Gadgets@CES 2021

Many companies virtually gathered to display their latest at the annual CES expo. CES 2021 did present a slew of gadgets and innovations and a little glimpse into the future. We present a few of them.

Mercedes-Benz MBUX Hyperscreen

The new Mercedes-Benz MBUX hyperscreen will soon be a necessity in automobiles. Planned for the EQS (an electric vehicle), it represents the emotional intelligence of the all-electric upper-class model. The large, curved screen unit stretches almost the entire width from the left to the right. Added to this is AI that makes personalised suggestions for numerous infotainment, comfort and vehicle functions.

"The MBUX Hyperscreen is both the brain and nervous system of the car", says Sajjad Khan, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG and CTO. "The MBUX Hyperscreen continually gets to know the customer better and delivers a tailored, personalised infotainment and operating offering before the occupant even has to click or scroll anywhere."

With the MBUX Hyperscreen, several displays appear to merge seamlessly, resulting in an impressive 141-centimetre wide and curved screen band. MBUX Hyperscreen also displays the GPS map information. The passenger also has its own display and operating area, which makes travel more pleasant and entertaining. It even has the ability to suggest about 20 functions from the active massage programme including birthday and anniversary reminders – a must for a married man.

A Smart Mask

Thanks to the ongoing pandemic our lifestyle has totally changed. In most countries it’s legally required to wear a mask. Catching on this necessity a few tech companies have ventured into this segment. Taking a lead Razer showcased a smart and socially friendly face mask. Project Hazel smart mask addresses the increased emphasis on hygiene and preparedness for unexpected health risks as well as the environmental issues of disposable masks, while enhancing the features of a multi-use personal protective covering. The mask concept design innovates with N95 medical-grade respirator protection using detachable and rechargeable active ventilators and Smart Pods that regulate airflow for optimal breathability. Its high bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) Smart Pods filter at least 95% of airborne particles. Interior lights activate automatically in the dark.

A new Razer VoiceAmp Technology (patent pending) uses a built-in microphone and amplifier to enhance the user’s speech for clear communication. Also the mask uses replaceable and rechargeable disc-type ventilators that can be conveniently sanitized of bacteria and viruses by placing it inside its dual-purpose wireless fast charging box with disinfecting UV-light interior. “Razer acknowledges the uncertainty in the road ahead, and so it was our duty to help protect our community members and prepare them from invisible threats,” said Min-Liang Tan, co-founder and CEO of Razer. “The Project Hazel smart mask concept is intended to be functional, yet comfortable and useful for interacting with the world, while maintaining a sociable aesthetic.”

Finally in 2021 we may see LG’s Rollable phone

Finally at CES 2021 we were able to see the LG Rollable albeit briefly demonstrating its unique resizable screen and LG confirmed it’s coming to market this year. The smartphone has a resizable screen that if required slides out into a bigger flexible OLED panel - a small tablet. LG first started working on the Rollable as part of the company’s “Explorer Project” experiments. LetsGoDigital had uncovered a patent filing for an LG rollable smartphone with an extendable display on both the left and right sides.

TCL and Oppo are also researching on expandable OLED display while Samsung and Huawei are focused on foldable devices. Only time will tell which is better/comfortable - a foldable device or a rolled-up one?

InstaView Door-in-Door system

LG InstaView Door-in-Door illuminates the refrigerator’s interior with just two quick knocks on the transparent glass while Door-in-Door reduces interior cold air loss by providing a convenient space to keep frequently accessed items handy. With a more immersive tinted glass panel in the 2021 refrigerator and 23 percent larger than previous models, seeing what’s inside is easier than ever.

These incorporate LG’s UVnano technology which harnesses the power of light to effortlessly and effectively maintain a hygienic and germ-free water dispenser tap. Also with voice recognition it makes time spent in the kitchen more productive and more convenient. No longer will shoppers have to struggle to open the refrigerator door with arms full of groceries when they can simply say, “open the refrigerator door” by voice.

Project Brooklyn gaming chair

The Project Brooklyn gaming chair concept design transforms from an ergonomic gaming chair into a full-fledged entertainment powerhouse that delivers breathtaking, next-gen immersion for both PC and console gaming. Built with carbon fiber and RGB lighting it transforms easily into a fully immersive gaming station complete with panoramic visuals from a 60” rollout display, riveting tactile feedback built into the seat, and 4D armrests that roll out into adjustable peripheral tables.

The adjustable platform on which the chair sits is complete with cable-routing and takes design cues from the Razer Raptor monitor. Mounted from the chair’s backbone and deployable with the touch of a button is a 60” full surround OLED display for stunning visual detail.

“Project Brooklyn is an exciting concept developed on the true essence of a fully immersive gaming station,” said Min-Liang Tan. “The haptic feedback, visuals and overall functional design with attention to ergonomics will deliver a one-of-a-kind gameplay experience.”

AkeruE: Creative Learning Experiences for Children

While Panasonic made several announcements at CES 2011, I was impressed by their social idea of opening of AkeruE, a new center dedicated to providing creative learning experiences for children. AkeruE is an expansion of RiSuPia, the science museum for the next generation of leaders. In 2006, Panasonic opened RiSuPia, a hands-on museum, with the goal to increase children's interest and curiosity in science and mathematics and to support the educational development of the next generation

AkeruE will deal with a wide range of crossover subjects in STEAM2 education. STEM education is an educational method by which students learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM education is sometimes amended to include the arts, and referred to as STEAM.

The name AkeruE refers to opening up (akeru in Japanese) the potential of children's intellectual curiosity and inspiring (Eureka4) them to take creative actions.

AkeruE provides children with hands-on learning experiences, and creating works and solutions. At AkeruE, Panasonic will offer opportunities for children to come up with new inspiration based on their curiosity and inquisitive minds.

ColdSnap Revolutionizes Ice Cream

Sigma Phase, Corp. was selected as a CES 2021 Innovation Honoree for the ColdSnap rapid freezing appliance that produces single servings of frozen confections and frozen beverages in less than 2 minutes.

The ColdSnap machine accepts shelf-stable, ambient temperature, ColdSnap pods – and then freezes and dispenses the contents of those ColdSnap pods in less than 120 seconds. No preparation of ColdSnap pods is required and no cleanup of the ColdSnap machine is necessary. ColdSnap makes single-servings of ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen coffee, frozen smoothies, frozen healthy shakes (frozen nutraceuticals), and frozen cocktails.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious CES award for our ColdSnap system,” said Matthew Fonte, President of Sigma Phase, Corp. “ColdSnap’s patented technology has the promise to disrupt the massive global ice cream market with its delicious, personalized, frozen confectionery experience. Our mission is to transform the way frozen confections are produced, transported, purchased, and enjoyed.”

Sony launches new speakers

Sony introduced the RA5000, a new speaker that can take advantage of Sony’s “360 Reality Audio” technology. If a song has a 360 Reality Audio mix, the speaker can fire different sounds out of different drivers (the part of a speaker that creates sound) to simulate a multi-speaker setup. The SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 are wrapped in a cloth cover with bronze or silver accents and speaker grilles. They offer a range of wireless connectivity, including Bluetooth, WiFi, Spotify Connect and Google Cast. With either the Google Home or Amazon Alexa app, you can setup units as part of a multi-room audio system. RA3000 speaker is humidity resistant, so you can place it in the kitchen or bathroom without worry.

V-Moda M-200 ANC Headphones

V-Moda a well-known audio brand and showed off its first Bluetooth active noise-canceling headphones. It features a heap of amenities, including 10 different levels of active noise cancellation and six distinct EQ presets that can be customized The Bluetooth headphones feature V-Moda’s unique hexigon-shaped ear cup, and their metal outer shields can be replaced as and when required. The cups themselves are made with 100% premium polyurhtine for extreme comfort, which is key during long listening sessions especially with work from home picking up globally. The M-200 ANC get up to 20 hours of music playback when noise-cancelling is enabled, and support fast charging.

Speakers on your spectacles

Now a pair of clip-on speakers that you can attach to any pair of glasses. JLab Audio's JBuds Frames are comprised of two independently operating Bluetooth true wireless audio devices, which can be affixed to the temples of sunglasses, eyeglasses, and similarly styled blue light blocking eyewear. The open-ear design of the JBuds Frames also allows the wearer to be acutely aware of their surroundings while listening to audio content in any activity – whether working from home to exercising outdoors, and offer an 8+ hour playtime. Two hooks secure the JBuds Frames to almost any type of eyeglasses, two sets of silicone sleeves ensure a tight fit on styles with smaller temples. The speakers, which each weigh 11.7 grams, have 16.2mm drivers and an IPX4 waterproof rating. JLab has priced JBuds Frames for $50.