Well, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has come and gone, and as usual there were acres of displays showing the kinds of things we can expect in gadgetry this year, and perhaps for the next few.
Here are ten things which caught our eye.
Hover Camera Passport drone
Yes, yes, yes, there are selfie drones galore. But what we liked about the Hover Camera Passport selfie drone was its relative safety. We know that it’s hard to do much damage with small drone rotors, but they are nonetheless scary and could certainly hurt someone’s eye. The Passport’s four rotors are encased with grilles.
It also folds up more conveniently than most, can track you through the air, will fly for up to ten minutes and has a 13 megapixel camera capable of recording up to 4K video.
Samsung’s Frame TVs
Our colleague Valens spotted this one: Samsung is resurrecting the “Frame TV”. We remember reviewing TVs ages ago – must have been about ten years ago – which had a bunch of built in famous paintings, and we’re pretty sure they were Samsung models. That fell away for some reason, but now it’s coming back.
The difference is, with UltraHD displays, enormously improved colour and black levels, and much lower energy consumption, we can see that as now being both viable and attractive.
LG OLED W7 Signature TV
Also years ago, Samsung also experimented with another exciting TV: a model consisting of a single 8mm thick panel, connected to all its electronics by a single cable. It had its problems, to be sure, but what great promise it had. However, it was dropped rather than improved.
The same concept is appearing with LG’s top of the line OLED, the W7 Signature TV. But instead of 8mm thick, the panel is only 2.57mm thick. Wow! Again, the trick is outsourcing everything except the picture to an external box (in this case, a Dolby Atmos-capable sound bar). We can’t wait to get one of these in, although we expect they’ll be terribly fragile.
The Mayfield Robotics Kuri
We’ve noticed that the new generation of home robots – perhaps we should say the forthcoming first generation of usable home robots – tend to have eyes that blink, giving them a little bit of seeming personality. And so it is with the Kuri by Mayfield Robotics.
This little beauty looks like a cross between a snowman and a penguin. These 50cm tall robots glide around the house, keeping an eye on things. They can send video when you’re away, recognise that someone’s an intruder, carry your music around the house with you and act as a voice interface to the Internet. Apparently they can even read stories to the kids. But they won’t sweep the floor and wash the dishes. Maybe the second generation version.