It’s time for CES, also known as the Consumer Electronics Show. It is the largest tech trade show of the year, that happens the first week of January and lays the groundwork for trends, announcements, and ascendant product categories that will be seen throughout the rest of 2023.
The purpose of the show is to give us an early look at the latest developments in TVs and laptops, as well as useful (and sometimes intrusive) smart home gadgets, phones, monitors, cars, and smart toilets.
After a couple of unusual years, where the CES 2021 was online-only due to the pandemic, and CES 2022 saw just a quarter of the show’s typical attendance due to Omicron concerns, this 2023 finally feels again as the real tech experience full of excitement and expectation.
Let’s take a look at a few of the best new technologies of CES 2023!
Tech and beauty: L’Oréal Hapta
Rather than bringing a viral beauty gadget to CES, L’Oréal debuted an assistive lipstick applicator that will benefit millions. Hapta was developed in collaboration with utensil manufacturer Verily, which makes stabilizing and leveling cutlery for people with limited hand and arm mobility. The end result is a sturdy grip-and-gimbal system that allows those with limited finger dexterity or strength to apply lipstick more independently.
Though there are some kinks that need to be worked out before the Hapta is released in December, it’s impressive that this is a finished product with a relatively low suggested retail price of $150 to $200.
It’s also a device that caters to a frequently overlooked segment of the consumer population and can be expanded to work with more makeup applications.
Accessible gaming: Project Leonardo
Project Leonardo is Sony’s first gaming hardware designed specifically for people with limited motor control, and it also happens to look pretty cool.
Project Leonardo is a controller kit for the PlayStation 5 that includes two circular game pads with swappable buttons, third-party accessory ports, and other customizable inputs. The controllers can be used flat on a table or mounted on a standard tripod, and they can be paired with a DualSense to turn all three devices into a single gamepad, giving players a lot of options.
Sony collaborated with advocacy organizations such as AbleGamers and SpecialEffect to develop its new PS5 accessory, just as Microsoft did with the (wildly successful) Xbox Adaptive Controller. Project Leonardo is another step forward for accessibility technology in video games, a market that is full of surprises and poised for growth in 2023.
Health and Fitness: Valencell blood pressure monitoring prototype
Valencell has been producing optical heart-rate sensors for many years, but at CES 2023, the company unveiled a new fingertip monitor that provides “cuffless” blood pressure monitoring. Instead of a cumbersome inflating sleeve, this fingertip clip measures blood flow patterns with photoplethysmography (PPG) sensors.
This data is combined with algorithms and the user’s age, weight, gender, and height to generate a blood pressure reading that does not require calibration. Similar technology has been seen in earlier stages of development, but Valencell’s method of combining data makes for the most compelling device yet.
Depending on FDA approval, Valencell intends to offer the blood pressure monitor to clinics and hospitals, as well as an over-the-counter version for personal use.
The future of home theater: LG Signature OLED M3
LG unveiled several new OLED TVs at CES this year, but the Signature OLED M3, a 97-inch 4K monster, stood out. What’s most intriguing about the M3 isn’t its screen; it’s the technology inside.
The M3 is specifically designed to receive video and audio wirelessly, via a separate box that LG claims can be placed up to 30 feet away from the TV. The M3 is cable-free except for a power cord; instead, you plug your media streamers, cable boxes, or game consoles into the breakout box, and everything is beamed over a wireless link.
The company calls this wireless transmission technology “Zero Connect,” and claims it can provide three times the speed of WiFi 6. Among other connections, the Zero Connect box has three HDMI ports capable of playing 4K at 120Hz, as well as one eARC port.
Flexible laptops: Lenovo Yoga Book 9i
Lenovo could potentially shake up modern laptop design in a way we haven’t seen since the original Surface Pro a decade ago by removing the traditional, physical keyboard and replacing it with two 13.3-inch OLED screens on the Yoga Book 9i. While some issues will need to be worked out, the potential of this new design is undeniable.
When the Yoga Book is propped up on its kickstand, it transforms into much more than a standard clamshell. Depending on your needs, you can have two screens stacked on top of each other or side by side. Meanwhile, in standard laptop mode, you have the option of using a virtual or detachable Bluetooth keyboard, both of which have customizable widgets and built-in stylus support.
Traditional laptops simply cannot compete in terms of flexibility and adaptability. And, unlike previous overly ambitious concepts, this dual-screen notebook is actually coming out (sometime this spring for around $2,000), so we can see how it performs in practice.
Robot pets: KEYi Loona
Robot pets have historically been lacking in the cutesy department. Loona, KEYi’s futuristic companion, has the adorable thing covered with its big puppy dog eyes and wiggling ears. Loona is smart enough to scurry around your living space without collapsing against walls or falling off countertops, but its true magic lies in its expressiveness. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a small display, four wheels, and two “ears.”
Aside from her charms, Loona comes with sensors for responding to your voice, gestures, and touch, as well as a collection of games that turn the virtual pet into a clever companion. These same sensors enable her to be a capable home security bot as well as a STEM tool for kids, thanks to a graphical programming option for teaching Loona new “interactions.”
Put all of this together, and you have a capable home robot who also enjoys having its ears tickled. What’s not to appreciate about that?
Industrial wearables: German Bionic Apogee
The wearables this year go beyond the wrist-bound devices we’re used to seeing and places technology on your hips and over your shoulders. German Bionic’s new Apogee exosuit expands on the company’s previous CES-showcased Cray X exoskeleton, resulting in a lighter, smarter wearable.
The Apogee exosuit, designed for commercial use, assists workers in completing physical tasks while putting less strain on their bodies. With walking assistance, the suit can offset up to 66 pounds of load to the lower back per lifting motion, as well as help reduce fatigue overall.
This wearable is German Bionic’s lightest exosuit to date, designed to be worn for extended periods of time while assisting workers without impeding them. Furthermore, the company’s IO architecture continuously collects and analyzes data about workers’ activity while wearing the suit, allowing it to provide feedback via the onboard display or audio alerts when unsafe movements are detected.
It’s almost disappointing that the Apogee will only be available in warehouses and other commercial settings; several Engadget staffers with chronic back pain are eager to try it out.
One of the largest shows of the year is CES. It is held every year in Las Vegas and is attended by thousands of business and creative leaders from around the world.
It looks like by 2023, technology is focused on practicality and inclusion. As devices become smarter, we see the deployment of numerous tools to help people with disabilities to do everything from the simplest tasks to the usual day-to-day activities to be included in society, such as just playing video games.
On the other hand, we find how technology seeks not to replace humans in different roles, but to facilitate and streamline their work as symbiotic mechanisms with technological tools.
The wonders of technology will change our lives for the better if only we dare to leave fear aside.
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