In Brief
  • Every year, the Consumer Electronics Show highlights the latest in tech, and this year's innovations include paper-thin televisions, autonomous cars, and advanced AI systems.
  • Though not all of the products showcased at the CES will make it to market, the event is an inspiring showcase of humanity's capacity for innovation and imagination.

It’s the first week in January, and that can only mean two things — painful hangovers from New Year’s revelries and the international Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas!  Forget Christmas…for tech nerds, the CES is like dying and going to heaven — a heaven full of shiny new technology, self-driving cars, flying cars, vibrating pants, robots, smart beds, and loads of other neat stuff.

There’s a lot of new tech to get through, so let’s take a look at some of the coolest (and weirdest) offerings at the CES 2017:

NVIDIA’s SPOT and Shield

NVIDIA founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang was the keynote speaker on Wednesday night, and he revealed some of the company’s big plans for the coming year.  Among the most notable was the “Shield,” a 4K HDR streaming media player, but it’s NVIDIA’s new AI platforms that are really turning heads. NVIDIA’s SPOT device, which can be simply plugged into any outlet and linked with the Shield, is capable of natural language processing and voice recognition, and it even knows where you are in your house. Big Huang is watching you!

Bosch Concept Car

Bosch’s new concept car gives us a preview of a world in which cars are personalized and, frankly, little more than big, expensive smart devices that can move you from place to place. Bosch’s futuristic vehicle concept includes facial recognition technology to customize the driving experience to an individual driver’s tastes, and the car’s haptic touch display, gesture control, and eye-tracking systems seem awfully “sci-fi” to us.

Credit: Bosch
Credit: Bosch

The FF91

Faraday Future, meanwhile, launched its FF91 — a fully electric, fully connected self-driving car with a 1,050-hp engine that can take it from 0 to 60 mph in 2.39 seconds. And it even includes a smartphone-operated “driverless valet” that parks the car for you. Eat your heart out, Tesla!

Driverless AI

In other news, the German automotive company ZF has partnered with NVIDIA to create the ProAI, a deep-learning artificial intelligence (AI) program that represents a huge step toward “intellectualizing” our vehicles. According to an NVIDIA press release, the ZF ProAI “will be able to process inputs from multiple cameras, plus lidar, radar and ultrasonic sensors, in a process we call sensor fusion,” generating a 360-degree sensory sphere for the vehicle.

Looks like our vehicles are finally getting the futuristic smarts they’ll need to survive in the 21st century.

Wallpaper TV

In the world of television (a perennial favorite), LG debuted the Signature OLED TV W — known on the street as “The Wallpaper TV.”  It’s got a flexible screen with a depth of just 4 millimeters (.15 inches). You can hang it on the wall with magnets, and it comes in 65- and 77-inch versions. It’s slim, sleek, and futuristic, and you can have it in April for the low, low price of only $8,000.

Vibrating Pants

Easily the most anticipated product at the CES 2017 — and without question 2017’s most promising transformative technology — is Spinali Design’s vibrating short-shorts, which sync with your phone and translate directions from your favorite navigation app into goading twitches to your left or right cheeks. For the time being, however, the technology is limited to women who habitually go braless and have an unhealthy denim fixation.

Credit: Spinali Design
Credit: Spinali Design

We’ll continue to keep you updated on the weird and wonderful technology being showcased at the CES 2017.