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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 March 2021

CES 2021: technologies and trends you should know about

Four-day tech extravaganza is being held online this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Crowds enter the convention centre on the first day of the CES tech show, in Las Vegas, in January last year. This year, CES 2021 is being held online from January 11-14 due to the coronavirus pandemic. AP
Crowds enter the convention centre on the first day of the CES tech show, in Las Vegas, in January last year. This year, CES 2021 is being held online from January 11-14 due to the coronavirus pandemic. AP

With the Consumer Electronics Show 2021 being held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, major technology manufacturers are relying on online showrooms and YouTube channels to showcase their latest innovations.

This year’s focus is on innovative technologies such as rolling smartphones, electric vehicles, see-through TVs, smart homes, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT).

The National takes a look at the major trends at the annual extravaganza this year.

Solar remote controls

This year will see the mass commercialisation of a solar-powered TV remote control that can be recharged through indoor light, outdoor light and through an external USB cable.

Showcased at CES, this technology will help to prevent waste from a projected 99 million triple-A batteries over seven years, according to South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer Samsung.

Future of TVs

Samsung’s 2021 line-up will add new features such as caption moving, sign language zoom and multi-output audio, helping people with viewing and hearing disabilities to better enjoy their TV experience.

By next year, Samsung is committing to expand a voice guide feature, which provides audio guidance for people with hearing and visual difficulties.

Rolling smartphones

After foldable technology, it’s time for rolling smartphones.

South Korea's LG Electronics’ rollable smartphone made an appearance at CES, briefly demonstrating a resizable screen. As the second device under the brand’s Explorer Project, this rollable phone is an “exploratory” look at what the future of smartphones could be.

However, LG is not the only major electronics maker testing rollable phones. Chinese state-owned electronics company TCL also released a teaser video of the rolling smartphone technology.

The device can be transformed from a 17-centimetre phone to a 19.8cm tablet with a tap of the finger, Tiago Abreu, head of TCL’s X-Lab, said.

Combining AI and IoT

German engineering and technology company Bosch is combining AI and IoT to improve energy efficiency and fight the Covid-19 virus.

“We combine AI and connectivity to form the AIoT,” Michael Bolle, a Bosch management board member, said. “AIoT offers enormous potential.”

At CES, the company said it was introducing the world’s first self-learning AI sensor for wearables and hearables in fitness tracking.

“Since the AI runs on the sensor, there’s no longer any need for an internet connection during an exercise session – this improves energy efficiency and data privacy,” the company said.

Bosch also presented a sensor that measures factors such as air quality and relative humidity. This delivers information about the concentration of aerosols in the air – data that has become especially important in the fight against the coronavirus.

Robotics on the move

Using AI and robotics, tech giants are creating new home experiences – from washing machines, which optimise water usage and wash cycles, to TVs with a quantum AI processor to improve display quality.

LG introduced the new LG CLOi robot that uses ultraviolet C light to clean high-touch, high-traffic areas such as hotel rooms and restaurants.

Samsung introduced a new JetBot 90 AI+ vacuum cleaner that uses object recognition technology to identify and classify objects to decide the best cleaning path.

The sensors allow the machine, which will be launched in the first half of this year, to avoid cables and small objects while still cleaning hard-to-reach corners in your home.

Samsung’s Bot Care is designed to use AI to recognise and respond to users’ behaviour.

Samsung's JetBot 90 AI+ vacuum cleaner will double into a security camera. Courtesy Samsung
Samsung's JetBot 90 AI+ vacuum cleaner can double into a security camera. Courtesy Samsung

“It will be able to act as both a robotic assistant and companion, helping to take care of the details in your life. It will also learn your schedule and habits and send you reminders to help guide you throughout your busy day,” the company said.

5G technology

Carriers and mobile operators demonstrate how the latest advancements in 5G’s speed, reliability and efficiency will drive innovation and enable industries like entertainment, digital health and smart cities.

A 5G network promises an internet speed of up to 1.2 gigabits per second, which will gradually reach 10Gbps – 100 times faster than 4G.

Smart mobility

Japanese brand Panasonic displayed its new smart vehicle technology OneConnect, which offers predictive and intuitive connected vehicle control by optimising and connecting vehicles and fleets. More car makers and technology brands are expected to launch new innovations during the remainder of the show, which ends on January 14.

Updated: January 13, 2021 10:10 AM

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