The world of technology is a funny one. For the most part, when changes happen they are iterative – a few minutes extra battery here, a slightly bigger and brighter screen there. But sometimes technology comes along that blows our tiny minds. No, we aren’t talking about Dion Dublin’s The Dube but the delights that were unveiled at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
CES, to give it its hip-hop name, is an expo in Las Vegas where the world’s mightiest tech giants show up to reveal just what gadgets they have been working on for the past year. For 2022, things are a little different. Because of Omicron the halls are half-deserted, as will ‘gentleman’s club’ Sapphire be no doubt, with most companies revealing their new kit online.
So while we can’t actually be there to get hands on with the following things, they are still a stunning showcase of futuristic gadgets that we will all be able to (hopefully) buy in the near future.
1. BMW’s new car changes colour in seconds
This is superb. BMW has used E Ink – the same stuff that powers your Kindle – to create a car that can change, in seconds, its colour from white to black. It’s developed a specially designed body wrap that has the technology built in, that changes colour depending if a positive or negative charge is pumped into it. BMW isn’t planning to sell the car (it’s a concept right now) but you could see it on a street near you, no doubt with advertising slathered over it, in the near future.
2. Time to ditch your cans for some invisible earphones
Noveto is a tech company that knows a thing or two about sound. So much so it has developed Smart Beaming, technology that pipes audio straight at you that no one else can hear.
“Like having invisible headphones, standing in front of the N1 smart speaker, the sound is coming to you, magically beamed just outside of your left and right ears; you feel immersed in the sounds, having a very unique experience rather different from other audio technologies,” says its makers. The device looks like a desktop speaker, but the experience is very different. We know Turtle Beach has also developed something similar but this one looks like it will actually come to market.
3. There are now TVs made of… gold
It’s only been two years since luxury TV manufacturer Loewe was re-released in the UK and since that time it has jumped into the wonderful world of OLED. Now, for its 99th birthday – yep, the brand is that old given it created the first electronic TV – it is creating just 99 units of its Loewe bild s.77 edition and they are made out of gold… well gold plating. The unit comes with a gold-plated Loewe signature badge, a gold-plated Loewe signature flag and a gold-plated Loewe signature ring made of solid brass. Each TV will have a serial number, so you know which one of the batch you got. The TV is OLED and also comes with a 120 Watt soundbar.
4. This is a projector you can take ANYWHERE
The Freestyle by Samsung is (finally) a projector you can use in your home without being outed as a pretentious cineaste that fancies themselves as the next Tarantino. The Freestyle is a compact projector that’s packing some decent imaging power – it’s Full HD and can create a screen up to 100 inches. It’ll automatically focus for you and make sure you are always watching in 16:9. It can rotate 180 degrees which isn’t full Exorcist but does mean you can project on the ceiling if you want to – the press release doesn’t explain why you would want to do this but it’s almost definitely a sex thing. You can also take it with you and set it up in seconds wherever you are, thanks to its battery pack.
5. Foldable laptops? Pah. Now it’s all about foldable laptop screens
A laptop that folds!? Wow, that really is the future! Alright smart-arse, yes all laptops fold but this one by Asus goes one further and has a foldable screen. The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED isn’t just a mouthful to say but a laptop so cutting edge you’ll slice your finger on the thing. It has a 17.3” Foldable OLED (FOLED) touchscreen when it’s completely outstretched. Use it as a boring old laptop then the screen is actually 12.5 inches.
6. This remote control hates batteries, charges by Wi-Fi
Samsung doesn’t just make big ol’ TVs and smart, er, phones. It also innovates in other ways, like what it has done to the humble remote control. The Samsung Eco Remote has a solar panel which means you can charge the thing when you are outside galavanting in the local meadow but that’s not really that exciting. But there is another way you can charge the remote – and that is by using your Wi-Fi, utilising the radio waves that your router emits. Before you go reaching for your tin hat, these radio waves are harmless to us sacks of meat.
7. Sony’s latest VR headset will give you all the feels
Sony has revealed more details about its PlayStation VR2 headset – which will be available for the PS5 – and it sounds incredible. We would show you a picture but Sony hasn’t released one yet (do take a look at its fancy controller, though). But we do know that, thanks to eye tracking, headset feedback and 3D Audio it will be one of the most immersive gaming experiences ever. It won’t beat GoldenEye 007 on the N64, obviously, but it should still be fun.
8. You can now really box in the virtual world
You too can pretend you are a YouTube millionaire and take up the noble sport of boxing, thanks to LiteBoxer VR. According to its makers, you can “enter a virtual boxing ring for a full sensory workout without ever leaving your living room.” It looks like a lot of fun with the service offering up real-life coaches to help you become the next Rocky Balboa and also the opportunity to beat up your friends and family in that metaverse. Personally, we want to punch anyone who uses the word metaverse, so this is the perfect game for us.
9. LG’s media chair is the ultimate home cinema recliner
We’ll admit, when you are relaxing in the LG Media Chair it does look like you are a hamster trying to tackle a wheel but this marvellous media setup comprises a 55-inch OLED TV that rotates to offer you the perfect viewing angle when you recline in the oh-so comfortable chair. The screen also rotates to portrait so it’s pretty much the ultimate way to scroll through TikTok. It’s concept right now, but LG is apparently speaking to a massage chair specialist to try and bring the thing to market.
10. These glasses are like wearing a cinema on your face
Strap the new NXTWEAR AIR glasses to your face and it will be like watching a 140-inch cinema screen from 4 metres away. No, we can’t quite believe it either but TLC, the makers of the glasses, note that “NXTWEAR AIR untethers users from offices, living rooms and small airplane screens, freeing them to enjoy their content – perfect for commuters, anyone travelling for work, or on a flight.” Which is pretty much nobody right now, but we like the idea of them and can’t wait to use them in 2042 when Covid is all over and we all start commuting again.