioning system and is uncannily accurate.
The first touch screen Apple MacBook is here. Except Apple doesn’t make it! The AirBar from Neonode makes it happen. This small strip attaches to the base of the 13inch MacBook and throws ou t a completely invisible light field over the screen, tu rning you r laptop into a proper and very precise touchscreen. And it’s not ju st restricted to tou ch and opening apps. You can pretty mu ch do everything with it – tap, swipe, pinch and zoom.
HTC U Ultra and Play:
Two new phones from HTC break the innovation bank open. The design is almost liqu id and flows with curves arou nd the ou ter body and display. Fou r brilliant colou rs, switchable optics from UltraPixel mode, custom
tuning of the audio to fit your specific hearing, built-in voice assistants that go one step ahead of Google and a new feature called HTC Sense Companion. The Ultra has a small second display on the top with a 5.7-inch 2560×1440 display and 4GB RAM, while the Play has some similar specifications.
This one is both a jaw-dropping and a Eureka moment. As you play around with Tanvas, the touchscreen simulates whatever is displayed on-screen including textures, shapes and even patterns. This amazing magic happens with haptics at a whole new level. It uses electrostatic fields to create friction that your finger can feel and decipher. Thus, you can feel textures, lines, waves and a whole lot more. Hope this gets adopted by all the big players soon.
Imagine a basket fu ll of clothes, all different and all as dirty as they can be. Ju st throw them into you r cupboard and go to work or for a movie. When you come back, the clothes have been washed, dried, ironed, folded, categorised and put in the right place in the cupboard. This is no pipe dream. Integrated with image analysis, AI and robotics as its core technology, this Landroid can do it all.
Xolo Era 2X:
Technically, Xolo Era 2X wasn’t launched at CES, ju st showcased in Las Vegas to a select few. Bu t it’s a game changer in its category of phones priced at 6K. A fingerprint scanner and great optics are u su ally reserved for phones over 10K, but this brings in all that plus a great looking form factor and marries it with powerful hardware and a 2500mAh battery. Few phones at CES can take on this economy champion.
Honda’s Self Balancer:
Autonomous cars have one big advantage. Because they have four wheels, they are well balanced. Moving towards an autonomous motorcycle, the balancing problem needs to be solved first. And Honda did ju st that with its new Riding Assistant technology that keeps you r bike balanced even when it’s moving at speeds less than three miles per hour. So the time isn’t far when you could ask your bike to come out of the garage all on its own and drive you to work while you read a newspaper.
The new add-ons for HTC Vive, the best VR system in the world, ju st took it to a new level. The Delu xe Au dio Strap is an au diophile-level headset-mou nted headphone system. The TPCast wireless adapter makes you r headset tru ly wireless as it connects to a PC, while the ViveTracker turns almost anything into a VR controller. Yes, that means you can u se it to tu rn you r own daily objects, a toy or even a real sword into a controller.
Toyota i stood out among the futuristic cars at CES because of the emotional connect. It does all the cool stuff like self-drive and connected mode, bu t it also prioritises user experience, combining AI driving and its own virtual assistant that learns the driver’s moods, needs and preferences, and acts accordingly. It’s also amazing looking.