I've never been bowled over by the burst of robotic products, most of which fall into the real of mature toys, though some companies are trying to build in useful applications. LG, for instance, has had its CLOi line of robots to provide services -- some worthwhile, some seem mostly for show -- but they're expanding the capabilities, notably in the CLOi Table line. They had a robot that could make coffee and pour it, and another (more useful) that picks up dishes and washes them.
On the toy end, but very impressive technology, Omron developed a robotic arm with AI (artificial intelligence) that can play ping pong with you -- and rate your game. I watched it in action, and it works, though it clearly has limitations in its game. Though in fairness, so do most players...
IMAX had a big demo presentation for "The Most Immersive At-Home Theater Experience." (By the way, "immersive" was a big word at CES this year.) It was good, but they never really did an effective job explaining why getting a top-of-the-line big screen TV and great speakers wouldn't do pretty much the same thing. Some of their content with high-end partners was described as "digitally remastered," but most content I see on high-quality 4K OLED TVs these days looks pretty great.
Samsung has a 4K TV that turns into an art frame when off. You can subscribe to their art service of 1,200 artworks for $5/month, or buy single images for no more than $20 each.
Bosch received a CES Innovation Award for their glassless 3D touch-screen car dashboard. But here's a sort of scoop -- it was actually made by that wonderful company I've been writing about for seven years, Stream TV Networks! Bosch and Stream TV are working together on projects, and Bosch bought one of the dashboard screens from Stream TV and just didn't mention that when they entered it for an award. I found this out when meeting with the Stream TV Network folks. They found it a bit "amusing," though hoped to correct the oversight. (And when I brought it up to a technician at the Bosch booth, he sheepishly acknowledged it, as well.)
By the way, Stream TV Networks made some huge strides for getting to market, not just with glassless 3D TVs, but also other products. I can't use the names, since the deals haven't been announced yet, but there are about a half-dozen or more that they're working on. One example is that they're developing glassless 3D screens for phones, tablets and a TV for one of the world's biggest manufacturers of phone and tablets. (I was given permission to say that.) And they're developing a 75" screen for the largest manufacturer of TVs in China..
To give Bosch its due, they did also have a product that caught my eye which they insisted had been developed "100% in-house." It replaced the visor in a car with a transparent LCD panel that used AI. The quick version is that it studies shadow patterns on the driver's face and can block the blind spots that the sun creates and let the driver see through. So, rather than using a visor that limits a driver's vision, this expands it significantly.
Perhaps the more remarkable product I came across was one from (of all companies) Delta Airlines, who is developing it with a company named Misappliedscience. It's hard to describe, but I'll try. It allows airport travelers to see their travel information tailored for their own preferences in their own language displayed on message boards. No special glasses are needed. There are a variety of ways that a traveler can be identified with this technology, but Delta is using when you swipe your boarding pass. There are also overhead cameras than help identify the person. (As I said to the Delta tech rep, this is both incredibly cool and a bit creepy. What she made clear is that a person can opt of of this when its operational.) The company will be testing it at Detroit Airport this summer with 100 people. There was an extensive demo of the technology, but as much as I was interested in seeing it, the line was incredibly loooooooooong, and I pass it by.
I don't tend to write much about computers anymore -- but every once in a while something comes along that's different and stands out. Lenovo's Lavie Pro Mobile laptop is one such. That's because it's just incredibly, almost shockingly light. (As the vendor noted, people often ask if it's just a demo model with nothing inside.) It has a 13.3" screen, 8 gigabyte of RAM and 256 GB SS (Solid State) drive, a big reason it's so light. It can be configured for 5G connectivity or 4G -- or just WiFi. And it only weighs 1.85 pounds. Seriously impressive, especially if you happen to be someone carrying around a laptop for six hours at a trade show. This comes at a cost, though -- it will be priced around $1,600. They expect to have it available in March.
(I also saw what appears to be also as small and light a "clamshell" laptop from HP, their Spectre X360, which received a CES Innovation Award -- but since it was in the Innovation Showcase display case, I didn't have a chance to hold it, or ask a company rep.)
And Lenovo also had another unique laptop -- the ThinkPad X-1 Fold. As the names implies, this is a laptop with a foldable screen When folded, the device is very small, but unfolded the screen is full-size. You can either display an "icon-based" keyboard that you tap on (like a mobile phone has) that appears on the lower half of the fold, or use the full screen and connect a small, portable keyboard that comes with it. It will be available in mid-2020 and will be quite expensive. The base configuration with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SS drive will be around $2500, with prices up from there from higher configurations.
I also headed back to that Eureka Park area for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small overseas companies, and came across a couple of products from the always-large La French Tech contingent. The first was an appliance that impressed me, but would have written about it even if I wasn't, since the product's name was "Bob." It's a portable dishwasher, about the size of a large microwave. It's for small apartments or an office. It weighs 22 pounds, holds two place-settings of dishes, and is very eco-efficient, only used half-a-gallon of water for its "fast cycle" of 20 minutes. It can be hooked up to a water line, like a normal dishwasher, but you can also add water manually, and then drain it in the sink. It will be available in France this September, with U.S. pre-orders starting in May and availability here in late-2020 or the beginning of next year. It will sell for around $400.
And as a final word, I have an update on the Lexilens I wrote about the other day. That's the eyeglasses that deal with addressing dyslexia. I only saw a sample behind a case at the CES Innovations Award Showcase, but I happily ran into their booth at the La French Tech. The glasses seem to be for real. There were two years of research done with them, and then a test study with 200 kids done in labs, as well as at their schools and at play. And they have a worldwide patent on the Lexilens. The short version is that people with dyslexia see mirror images of letters, and these glasses are able to identify the mirrored letters and filter them out. There are many different kinds of dyslexia, but all have a certain foundation, and the most common kind affects 80% of those with the condition, so this would work for them. The company says it's continuing to work on the other 20%, but even those people should see at least some benefit. It appears to be quite a remarkable product -- they showed me a product reel with testimonials from users, and the rep showed me a video he made on his phone that morning from someone with dyslexia who saw their booth and stopped by. The expression on his face said almost more than his words. You can check out their website here -- and this is that product reel.
And that's it for now with CES 2020. Now, I get to put all these notes together and far more and hopefully make sense of it all for my normal, much-too-long wrap-up of the show...