CES 2022 'in person'
Published on: 19th January 2022
WE ACTUALLY ATTENDED
A week after we finally said goodbye to the tech-fest known as CES 2022 in Las Vegas we have managed to reflect on what we saw and thought we’d share some of the key observations we took away from our visit. Download the full report as a PDF here.
We realised very early on that our CES experience was being diluted by our FOMO on the parallel activities being shared by the virtual exhibitors so decided to ditch the phones and fully immerse ourselves in the physical world we had travelled to see.
The four of us who attended from DCA unanimously agreed that, compared to the online-only experience in 2021, there is no substitute to experiencing the 3-day event in person. Amongst many other benefits, it allowed us to physically experience new interactive technologies and appreciate the often subtle details on the vast array of interesting tech being showcased.
VR and AR have previously been dominated by a few key players but as we are gearing up for the Metaverse, we are seeing more and more companies stepping into the ring to clamour for what is being heralded as the future of digital interaction.
The long line for the BMW exhibit created a sense of anticipation which was really powerful and engaging. Animated visuals combined with audio effects composed by Hans Zimmer created a truly multi-sensory immersive space which was to become a persistent theme throughout the show.
PREPARE FOR THE METAVERSE
Whether integrated into the tech or just created to aid demonstration on the stand, digital avatars and AI humans featured heavily across the whole show.
BMW had setup a large immersive visual space on their stand where you could experience their iDrive world. This was one of the best adaptations of the Metaverse, why should it emulate the real world? It was so engaging and immersive that it was a shock when exiting into the real world of the show. If it had seats to relax on we may have never left.
Humanoid robots are nothing new but are becoming better and better. Although the facial expressions still tend to be a bit eerie, one of the most impressive features of Ameca was the fluidity of her movement and the level of sophistication in her AI. She was able to filter out and respond to questions in a crowd and her answers were natural and often humorous.
We also saw what may be considered more mundane utility robots such as the four wheeled robot called MobED that’s designed to carry, well, anything you like — from parcels to people; TV screens to trays of drinks. Four 12-inch pneumatic tyres can be controlled independently via a trio of motors at the end of each axle. A complex suspension system means its central platform can be tilted in any direction, letting MobED keep goods level when driving up or down a ramp and adjust the angle of its cargo (which would be handy if the robot is carrying a camera or screen).
The dynamically changing exterior decoration on this BMW is achieved with a complex lattice of E-Ink. This could be seen as a gimmick by some but it was definitely one of the most striking things at the show. Shifting from dark to light could have some benefits such as alerting other road users or could even be used for solar reflection/absorption. Damon motorcycles were also tackling adaptability, dynamically changing the riding position depending on the journey needs, upright for city riding and prone for higher speeds.
Experiencing travel in the several miles of tunnels created by Elon Musk’s Boring Company specifically for CES was a highlight that felt like a real step-change in the future of urban travel. Manned Tesla cars are soon to be fully autonomous.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a huge uplift in pet ownership so it is not surprising to see that there was a high proportion of pet tech products. Amongst these, we saw AI litter trays, dog nose print recognition and dog collars that monitor various inputs including breathing and heart rate of dogs. This category was previously considered gimmicky but is now well established and being taken far more seriously.
After almost 2 years of living in a pandemic, there was no doubt that hygiene was going to feature heavily at the show. We saw a multitude of air filters, UV sanitisers and even diagnostic machines that constantly monitored airborne viruses including Covid.
There seemed to be even more products in the sleep category than in the last two years, including smart mattresses, integrated ecosystems and pillows that turned your head to prevent snoring.
The category of sexual health has been growing for some time and CES saw a number of smaller companies introducing sex technologies for males including climax management and a connected ‘Stroker’. Satisfyer, the world’s largest sex toy manufacturer, had a large stand with the longest queue at the show to win a vibrator!
WHERE’S THE GREEN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION?
With sustainability high on the global agenda, we were surprised not to see more green tech being showcased, particularly in relation to domestic utilities. However, there were a handful of companies focusing on battery technologies and large scale electrical energy storage.
However, we saw some sustainability initiatives from Samsung including a remote control that employs radio frequency harvesting to gather the residual energy output from your home Wi-Fi router to charge a capacitor, meaning that you never have to change a battery ever again.
John Deere was also using a fully autonomous vehicle with AI technology to make some great strides in sustainability by maximizing land use. It is able to distinguish between weeds and crops so that it can accurately spray either pesticide or fertilizer at high speed.