Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 10th 2015 Contents SBG2 TECHNOLOGY
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JANUARY 10 • 2016
This year s CES gadget show, like ones
before it, showed off a mix of the
dreamy and the practical in technol-
ogy. Gadget prototypes promised us
fully autonomous vehicles carrying
commuters on the streets and in the
sky, while gizmos went on sale that aimed to solve
daily problems like restocking your fridge.
Here s a quick summary of the highlights of CES
Drones might no longer be just a toy for hobbyists
or weapons for the military. Chinese drone maker
Ehang Inc unveiled what it called the world s first
drone capable of carrying a human passenger, a four-
armed quadcopter with eight propellers that it said
has been on more than 100 test flights, including
some with a human passenger.
The idea is to set a course and then sit back for
about a 20-minute ride assuming, of course, that
regulators approve, which will probably be a long
Companies are making drones smaller and smarter
than ever for that high-tech selfie. Many can hover
and shoot up to 4K video, and several companies are
working toward including a "follow me" function
that would let drones fly along above or behind you,
shooting video all the way. Some such drones are so
small they fall under the minimum weight requiring
registration by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Automakers and parts suppliers took further steps
to make autonomous driving a reality. Quanergy, for
instance, announced a low-cost version of laser-
based sensors called Lidar that cuts the cost of out-
fitting autos with the technology to around US$1,000
per car from about US$70,000.
Israeli company Mobileye and German company
Here announced plans to start making super-detailed
road maps based on cameras and sensors that exist
in cars today. Those maps will help autonomous vehi-
cles navigate in poor weather. Owned by Audi, BMW
and Mercedes, Here said it plans to have detailed
maps of the highway networks in North America and
Western Europe by 2018.
Virtual and augmented reality
Some companies showed off technology that com-
bined augmented reality---which superimposes digital
images and text on the real world---and virtual reality
which blocks out the real world in a completely
immersive environment using a headset and head-
HTC says it s launching the latest version of its
Vive headset with a front-facing camera that allows
users to do real-life things like take a drink or sit
down without taking it off. A startup called uSens
showed off a prototype headset attached to a Samsung
Galaxy S6 smartphone that had forward-facing
infrared and optical cameras so wearers could use
their hands to manipulate virtual objects.
Google and Lenovo announced a consumer mobile
device would go on sale this summer that incorporates
technology from its depth-sensing Project Tango
robotic sight technology. That could make it easy to
do things like get turn-by-turn directions indoors
or measure dimensions in a room just by using the
device s cameras.
But the biggest news was the sticker-shock of
Oculus consumer version of its Rift headset, which
the company priced at US$599 --- or US$1,499 with
the high-powered computer necessary to make it
work. Facebook-owned Oculus began taking orders
Wednesday for delivery starting at the end of March.
More intelligent home appliances that can tell
people how well they re sleeping, order more dish-
washer detergent and know how much ketchup is
likely left in the bottle were among the gadgets on
display at CES.
Segway, the maker of the two-wheel transporters
popular with city tour guide companies, hopes that
by next year people might add a personal robot to
their homes to carry the groceries home.
That s if the milk, butter and bread weren t already
ordered and delivered with a touch of a button on
a fridge door, a technology unveiled by Samsung and
Companies are hoping new parents in the not-so
distant future won t just want to share photos of
their new arrival with Grandma. They might also
want to presage that with a clip of the baby s heartbeat,
while still in the womb.
Familial bonding now comes with plenty of Blue-
The newest baby monitors on display this week
come equipped with smile detection, in the case of
Motorola, or senses and records the baby s breathing
with First Alert s One Link system.
Most if not all are sold as consumer devices, steering
clear of any medical claims requiring FDA approval.
That includes a US$250 sock equipped with a pulse
oximetry device from Owlet. It can keep tabs on the
child s breathing and heartbeat with the aim of alerting
parents via their smart phones if either seems irreg-
TV makers like Samsung, LG, Sony, Hisense and
TCL touted a new standard for screens called HDR,
or high dynamic range, which show images with
higher contrast and more vivid colors. The new tech
creates another chicken-and-egg problem for the
TV industry, as only a handful of movies and TV
shows have been reissued in a format that takes
advantage of HDR.
There are also disparate standards that might end
up confusing consumers; some flavours of HDR are
branded "premium" while others only processed HDR
signals but don t relay all the benefits to the screen.
The Hexo+ Your Self-Flying Camera drone is on
display at the Hexo+ booth during CES International,
on Thursday, January 7, 2016, in Las Vegas. The fully
autonomous drone has no controller. Using a smart
phone app, the user selects how and from what
angle you want the drone to take video of you and it
will automatically follow you around with it's camera.
From the high-flying to the practical
steal the show
Links Archive January 9th 2015 January 11th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page