CES 2022, the world’s biggest, most influential technology show, returned to Las Vegas this week with a host of innovations – ranging from vehicle technology, artificial intelligence, digital health and smart home tech, to new categories such as NFTs and food tech.
The technology show, which is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), runs through 7 January. “At CES 2022 this week, we will be immersed in the innovation that will reshape our societies and solve fundamental human challenges in the decades to come,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA said in a press note. “With innovations in AI, digital health, transportation, drones, smart cities, digital assets, space tech and more – these technologies are making us better – improving what we as human beings are capable of doing.”
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Despite many big names dropping out from the in-person event due to the covid-19 pandemic, the show is featuring more than 2,300 exhibiting companies, including 800 startups, this year. CES has always pushed the envelope when it comes to ground-breaking technology. Here's a look at some early highlights and launches.
BMW’s SUV can change colours
BMW debuted a concept vehicle – the BMW iX Flow – which uses electrophoretic technology to bring different colour pigments to the car’s surface, causing the body skin to take on different shades of black and white. According to an official release from the BMW Group, the innovative “E Ink” technology, which replaces regular car paint, provides new ways of changing the vehicle's appearance in line with the driver's aesthetic preferences, environmental conditions or even functional requirements.
The changing colours and shades will have a direct impact on the interior of the car and its efficiency. A white surface, the release explains, reflects a lot more sunlight than a black one. Heating of the vehicle and passenger compartment as a result of strong sunlight and high outside temperatures can be reduced by changing the exterior to a light colour. In cooler weather, a dark outer skin will help the vehicle to absorb noticeably more warmth from the sun, the release adds. According to a Bloomberg report, the iX Flow is based on the electric iX SUV that BMW debuted in 2021.
A ring to monitor all your activities
The France-based startup Circular showcased its Circular Ring at CES this week. This body-monitoring device is envisioned as a daily companion that can tell its wearer a daily "energy score" based on the intensity of their activity, factoring in heart rate, body temperature, blood oxygen levels and other data, an AFP report explains.
“We want to democratize personal health,” Amaury Kosman, founder of the French startup said in the AFP report. “At night it continues, we track the phases of sleep, how long it takes you to fall asleep, if you are aligned with your circadian rhythm, etc," said Kosman. The ring will cost less than 300 euros ($340) when it hits the market later in 2022. Further, a mobile app synced to the ring will also make personalized lifestyle recommendations for improving health based on data gathered.
The demand for body-tracking wearables is strong. According to the AFP report, CES organizers forecast that more than $14 billion will be spent this year in this category, which also includes sports tech, fitness activity trackers, connected exercise equipment, smartwatches and health monitoring devices.
Robot tractors for your fields?
In the near future, farmers around the world could tend to their fields with autonomous tractors with just a simple swipe to the left or right. American farm equipment manufacturer John Deere unveiled its fully autonomous 8R tractor at CES. The tractor is designed in such a way that once it is operational, a farmer can leave the field to focus on other tasks, while monitoring the machine's status from their mobile device.
Equipped with a plow, GPS and 360-degree cameras, farmers can control the tractor from a smartphone. With six pairs of cameras and artificial intelligence capabilities, the equipment constantly checks its position, and stops automatically as soon as it perceives an obstacle and sends a warning signal. According to an official press release from John Deere, the tractor will also continuously check its position relative to a geofence, ensuring it is operating where it is supposed to, and is within less than an inch of accuracy. The autonomous plow will be available in North America this year, John Deere chief technology officer Jahmy Hindman told AFP.
(With inputs from AFP and Bloomberg)