CES 2024 unwrapped: flying cars, AI mirrors, and the dawn of transparent TVs

Dive into the future at CES 2024: from AI-assisted snooze to sky-high commutes and transparent TVs – explore today's tech marvels and tomorrow's possibilities!

Over 130,000 techies and business leaders, 3,500 exhibitors, and 1,200 startups have taken over Las Vegas this week for CES 2024. You’ll need more than 20,000 daily steps to see everything in an event covering 2.4 million square feet. Predictably, this means queues for taxis, coffee, and restaurants in an event that feels more like a marathon measuring not just in distance but in the persistence and patience that it demands.

However, thanks to the wonder of technology, we can bring you the latest announcements and conversations from the show floor. CES is often criticized for showcasing shiny new solutions, looking for a problem that will never find the adoption it needs to succeed. But that doesn't stop crowds from finding the wow factor in the strangest of places.

From wow to why: the curious case of CES's eccentric innovations

Nearly 16 years have passed since Microsoft's former CEO, Steve Ballmer, mocked the concept of the expensive iPhone for having no buttons in a world dominated by the Blackberry keyboard. But in a move that would surely see Steve Jobs turning in his grave, Clicks for iPhone showcases a BlackBerry-style clicky keyboard at CES.

By removing the keyboard offscreen, the case helps users gain up to 50% more screen real estate. The company believes that some things are just better together. However, the jury still needs to decide whether there is an appetite for uniting touch and type outside of the show floors of the world's biggest tech event, especially when the cost for this journey back in time is $139.

Elsewhere, the Motion Pillow and the BMind Smart Mirror promise a unique blend of AI-driven solutions to common problems. The Motion Pillow employs an AI Motion System to tackle snoring. Although it's aimed at solving a frustrating problem, it also raises the question if we are becoming dependent on technology for basic bodily functions like sleeping.

On the other hand, the BMind Smart Mirror, a CES 2024 Innovation Award winner, is designed to bolster mental wellness. Using generative AI and NLP, it reads the user's mood, offers personalized mental wellness activities like guided meditations and light therapy, and provides on-demand mental wellness support.

However, there are concerns about privacy and the psychological impact of having a device constantly analyze and respond to our emotional states. Additionally, the effectiveness of AI in accurately assessing and improving mental health is still debatable. Many will also question a device offering affirmations on demand when we should arguably seeking such validation from within.

The future is clear: LG and Samsung unveil transparent TVs

LG unveiled a 77-inch wireless, transparent television akin to a clear pane of glass that, when inactive, introduces an unparalleled level of aesthetic integration into living spaces. Its ability to remain see-through, simulate a window playing media, or deploy a background filter for a more conventional viewing experience offers versatility unseen in current TV models.

Not to be outdone, Samsung also unveiled its transparent display. Unlike LG's OLED T in their OLED TV lineup, Samsung's offering leverages Micro LED technology, promising crisp, clear visuals on a glass-like display. Will this trend be a hit away from the show floor of CES? Maybe it will. After all, nothing screams "classy" more than a 77" transparent TV with a fish tank screensaver.

If you’re more interested in size than gimmicks when choosing a new TV, check out the colossal 115-inch MiniLED Quantum Dot TV from TCL, the 115QM89. The larger-than-life television set boasts 20,000 local dimming zones and 5,000 nits of peak brightness. This behemoth TV is equipped with Quantum Dot technology and will set you back a cool $20,000.

With a 120Hz QLED display panel, enhanced to 144Hz with Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and an anti-glare screen coating, it promises a smooth and immersive viewing experience. It's also integrating IMAX Enhanced technology, an ATSC 3.0 tuner for Next-Gen TV broadcasts, and a built-in 6.2.2-channel Dolby Atmos speaker system with a subwoofer. Maybe TV is not dead after all, but one thing is for sure: you’re going to need a bigger house.

Merging roads and skies: latest innovations in flying and electric vehicles

CES has also featured an array of concepts like the Pal-V Liberty, Electrafly, and Aska's flying car. Several firms, including Archer Aviation, Joby Aviation, and Eve Air Mobility, are progressing towards the goal of personal flying vehicles. Major automakers like GM, Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda have shifted focus from traditional flying cars to something akin to compact helicopters, a trend also embraced by Subaru with its Air Mobility Concept in Tokyo.

The latest entrant in this burgeoning field is Hyundai's Supernal S-A2 eVTOL concept. This electric vertical takeoff and landing craft, an evolution of the 2020 SA-1 model, is designed to carry five individuals (four passengers and a pilot), reaching speeds of 120 mph at altitudes of 1500 feet with a range of 20 to 40 miles.

Back down on the ground, it was all about EVs on the show floor, with announcements from Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Google. Mercedes-Benz stepped into the future with its AI-powered virtual assistant, promising to revolutionize in-car experiences with natural, empathetic interactions, advanced infotainment, and comfort features.

Honda unveiled its Zero Series EV concept cars, the "Saloon" and "Space-Hub." These models, aiming for a 2026 launch in North America, are designed to be lightweight and efficient, featuring a minimized battery size. Honda also introduced a new "H mark" logo, symbolizing its commitment to the next generation of electric vehicles.

Elsewhere, Google's collaboration with automotive giants like Ford, Nissan, Lincoln, and Porsche introduces pre-installed apps such as Google Maps and Assistant in various car models, marking a significant step towards more connected and intelligent vehicles. These advancements from CES depict a future where cars are not just modes of transport but sophisticated, interconnected hubs of personal technology.

Will our future be filled with flying cars whizzing past transparent TVs while AI pillows gently nudge us to stop snoring? Or will we find ourselves nostalgically yearning for the days when a TV was just a TV, and the only thing flying through the air was a frisbee, not a personal eVTOL? These are just a few questions from one day at CES.

The future of technology is not just knocking on our doors – it's already redecorated the living room and is now casually sipping a digital latte on our bright couches. So here's to the wild, inventive, and sometimes bewildering world of CES, where the only thing longer than the queues are the leaps of imagination. We’ll be back soon to explore how AI everywhere is dominating conversations on the show floor at CES 2024.

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