New laptops, TVs and smart speakers are the usual suspects at CES 2024, the world's largest consumer electronics trade show. But this year's show also highlights how people are increasingly craving niche devices, how much we long for the past, and how AI (particularly in the form of ChatGPT and similar generative AI chatbots) is becoming more integrated into our lives.
This is what fascinates us at CES 2024. We'll bring you more news about the best tech highlights we come across.
Stained glass receives a new strength for life
Do you think you know what solar panels look like? This thing captures the energy of light.
Solar panels are great—they generate electricity from one of the most abundant resources we have, and they pay for themselves quickly—but no one has ever called them “pretty.” No fear! The Japanese company inQs has found a way to make solar cells out of colored glass. The company exhibited a number of objects at CES 2024, including a stained glass panel that generates electricity. The devices were small – and one could only power a table fan, but we like that it hints at a rethinking of how solar panels look and work.
Covering up strange-looking things is a running trend at CES, like LG's ArtCool air conditioners, and this year users can put art into a smart speaker with the Samsung Music Frame.
Hey Ida, which is better: Alexa or Siri?
AI is already omnipresent here at CES 2024 – expanding the list of products that will be used in our cars. Volkswagen has announced a deal with ChatGPT that will allow users to ask questions about their car, just like a traditional digital assistant. Right now, users can say “Hey Ida” for normal things like checking tire pressure, but the car isn't able to answer more complex questions like “When did the New York Jets last win the Super Bowl?” If the car's assistant cannot answer the question, under the new contract it will forward everything to ChatGPT. (Yes, they won one. But that was a very, very long time ago.)
It's worth noting that competitors like Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri have been filling these queries natively for many years, so working with ChatGPT is an easier way for VW's Ida to catch up.
This transparent display, which currently features fish, converts into a 77-inch television.
Must be transparent TV
TVs are getting larger every year, meaning a larger panel of black plastic takes up a large portion of the living room wall when not in use. But what if we could make it disappear without actually ripping it off the wall?
Samsung has apparently done exactly that. The company is unveiling the first transparent version of its Micro LED display technology at CES 2024. While transparent OLED and even LCD-based screens have been around for some time, transparent micro-LEDs look the best in terms of brightness and color, CNET's David Katzmaier reported.
Samsung says its Micro LED display technology produces brighter, clearer images and is more transparent than mainstream technology. But Samsung says its transparent micro-LED technology isn't available on the market, so what Katzmaier saw (or didn't see?) is essentially a concept.
LG also took part with a transparent OLED screen that could be transformed from an “aquarium” into a 77-inch television (pictured above).
Samsung will unveil the smart home helper at CES in Las Vegas this week.
A 2 minute ice cream maker
Coming soon to a restaurant near you: freshly made ice cream, ready from start to finish in just 2 minutes.
We loved trying Quick ColdSnap's vanilla ice cream – first in 2021 and then again this year. Unfortunately, we're still a year away from purchasing one of these innovative ice cream machines for the home, but the company came to CES this year with news that its restaurant partners will be receiving the machines much sooner.
The countertop ice cream maker uses pods to prepare a bowl of the cold ice cream in less than two minutes. The finished result has a gelato-like consistency that kept us wanting to try more every time we passed the ColdSnap stand.
We scream for ice cream.
Robotic Stain Fighter
We start with a product that ensures cleanliness in the truest sense of the word. The new Bespoke Jet Bot AI Plus intelligent robot vacuum cleaner can do more than just sweep up dust bunnies and dog hair; It's designed to roam your rooms looking for stains as they arise and then remove them so you don't have to.
And as the name suggests, the robot uses AI-powered object recognition to detect stains on carpets, rugs, and hard floors. And yes, it can tell the difference between surfaces and presumably adjust its clean technology accordingly. You can also tell this $1,000+ household helper where it can and can't go, as it attacks stains like nasty puppy stains or a Zinfandel spill with a rotating mop that reaches 170 revolutions per minute.
Not only does AI help keep your floors clean, it also ensures your teeth are as clean as possible. The Oclean digital toothbrush
It also has Wi-Fi connectivity so you can pair it with your home network, and it saves information about your brushing history until you can download it to your app. It also offers 40 days of battery life through wireless charging. It will go on sale in the US this fall for $130. (International pricing wasn't immediately available, but that's about £100 or AU$190.)
What is old is new
If you consider yourself an old-school smartphone user, you might find yourself longing for the physical keyboards that used to come with phones. The iPhone's on-screen keyboard replaced the full-fledged physical keyboards that were popular on BlackBerry devices.
The Clicks Keyboard from Clicks Technology transforms your iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max with a keyboard that is actually built into a wraparound case. This $139 case slides onto your device and runs on the phone's battery, so no charging is required.
What if your smartwatch could also control your lights, your Netflix programs, and more?
It's all in the watch remote control
Imagine controlling everything around you with your wrist. By clicking here you can turn off the lights or scroll through what's on Netflix. Finnish startup Doublepoint has developed software that can turn an Android watch into a general-purpose controller for any device via a Bluetooth connection.
The software will come to developers in the first half of this year, but it will be up to developers and app makers to decide what a small gesture, such as tapping your fingers or turning your wrist, actually does.
Look at that: LG Transparent OLED transforms from television into animated art