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New Technology

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW

2016

By SCOTT L RINDENOW AND ROBERTA DACKS Last week, we attended the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2016 which wrapped up January  9th in Las Vegas.  It was the most expansive CES, breaking records across the board and providing opportunities for companies big and small to launch innovation to the world market.  More than 3,800 exhibitors unveiled their latest technologies at venues all over Las Vegas. CES showcased the latest wave of products and technologies that are connecting the world, enhancing lives and solving global challenges. Over 170,000 industry professionals attended the show.  Like every CES, there was a mix of amazing, intriguing and downright ridiculous technology. Technology now touches every facet of our lives, from providing an immersing home theater environment, to improving our workouts and the way we sleep, to keeping us safe on the roads and in our homes and even preventing or treating illnesses. One of the great things about the annual trade show is that it helps set our expectations for technology in the coming year. This show this year the big push was on Virtual Reality, Autonomous Vehicles, Drones, 3D Printers, Talking Everything, Wearable Technology, Fitness Trackers, 4K UHD TV, HDR TV, OLED TV, Home Security, Robots and Technology that Connects. Some of the more “unusual” tech products at the show were such items as a Bluetooth- Connected Pregnancy Test, a WiFi Digital Spoon, the world’s first Laundry Folding Robot, A WiFi Connected Refrigerator with internal cameras so you can check your frige from the grocery store, a Connected Rubber Ducky, the Smart Bra and lots of Aroma Enhanced Products. TV TECHNOLOGY At CES 2016, a lot of the news and push involved TVs. There were televisions with brighter images that really pop thanks to high dynamic range (HDR) technology, the advent of 4K Blu-ray players, and new competition in the small but growing OLED TV business where Samsung has designed a TV that is impressive with its amazingly true-to-life colors. ATSC 3.0, which will eventually be the new digital broadcast standard for over-the-air TV reception is something to watch because, at some point, the standard will be rolled out and the tuner in your current TV will no longer work. How long it will take is still a question, as standards still have to be finalized and broadcasters will need to upgrade their equipment and existing infrastructure. Among the benefits of ATSC 3.0 are the ability to handle 4K broadcasts, greater interactivity and the ability for signals to be sent to both fixed and mobile devices simultaneously.  LG and Samsung are the real giants of the global TV marketplace, and both showed exceedingly cool, highly compelling takes on how big-screen TV tech could evolve over the next few years. LG's  18 inch rollable OLED TV takes TV technology to places no screen could fit before. The ultra-thin display acts more like a piece of paper than a television yet maintains an amazing picture. It's easy to imagine rolling it up to hide away when it's not in use, moving it around the house to watch anywhere, or sliding rolled-up into a bag to take on vacation. The obvious next step is making it bigger. Now, the average TV buyer is always going to be overwhelmed by the gaggle of new specifications and terms and fancy technology descriptions that TV makers cook up to justify higher prices. CES 2016 throws even more into the mix. The best thing about the upcoming arrival of 4K UHD Blu-ray players may be that it has helped push the industry toward finalizing UHD standards, including those for high dynamic range (HDR).  HDR is the term used to describe a wider range between the whitest whites and blackest blacks in an image, so contrast is significantly improved. Television manufacturers cite studies indicating that, for most people, HDR and a wider range of colors are more noticeable than increased resolution.  HDR signifies improved content on TV shows and movies. It is not just more pixels, but better pixels. The HDR TV’s I've seen are very impressive.  Very few of the TVs sold last year can play back HDR content, but in 2016 most of the major-brand TVs with 4K resolution are HDR compatible. Now you see it, now you don't. Transparent TV technology has been around for a few years, but Panasonic's prototype this year showed how it can fit into your home decor. The wood frame around the TV shoots micro LEDs onto the glass when in use. When the screen is off, the glass becomes transparent. TVs take up a lot of wall space, so it would make sense to have a display that could disappear when you're not using one. HIGHSPEED INTERNET Today, we have a choice between cable broadband Internet, DSL Internet over your phone line, which is slow and Satellite Internet. Soon, a new technology will be coming that will offer Fiber- like speeds right over your phone line. It's called G.Fast, and Israeli chipmaker Sckipio is showed off the powerful technology at CES this year. In a demonstration, they showed off download speeds of nearly 750 megabits per second traveling over a standard phone line. That's 50 times faster than the broadband that you probably have coming into your home right now. This technology will greatly enhance the ability to stream content throughout the home. The promise of G.Fast is to offer an alternative to your broadband company. The technology will give your telephone provider the ability to offer even faster speeds than cable. The G.Fast technology will debut in the United States later this year.  VIRTUAL REALITY In the increasingly popular Virtual Reality world, GameFace Labs makes a self-contained VR headset, meaning it doesn’t need to be attached to an external computer like Oculus or other headsets that require a high-powered gaming rig. GameFace Lab’s first device will ship in 2017 DRONES Drones have taken an important position at CES given the rising popularity of these devices. Drones with 4K video-recording cameras were the rage. Chinese company DJI, which has earned quite a reputation for itself with its Phantom and Inspire Drones showcased the new Phantom 3 4K which comes with a 4K camera and Live HD feed. The EHang 184 is a human-sized drone built by the Chinese UAV company EHang. It is an autonomous drone that will be able to carry a single passenger for 23 minutes at a speed of 60 MPH. The 184 also has gull-wing doors and arms that fold up. AUTO TECHNOLOGY Car manufacturers have dominated this year’s show, with Toyota, Volkswagen, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler all bringing futuristic cars to the show. These cars aim to drive themselves and are filled with touch screens permanently connected to the internet. Ford set an ambitious target of having an autonomous vehicle on the road by the end of 2016.  Technology companies including Apple, Uber and Google are all that believe they can beat Detroit in the race to a fully robotic car. In the category of unusual events taking place at the show, a Chinese manufacturer’s booth was raided by US marshals in a crackdown on patent-infringing hoverboards. The raid, which led to the confiscation of the self-balancing, one-wheel Surfing Electric Scooters, signs, branding and show-floor stalls. As we all know, the stealing of intellectual property is not a victim-less crime.