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The CES 2023 tech trade show is in full gear in Las Vegas, drawing lots of crowds back to the biggest North American tech trade fest.
I walked around a lot to find the coolest tech. At or ahead of CES 2023, I recorded around 80 press events, interviews, and sessions. I walked 87,447 steps over five days — or more than 38.81 miles. By comparison, at CES 2020, I walked more than 37.45 miles (over 84,385 steps).
I wrote 43 stories. I gave two interviews. And moderated one panel. My feet hurt.
Now it’s time to analyze and make some sense of this. I hope you like these ideas, and since the show continues through Sunday, there’s still some time for techies to check it out themselves. Here’s my list from last year at CES 2022.
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This year featured nearly 3,000 exhibitors, up from 1,900 in 2021 and down from 4,000 (in-person) in 2020. I dragged my roller bag all over the place and it managed to save me from slippery floors (through some kind of tripod balancing) on three occasions. Here are the 18 things that caught my eye.
Unistellar telescope reduces light pollution with AI
It’s been a while since I wrote about the technology in telescopes. Celestron always made regular advances with the tech, like telling you what constellations you were looking at in the night sky. Now your smartphone app — like Night Sky — can tell you that. But Unistellar showed up at the Showstoppers press party with a cool tech: A telescope that uses machine learning to reduce the blurriness you see when there is too much light pollution around you.
Ludovic Nachury, head of communication at the Marseille, France-based company, told me that city lights are always the worst problem that prevents you from seeing stars. People go out of their way to head into the wilderness to use their telescopes as a result. But with the machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) can improve the image processing and reduce that light pollution and give you clearer imagery to look at in the night sky. An app helps you see it even better, enabling you to see galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters from a downtown location. This is another example of AI invading every product and winding up in places where you don’t expect it. The version on display at CES 2023 sells for around $2,500. The company started in 2017 and started delivering telescopes in 2019. Now it has a new model and 50 people.
CarbonX makes better tires for electric cars
The Dutch showed up with a set of 70 startups at CES 2023, including a number that were part of the Responsible Tech booth in the Eureka Park startup section at the show. One of them that has been coming for a while is CarbonX, started by Rutger van Raalten from Delft, Netherlands.
He’s a chemical engineer who for 15 years has been exploring carbon structures and has used them to come up with a new kind of tire infused with a carbon black material. His company makes more sustainable tires for electric vehicles, and they can offer a 10% extension in a tire’s rolling resistance. It mixes the carbon material into rubber to get better heat transfer, which results in less friction for the tire while preserving its ability to deform to match the road and keep its traction.
“We developed a new car material which has a unique three-dimensional network structure that we’re mixing in the tread of the tire,” said van Raalten, in an interview with VentureBeat. “We can actually make the tire roll more efficiently, and at the same time provide strength. So we can use those properties at the same time. And as you know, electric vehicles become heavier, and they accelerate faster.”
The company is launching with a customer in Finland and they’re going to make 750,000 tires with the material developed by CarbonX. And the company plans to raise a funding round to help it execute on those orders.
Van Raalten said the material can be used for tires for electric vehicles such as trucks, motorcycles, and just regular cars. It’s not strictly nanotechnology, as the structures are at the micron level. Van Raalten did a master’s thesis on this at the Delft University of Technology and he has spent the last 15 years developing the product under a license from the university. The company has 15 people and it is raising five million euros.
L’Oreal Brow Magic prints eyebrows on your face
L’Oréal showed off two interesting products at CES 2023, including the Brow Magic device that can print eyeliner precisely onto your eyebrows. The Brow Magic can paint any shape you want, which you can select through the Brow Magic app.
It uses technology from Prinker, which normally is used to print temporary tattoos on your skin. The printing device has 2,400 tiny nozzles and printing technology with up to 1,200 drops per inch (dpi) printing resolution. The Brow Magic provides consumers with their most precise brow shape in seconds.
You can select brow designs with various shapes, thicknesses, and effects (akin to microblading and microshading) using augmented reality. After selecting the desired eyebrow makeup, you just swipe the printer across your eyebrow and it prints without sound. It is easily removed with water and soap. It reminds me of the Procter & Gamble Opté tech that can print makeup on your age spots.
In this case, you take a picture of your face with Brow Magic and it calibrates so it knows where your eyes and eyebrows are. Then it presents you with recommendations. You swipe the printer over your face and it prints right over your hair.
L’Oréal also showed off Hapta, which is an accessibility device designed for people with disabilities such as limited hand motion. It is a kind of selfie stick, but it holds lipstick. You can use it to apply lipstick, even if you have limited motor skills. The Hapta device will be launched sometime this year.
OneThird checks produce for ripeness
OneThird found that a third of all food is wasted. So the Dutch food tech company developed a “ripeness checker” designed for use by grocers or grocery store shoppers. It lets them quickly scan an avocado and get accurate information about when it is ready for consumption – no squeezing necessary.
Apparently we’re not so good at the squeezing part, as one-third of all food produced is wasted due to spoilage – costing upwards of $1 trillion. OneThird’s solution helps end-consumers get the freshest food and allows growers, food distributors and grocers to predict the shelf life of fresh produce, said Marco Snikkers, founder of Enschede, Netherlands-based OneThird. The device uses AI.
The main targets for the product are grocers and distributors. Once those parties adopt it, the grocers could also offer it inside stores as a service for consumers. For now, the product can test strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, avocados and mangos — all of them relatively hard to assess for freshness. Soon, Snikkers said the company will add bananas, as they are also prone to going bad.
“These are where our customers say they have the most financial loss,” he said. “Or they have a really short shelf life, which causes surprises in the supply chain.”
The device is oriented for business-to-business customers now, so they can be used in quality labs for everyone from growers to retailers. Grocery stores can put the devices in stores to give confidence to their shoppers about the freshness of their produce. You can find out if you should eat your avocado today or wait a couple of days before putting it into guacamole.
The company is building its database and refining its AI algorithms so it can monitor produce changes across a whole season. The device uses infrared spectroscopy. Light penetrates into the produce and it captures data on the molecules in the product. OneThird knows that the balance of those molecules — like sugar, water, and more — change over its life cycle.
“So once we know the ratios of those, we can look at our database, and our AI can then make sense of it and give us an accurate prediction of shelf life,” Snikkers said.
How can growers use it? If they have a batch of strawberries on the West Coast of the U.S., it could take five days to ship to the East Coast. If it will go bad before that time, it’s better to ship it to somewhere local.
The company spun out of a medical company four years ago and focused on produce.
Hasbro and Formlabs put your head on a toy with Hasbro Selfie Series
The Hasbro Selfie Series experience has been in soft launch for a while and it is now kicking off in a bigger way. It basically lets you put your head on a custom-made 3D-printed branded toy from Hasbro. Each one is around six inches tall.
I saw it at the Formlabs 3D printing booth, where David Lakatos of Formlabs and Patrick Marr of Hasbro walked me through a demo.
You use the smartphone app to scan your face and then match it to an action figure based on a Hasbro or Hasbro partner property. You can put your head in your likeness on top of a toy character. You can choose Marvel characters like Spider-Man (without the mask), a Jedi, the Mandalorian, a Stormtrooper from Star Wars, a Power Ranger or GI Joe’s Snake Eyes.
The Hasbro Selfie Series toys cost $60 and take as long as 45 days to ship. Hasbro purchased its own 3D printers from Formlabs and makes the toys itself. It uses a manufacturing process to mount your head on the plastic toy in a secure way. I tried it and it took a couple of minutes to do the scan.
“We wanted to make sure it was crisp and clean,” Marr said. “So we partnered with Formlabs and came up with seven different skin tones and five different hair colors.”
There are a total of 14 figures available now. Marr thinks this plays into the notion that fans want to engage deeply with the characters they love. It’s reminiscent of cosplayers. It also plays into the remix culture that is sweeping through many industries now, said Lakatos. And the quality of the 3D printers is such that they can accurately print a likeness at low cost.
Withings U-Scan runs a urinalysis via your home toilet
Withings announced U-Scan, a breakthrough product that lets you do urinalysis at home. People made fun of this as something completely unnecessary — something that would only delight “quantified self” freaks who want to measure everything about themselves for vanity.
But I think this has so many things going for it, and it will help people who have to deal with medical conditions. For those people who have to regularly get tested, this is a godsend as you don’t have to go to the doctor or a lab to pee in a cup for medical tests.
U-Scan is a miniaturized health lab that hygienically sits within any toilet bowl to unlock the wealth of health information in daily urine. With more than 3,000 metabolites, urine is an extraordinary witness to assess and monitor one’s health, Withings said. It gives an immediate snapshot of the body’s balance and is integral in monitoring and detecting a large variety of health information.
Most of the time, you can pay no heed to these results. And via the app, you can get tested frequently and not have to worry. But when something changes, you’ll want to know about it.
U-Scan is designed to be a versatile platform consisting of a technologically advanced pebble-shaped reader and changeable analysis cartridges designed to assess specific biomarkers without the need for external sample capture or strips. Then, with seamless sync to the Withings Health Mate app, it will provide a wealth of actionable insights based on daily readings.
The product will debut in Europe with two consumer health cartridges with medical versions following in the future. These include U-Scan Cycle Sync for women’s monthly cycle tracking and syncing and U-Scan Nutri Balance, a detailed metabolic guide to hydration and nutrition.
Withings U-Scan is in development in the U.S. and will not be available until it receives FDA clearance.
The accompanying Withings app provides results, actionable insights, and guidance designed to help people build habits for enhanced wellness. In Europe, the U-Scan Cycle Sync results will appear in the Withings app that becomes a central place for cycle tracking, coaching and journaling.
It will show cycle predictions and ovulation window based on hormonal detection, alongside key hydration and dietary biomarkers, specific gravity and pH levels to help women manage every aspect of their cycle.
U-Scan will first be available in Europe in the second quarter of 2023 with consumer cartridges Nutri Balance and Cycle Sync. Users will be able to buy the U-Scan starter kit for €499.95 ($530) to get one U-Scan reader and one cartridge providing three months of testing.
Sony Afeela electric car comes with an Unreal Engine
Sony announced that its Sony Honda Mobility car will be called the Afeela electric sedan. It will use technology from Honda, Epic Games and Qualcomm.
Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon said the car will be always connected to the cloud. The car will come with more than 40 sensors, and it will need a lot of processing power from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform to make sense of everything. Kim Libreri, CTO of Epic Games, said the company will provide Unreal Engine 5 to help render the infotainment cluster.
In fact, the game engine will run in the car, essentially serving as a kind of operation system to render the infotainment cluster and the animations.
Sony will open preorders for the car in the first half of 2025 and it will start deliveries in early 2026. The car looks beautiful and it will clearly have the Sony design touch.
Y-Brush is the 10-second toothbrush
Y-Brush can brush your teeth in just 10 seconds. Rather than manually brushing your teeth one at a time, Y-Brush is designed to brush all of your teeth at once. I saw a demo of the brush at the CES Unveiled event at CES 2023.
It has a Y-shaped brush head with 35,000 nylon bristles. It is clinically validated by dentists, and the product comes from a dental startup based out of Lyon, France. The company worked on it for three years.
Y-Brush relies on sonic vibrations for gentle, effective plaque removal without damaging your gums. The pressure can be adapted using different vibration modes, ensuring up to 21% more efficient results than a regular toothbrush, the company said.
Its flexible head makes it ideal for kids above four years of age. The battery lasts about three months because you use it for such a short time. You can change the bristles about once every six months. I’m all for this, as laziness is the parent of invention.
Displace is a wireless and remoteless TV
Displace has created a new kind of television that has no wires and you can place anywhere in your home.
The first model shown off at CES 2023 is the 55-inch Displace 4K TV. It is powered by a proprietary hot-swappable battery system and it weighs under 20 pounds.
You can carry it around easily and secure it to any surface with no mounting required using Displace TV’s proprietary active-loop vacuum technology, which you can use to hang on a wall or even a window.
At the Showstoppers event, CEO Balaji Krishnan picked it up and showed me how easy it was to carry. TVs have a lot of friction, as many require professional help to mount on walls and they can use antiquated remote controls. Displace has a pop-out camera that you can use to control the TV with gestures if you want.
You can connect multiple TVs to form a single large 110-inch screen, and you can also use a gesture to “grab” a video and “throw” it to another TV.
“The beauty is you can use it to form any size TV,” Krishnan said.
You can turn off the camera for privacy reasons too. The TV is 1.2 inches thick. It has up to four batteries that you can swap out, with each battery lasting a month based on usage of six hours a day.
Krishnan said in an interview with VentureBeat this delivers a lot of value to consumers by overcoming various frustrations. The base unit has an AMD CPU, Nvidia GPU, and Wi-Fi 6E. The TVs will be available to ship in the U.S. by late 2023, with pricing TBD.
This is Krishnan’s third startup. He previously founded DabKick, a streaming device that was acquired by a public company, and Snapstick (which lets you control a TV from a mobile phone), which was acquired by Rovi.
“If you want to put a TV in your kitchen, for example, it’s really hard because we have to find the right spot for the TV with the power socket,” Krishnan said. “A lot of people don’t want to have displays on the walls, as they are getting bigger and bigger. You have to have a wall mounting technician come and install the TVs on the wall of the room. So we’re seeing a world where people will be having multiple smart displays on their walls. And then they should be able to move things around very easily.”
He added, “We have the pocket to re-architect fundamentally the friction points that people have seen, which is why the first thing that we had to do was a wireless TV. The second thing was to make it super light so anyone should be able to take it and literally stick it to the wall.”
Aska flying car
Aska showed off (or tried to show off) its first drive-and-fly electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft/car hybrid at CES 2023. I couldn’t make it to its Wednesday event, which was canceled since its batteries didn’t arrive on time.
The prototype of the Aska A5 electric flying car is the size of a big SUV and it is a four-seater electric vehicle that can travel by road, and up to 250 miles by air on a single charge. It flies like a quadrocopter.
The company is also announcing the Aska On-Demand ride service (expected to launch in 2026) that will feature a fleet of Aska vehicles, operating on-demand in major cities and their surroundings.
Aska requires minimum updates to the current infrastructure. To perform a vertical take-off or landing, Aska requires only a compact space, such as a helipad or vertiport. The vehicle fits in existing parking spaces, it can be charged at home and EV charging stations, and the range extender engine runs on premium gasoline purchased at existing automotive gas stations.
Powering the Aska A5 is a proprietary power system that features lithium-ion battery packs and a gasoline engine that acts as an onboard range extender.
In drive mode, Aska packs in-wheel motor technology, allowing all four wheels to be placed outside the fuselage for all-wheel-drive traction, better aerodynamics, and maximized interior space to comfortably seat four passengers.
In flying mode, the vehicle’s wings with six rotors unfold, allowing the vehicle to either take off vertically, or do conventional runway takeoffs. The large wing is optimized for gliding, smooth landings, and efficient energy consumption, while each tilt rotor is utilized for vehicle control.
Aska can take off vertically from a compact space like a helipad. It can also use a conventional runway takeoff and landing that can improve the vehicle’s energy consumption efficiency.
The big bummer about flying cars has always been the safety thing. Aska said it designed its vehicle for the highest safety standards. For example, Aska has large wings and, in the event of an emergency, the large wings can glide the craft to a safe landing. Aska is equipped with dual energy sources, both batteries and an engine. The six propellers, one on each wing, ensure better redundancy for safe landings.
The best-in-class hybrid propulsion system provides a minimum of 30 minutes reserve flight time, which is a critical requirement by the Federal Aviation Administration today. Aska also includes a ballistic parachute in case of emergency to save the whole aircraft.
In 2020, Aska signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to advance its participation in the Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign, jointly organized by the FAA. In 2022, the FAA accepted Aska through their intake board and the company is progressing towards Aska’s type certification. Full-scale flight testing will start after the CES.
Based in Los Altos and Mountain View, California, Aska was founded by serial entrepreneurs Guy and Maki Kaplinsky in 2018. Their previous startup, IQP Corporation, was a pioneer in the internet of things and developed a code-free application environment. IQP was acquired by GE Digital in 2017.
The vehicle is expected to debut in 2026. Preorders require a $5,000 deposit that is refundable after one year.
Candela’s “flying” C-8 electric boat
Candela showed off a new electric “flying” C-8 consumer boat. It is an electric vehicle that rides above the waves and is a sibling to Candela’s P-12 electric hydrofoil ferry.
Too bad I couldn’t get a demo of this, but Las Vegas is in a desert, after all. Seeing it in person, it looks like a boat on stilts.
The company, founded by Gustav Hasselskog in 2014, boasts zero emissions, zero noise, zero seasickness, zero maintenance, zero gas and oil, and zero wake. Candela’s boats are up to 95% more energy efficient, and offer passengers a smoother, quieter experience on the water because they fly above it instead of crashing through the waves.
Propulsion comes from Candela’s compact C-POD electric motors, which stay fully submerged while running, further eliminating noise and vibrations onboard. They are designed to run for a lifetime without ever requiring maintenance. Candela has 180 people and makes the boats in Stockholm.
Hasselskog regularly drove to a local fuel dock in the archipelago to buy ice cream for the kids. The problem was that the ice cream would cost $5, and the fuel for the 20-minute trip would end up at $50. He saw that buying an electric boat was not an option, as the fast ones all had minimal range. At that point, he realized we had to reinvent how boats are designed.
Flying on computer-guided underwater wings, hydrofoils, the P-8 Voyager barely creates a discernible wake as it skims across the surface at 30 knots. The low wake is a testament to the P-8’s energy efficiency, which in turn gives it unprecedented electric range and speed. For the coral reefs, this also means zero wake erosion, which otherwise is a threat, especially in shallow waters.
Powering the electric speedboat is a silent marine motor. It has a torpedo-shaped casing with two permanent electric motors that directly drive the propellers. Even at high speeds, the Candela C-POD is barely audible for the human ear.
LG and Asleep use smart home appliances to adjust to your sleep patterns
LG partnered with Asleep to craft smart home appliances that respond to your sleep patterns. It’s like using the internet of things and AI to control your appliances without having you involved.
The devices like smart watches will record your breathing patterns and diagnose your sleep stages. The system will detect if you wake up and try to discern the reason why. If you’re snoring, it will know that, and it can turn on a humidifier in your room to help ease your breathing passages to reduce the snoring.
And if you are accustomed to sleeping at a given temperature, it will adjust your air conditioning and heating so you can sleep better. It will also control things like air purifiers, too.
HTC shows off the HTC Vive XR Elite virtual reality headset
HTC Vive debuted its Vive XR Elite virtual reality and mixed reality headset at CES 2023. It shows that HTC Vive is willing to compete with rivals Meta, Pico and Sony in the next generation of virtual reality. The device costs $1,100, which is squarely between the Meta Quest 2 at $400 and the Meta Quest Pro at $1,500.
Shen Ye, global head of products, said in an interview with me that the price gives you a realistic view of the costs of an unsubsidized product for the VR market. He said it is squarely aimed at consumers. I did a brief demo that showed how the passthrough enables it to position objects on real-world surfaces for mixed reality applications.
The Vive XR Elite includes both VR and MR capabilities, with full-color RGB camera for passthrough viewing. Lightweight at just 1.4 pounds, and that includes the battery weight. HTC said the headset is perfect for gaming, fitness, productivity and more.
Vive XR Elite includes hand-tracking, which enables a whole new dimension of MR scenarios. This can include playing games where the characters are running on your furniture, having real-time overlays on musical instruments like a piano so you can learn, and having a workstation with multiple virtual screens while still being able to use your real-world keyboard and mouse.
Vive XR Elite will see HTC Vive’s biggest range of launch titles ever, with 100 new pieces of MR and VR content arriving in the launch window – from new games to classics – with more to follow. That includes, Demeo, Hubris, Yuki, Maestro, Les Mills Body Combat, FigminXR, Unplugged, Finger Gun and more. Post-launch, even more content will arrive, such as Everslaught: Invasion, and later in the year full MR games like Eggscape.
Vive XR Elite can be connected easily to a PC via USB-C to access PCVR content from Viveport and Steam and supports wireless PC streaming over Wi-Fi or the latest generation – Wi-Fi 6E with low latency and great graphics.
You can also stream content wirelessly from a compatible Android phone to Vive XR Elite, which opens a wider selection of entertainment. In the headset, your cinema screen will seem like it’s 300 inches wide. You can view content from services like Netflix and Disney+ or games like Fortnite, and you can connect a Bluetooth controller to your phone for a full gaming experience.
Vive XR Elite has a modular design that can switch into a glasses form factor. You remove the battery and fit the Vive XR Elite temple pads. You can change the physical configuration so it works best for whichever situation you’re in, whether that’s at home, in the office or travelling on a plane.
The redesigned hinge means the extended arms of Vive XR Elite cup your head just like the front and back of a traditional all-in-one. There’s a USB-C connecting cable on the right-hand side, which you can plug into a power source like a battery bank or airline seat.
The visual impact is sharp with a wide 110-degree field of view and 4K resolution (at 2K per eye) which runs at a 90Hz refresh rate. Vive XR Elite has adjustable lenses so you can take off your glasses and still see a clear picture with greater comfort. You can find your perfect sweet spot without having to remove the headset, with a built-in fine-adjustable IPD slider placed on the outside of the headset.
The battery is placed at the back for balance and is curved for optimal comfort, and delivers up to two hours of full XR use. The battery is removable and hot swappable, so you can keep going whether it’s changing to another power source or changing to another battery. It has 30-watt fast charging and is charged via USB-C power delivery.
HTC also said its Viverse (version of the metaverse) continues to demonstrate leadership in supporting OpenXR and WebXR standards and is accessible from a wide range of connected devices that support a web browser. HTC has partnered with the character creation company VRoid Studios, which makes it easy to bring avatars into Viverse leveraging the open VRM standard.
HTC is also collaborating with Lamina1 to accelerate the open metaverse ecosystem for society. HTC’s Viverse platform will be using Lamina1’s layer one tools to enable more efficient cross-world cross-platform asset distribution and management, so users can seamlessly keep their digital assets (avatars, clothes, artwork, etc.) with them as they traverse the metaverse.
Vive XR Elite is available to pre-order globally via vive.com and participating authorized retailers. Pre-order shipments are estimated to begin from late February. Vive XR Elite comes with the headset itself, 2x controllers, and the headset battery cradle, and will cost $1,100.
Space Perspective designs space balloon with help of digital twin
Space Perspective is designing a balloon that can give space tourists a gentle ride to the edge of space by attaching vehicles to giant space balloons. The company has already sold out its initial reservations for $125,000 for a six-hour flight, starting in 2024.
Billed as the world’s first luxury spaceflight experience, Cape Canaveral-based Space Perspective argues that you can enjoy the thrill of space exploration without having to endure a multi-g-force ride on a rocket. Instead, a balloon the size of a football stadium (with 13 million cubic feet of gas) will take you up gently to the edge of the atmosphere, 20 miles above the Earth. There, you can snap pictures that show the view of Earth from space, including the curvature of the planet.
Jane Poynter, cofounder of Space Perspective, spoke at a Siemens press event where she noted that using Siemens’ design technology for a “digital twin” is helping to perfect the design in the digital realm, without requiring the company to create a lot of costly physical prototypes.
The private company’s Neptune One will become the first space launch operator to launch from Space Coast Spaceport with a total of nine people on board (including a pilot).
At the Siemens booth, you could see a simulated view that tourists would see within the balloon’s capsule, which will have seats and a bar. You can see 360-degree views of planet Earth from 20 miles above propelled by a space balloon the size of a football stadium, said Poynter.
Space Perspective is the brainchild of Poynter and Taber MacCallum, a husband-and-wife team who met as crew members of Biosphere 2, an artificial, enclosed ecosystem designed to mirror Earth’s biosphere to test the viability of maintaining human life in outer space. The couple also founded Paragon Space Development Corporation, a human life support systems company that created technologies used on most human spacecraft, including the International Space Station, and they acted as technical advisors to Elon Musk on human spaceflight before SpaceX was a reality.
Siemens software is being used to test for safety systems and others to maximize safety and sustainability, said Brenda Discher, chief marketing officer and head of strategy for Siemens Digital Industries Software, in an interview.
As far as how digital twins will fit with the metaverse visions, she said, “We’re going to need a lot more partners in order to make a true immersive experience real, especially if we get into industrial spaces.”
The company is partnering with Nvidia on its Omnverse digital twin tools, and it is providing a lot of manufacturing and mechanical engineering expertise. There are six projects under way and as many as 15 digital twin projects in the pipeline. One of them is BMW’s simulated car factory, which will be built in the real world. Siemens also showcased cool projects from Nemo’s Garden and 80 Acres Farms at its booth.
The pressurized Spaceship Neptune will lift passengers 100,000 feet to space to then be immersed, for two hours, in breathtaking views of the curvature of Earth down below. The ship doesn’t go into space itself, but it will clear 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Since the balloon floats in the last 1% of the atmosphere, the air inside the balloon expands 100-fold. And it beats being inside a rocket.
PlayStation VR 2 debuts with 30 titles on February 22
Sony’s PlayStation chief Jim Ryan took the stage at CES to share details about its PlayStation VR2 headset and the games coming for the device, which debuts on February 22.
Ryan said the lineup includes Gran Turismo, Horizon: Call of the Mountain, Beat Saber and other VR games based on Sony’s IP and third-party franchises as well.
The second-generation VR headset debuts on February 22 for $550. The PSVR 2 comes a couple of years after Sony launched the console, and it could bring a mid-life pop to sales for the PlayStation 5. Sony said it has sold more than 30 million PlayStation 5 consoles to date.
From what I could see, the Horizon game features outstanding graphics, much like the Horizon: Forbidden West title that debuted in 2022.
Project Leonardo is a controller for disabled gamers
Sony PlayStation chief Jim Ryan also said that the company will launch Project Leonardo, a new controller designed for gamers with limited mobility.
The controller will make gaming more accessible for players who have challenges using ordinary controllers. It’s quite reminiscent of Microsoft’s efforts with the Xbox Adaptive Controller. It’s nice to see Sony moving in to validate this market for disabled people, which is a vast swath of humanity.
Project Leonardo will allow more gamers to enjoy the console. Ryan said that Sony is working with experts on accessibility such as Able Gamers.
Leonardo is basically an accessibility kit designed to remove barriers to gaming and help players with disabilities play more easily, more comfortably and for longer periods on PS5.
Hideaki Nishino, senior vice president for platform experience at SIE, said in a blog post that accessibility is an important topic to us at PlayStation, and the company wants to continue raising the bar to enable every gamer to experience the joy of play.
He said Sony talked to experts at AbleGamers, SpecialEffect and Stack Up and then came up with the design for the highly configurable controller that works in tandem with many third-party accessibility accessories and integrates with the PS5 console to open up new ways of gaming.
The controller is highly customizable with a kit of swappable components, including a variety of analog stick caps and buttons in different shapes and sizes.
Players can use these components to craft a wide array of control layouts. And the distance of the analog stick from the game pad can be adjusted to suit the player’s preference. These components allow players to find a configuration that works for their strength, range of motion, and particular physical needs.
You can remap the buttons as needed. Players can store their programmed button settings as control profiles and easily switch between them by pressing the profile button.
For example, players can augment their DualSense controller with a Project Leonardo controller or use two Project Leonardo controllers on their own. A friend or family member can also assist by helping to control the player’s game character with a DualSense controller or a second Project Leonardo controller. The controllers can be dynamically turned on or off and used in any combination.
Valencell debuts cuffless blood pressure monitor
Valencell unveiled its first calibration-free, cuffless fingertip blood pressure monitor.
Valencell has been making optical heart-rate sensors. Now it showed that you don’t need the cuffs that inflate over your biceps to get an accurate count. It uses a fingertip clip with photoplethysmography (PPG) sensors to measure blood flow.
It won’t just work on anyone. The sensor has to be combined with info on the user’s age, weight, gender and height to be accurate without calibration. The device will be available to clinics and such, but an over-the-counter version for personal use has to wait for FDA approval. The company has collected data from 7,000 subjects and it is using AI to figure out the exact numbers.
German Bionic shows Apogee exosuit
German Bionic, the makers of AI-powered robotic exoskeletons, showed off the Apogee exosuit at CES 2023.
The device is lighter than the previous Cray X and it helps you offset as much as 66 pounds while lifting heavy objects.
This helps people like baggage handlers or delivery people benefit from an exoskeleton inworkplace settings where heavy lifting is necessary. For example, it can be used in warehouses and logistics, but also by carers of the elderly or disabled.
It helps you perform these tasks without straining your body. The suit can offset up to 66 pounds of load to the lower back with each lifting motion, and it reduces fatigue. Pricing isn’t available yet but the company will have monthly leasing options.
Well, I can’t say anything could beat a selfie with Paula Abdul, who launched her own smart audio glasses at CES 2023 this week. During her press conference, she also sang briefly and did a little dance.
It was also cool to see Neill Blomkamp (District 9), director of Sony’s upcoming Gran Turismo movie, talk at Sony’s press event about making the race car movie, as well as to hear Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of the racing game franchise, talk about the chance to get more movie watchers exciting about the racing brand.
Charlie Fink was kind enough to take my picture in the Bhaptics haptic suit/gloves at the Showstoppers event.
I’m not sure what Togg was showing at its booth, but it was quite beautiful.
Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, wasn’t popular with the Russians as he announced they were banned from CES 2023. But he was quite popular with the French, for some reason, as pictured here in the French part of the Eureka Park startups.
Here’s my own long-awaited return to CES with the start of the CES trends panel on Tuesday.
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