The year has only just begun and the best gadget show of the year has already come to an end. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a global consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow that takes place every January in Las Vegas. The biggest names in tech descend on Sin City to unveil the latest wondrous and sometimes wacky gadgets.
Here are a few that caught my eye.
The new FF 91 – faster than a Tesla S in Ludicrous Mode?
Faraday Future unveiled its first production vehicle, the electric FF 91, at CES 2017. This comes a mere 12 months since Faraday announced its plans to flip the auto world on its head, and this year they brought along an actual car.
The FF 91 (“nine one”) is impressive, at least on paper. Its 130 kWh battery boasts a range of 378 miles and its motor 1,050 horsepower, and it’s able to do 0-60 mph in 2.39 seconds. That beats a Tesla, Faraday claims.
However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been promising an upcoming software update, which has already been pushed to some cars. This will enable an even quicker 0 to 60mph acceleration in the already “Quickest Production Car”, the Tesla Model S P100D Ludicrous.
The new mode is being referred to as “Ludicrous+” by Musk. It unlocks, purely through software, about 35 more horsepower in the 4-door sedan – for now a total output of ~573 kW (780hp).
As promised, it brings the 0-60 time down to 2.4 seconds from the previous 2.5 seconds, if you don’t round it up.
You have to activate the “warp speed” feature on the centre screen by holding down the ‘Ludicrous’ button on the settings page for 5 seconds and after the warp speed effect is gone, the following prompt will appear:
Back to the great features of the new FF91. The car has a panoramic glass roof and comfy interior. The roof, rear and side windows also dim and shade, providing privacy at the touch of a button. Great for all the wannabe celebs out there!
Of course, the FF 91 is connected, but not by satellite as yet. It also features facial recognition capabilities for unlocking without a key. Cameras inside the FF 91 will also recognize users and pull up preferences like seat position and ideal temperatures when they enter the vehicle. The FF 91’s doors will also open automatically and adjust to preferred settings if someone has an FF ID on them.
As with the Tesla, intelligent driving also features in the FF 91. It uses retractable LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and other cameras and sensors to correct driving decisions.
It also features an impressive Driverless Valet system which will park the car once the driver has stepped out of the vehicle. The FF 91 will also report to drivers at a specific time and pick up location as well, though this feature is limited to privately owned land until legislation catches up.
You can reserve a FF 91 now directly from the company for a refundable $5,000. Expectant drivers should start seeing their FF 91s pull up at the beginning of next year, or will they? There are persistent reports that the company is taking its last breath…
LG’s amazing ultrathin W7 OLED TV was the star of the Show
Just when you thought flat-panel TVs couldn’t get any thinner, lighter or better-looking, LG surprises everyone.
The all-new W7 OLED is like no TV you’ve ever seen. It can’t stand by itself on legs or a pedestal. Instead, it requires a wall. And when attached to that wall, it protrudes no further than a couple of coins stacked together, just 3.85 mm. That’s 0.15”, so thin you’d never notice it from the side.
The 65” model weighs just 8kg and the 77 inch weighs 12kg. That’s less than many 32” LCDs and light enough to attach just about anywhere, without worrying about in-wall studs or weight limits. LG includes a special flush-mounting plate, the top of which screws into the wall as usual, while the bottom sticks to the wall with magnets. It’s even flexible enough to peel slightly away, if for no other reason than to blow your visitors’ minds.
The TV will offer four types of HDR (HDR10, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log Gamma and a new technology called Advanced HDR from Technicolor) and will ship with a Dolby Atmos soundbar.
Besides offering object-based surround sound, the soundbar will also act as connection centre for the TV with four HDMI ports, an antenna-in jack and optical audio opt port.
Many of the products shown at CES are just concepts, but LG will begin shipping the 65” W7 OLED in March for $8,000 (roughly €7,500).
Underwater drone for hunting fish!
Robotics company PowerVision grabbed headlines last year with its PowerEgg which, true to its name, is a quadcopter shaped like an egg. Its latest robot doesn’t fly – it swims.
Designed for hobby fishermen, the PowerRay can dive 30 metres underwater for up to four hours to give you a view from its integrated 4K UHD camera using an app on any iOS or Android mobile device via Wi-Fi (presumably with the help of a floating antenna). The app lets you control the robot and its camera and gives you position information and other data to help you find fish.
Add on the PowerRay Fishfinder sonar system, and you’ll be able to detect fish up to 40m below the PowerRay. The Fishfinder has a built-in blue light to lure fish into view. You can also use an optional remote bait drop that comes with the PowerRay to attract fish. And, if you really want to immerse yourself in the underwater experience, PowerVision will have VR goggles that respond to head tilting. This will allow you to actually move the robot around so you can “look” up, down, left and right underwater, without getting wet.
A global pre-order for the PowerRay starts on 27th February, but pricing has not yet been announced. This would be a great gadget launched from a yacht for all sorts of purposes.
Kuri – the robot nanny with personality
Let me introduce Kuri. It’s more of a roving security cam with a bluetooth speaker than an always-listening, multi-purpose assistant, but Kuri’s advantage is its personality. It’s like a Pixar character as it wordlessly chirps and nods. Kuri was clearly designed to please the younger members of your family, while it helps you patrol the halls and keep an eye on your home. You will be able to use its camera to check on your pets when you’re away. It can send a notification if it spots the dog on the sofa, so you can yell at the dog using Kuri’s speakers. Kuri can also patrol your home using a predetermined route, letting you know if it spots something out of the ordinary, and it can use its motion and sound detection to hunt down any unusual occurrence and send you a recording.
Great new gadgets but, as always, do we really need them? Yes, of course we do!
Roger Horner of e3 Systems
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