CES 2015: Driverless cars, wearable tech 'unleashed' at expo
The Audi A7 driverless concept car is shown in this image. (Audi)
Published Wednesday, January 7, 2015 9:42AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 7, 2015 6:05PM EST
Here's a roundup of new technologies on display from another exciting day at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Lenovo releases a read-while-you-wor-kout fitness tracker
Designed to maximize connections and minimize worry, the Lenovo VIBE Band VB10 was announced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with an emphasis on its features intended for active people with limited time.
For starters, its no-glare, ultra-clear E Ink display makes it easy to read on the go when you get phone notifications, displaying up to 150 characters at a time.
The VIBE Band sends instant notifications including calls, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, WeChat and more.
It's also waterproof and its fitness functions include but are not limited to goal setting and activity tracking.
It works with Android and iOS devices and battery life is a full seven days, even if you leave the display screen lit the whole time.
The band will become available in April for $89.
Lynx 9 pad unfurls to cradle keyboard, smartphone, tablet
Mad Catz causes a stir at CES 2015 with the premium priced Lynx 9 Android game controller, a modular gadget that can holster not only a miniature keyboard but also a smartphone or standard-sized tablet.
The $299 accessory totes four face buttons, two analogue sticks and one digital directional control, shoulder buttons, a microphone, and a keyboard module.
In addition, there's an HDMI output that lets the Lynx 9 hook up to an HDTV display for big-screen Android gaming.
Overall, it looks more like something from the "Terminator" or "Transformers" film franchises than a conventional video game controller.
And there's a reason for that -- the Lynx 9's party trick is the way it splits apart, reassembling with its two handles on either side of a 7-inch Android tablet.
The pad is also compatible with PCs running Windows 7 or higher thanks to a Bluetooth connection and will come to market in March 2015.
Intel CEO says computing 'unleashed' by wearables
LAS VEGAS -- Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich said Tuesday that computing is being "unleashed" by the move to wearables as the tech giant unveiled a button-sized device for new connectivity.
Speaking at a keynote at the huge Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Krzanich said he sees wearables and similar technology taking computing power out of the constraints of the traditional screen and keyboard.
"We're going from a two-dimensional world to a three-dimensional world," he told a CES crowd.
"So computing becomes unwired, and everything becomes smart and connected."
Krzanich unveiled the Intel Curie module, a device the size of a button which is essentially a system chip for smart garments, glasses and other wearables.
"Curie is the next generation of computing," he said at the presentation, where he outlined plans for connected eyewear, garments and drones.
The new trend offers a whole new range or intuitive computing without keyboard or screens or mice.
"It can unleash us," Krzanich said.
He also said the California tech giant would spend $300 million over the next five years to improve diversity in its workforce to bring more women and minorities into the group.
Krzanich said Intel would seek "full representation at all levels" of women and minorities in the company by 2020, and said this was an effort to "lead by example" and encourage others in the sector to do the same.
"Our goal with Intel technology is to help solve real problems and enable experiences that are truly desired by people and businesses," he said.
"To do this, we must also do more to lead the growth of diversity and inclusion within the technology industry."
Parrot unveils smart wireless headphones for athletes
In Las Vegas, Parrot has introduced the Zik Sport, an innovative new pair of headphones designed specifically for athletes. The earbuds and headband are equipped with biometric sensors capable of monitoring everything from heart rate to running style.
The headset relies on its complete range of sensors to provide data on the wearer's running performance, including stride frequency, left and right foot step counts and vertical oscillation measurements. All of these analytics can be accessed through a dedicated app, allowing wearers to see where they may have room for improvement.
Like the Parrot Zik and Zik 2.0, the Zik Sport was designed by Philippe Starck.
The new in-ear headphones are sweat resistant and include a noise-cancelling function. They can be connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth and have a battery life of over five hours.
The Parrot Zik Sport is expected to launch before the end of 2015 at an unannounced price.
Parrot is also taking advantage of CES to present other new products such as the RNB6 in-car infotainment system, miniature drones and a smart solution for watering plants.
Quincy Jones 'personalized sound' headphones revealed
Quincy Jones-inspired headphones featuring personalized sound are the latest audio hit to be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
The AKG N90Q by Harman is being billed as the world's first set of personalized sound headphones, featuring TruNote technology which automatically reproduces sound adjusted to the user's anatomy.
The software uses an auto-calibration solution and two microphones in each ear cup to measure the user's frequency response while wearing the headphone. This generates an accurate correction filter, all within a second.
Designed by Grammy-award winning musician Jones with the help of his daughter Kidada, a designer for Disney, the cans come in a sleek black and gold color scheme.
"There are only 12 notes, and no matter what genre of music you are enjoying, whether it be Jazz, R&B, Pop, Rock or Classical, I believe the enhanced experience provided by the AKG N90Q will offer the listener such exact sound and customization that you will believe you are in a professional recording studio," said the star.
CES has also seen music company Gibson Brands roll out its new "Trainer by Gibson" headphone range, designed in collaboration with Olympian Usain Bolt. Features include a "NightNav" LED light for training in the dark, a "CoolTouch" thermo regulator and a "WeatherSeal" protection, meaning the headphones can be used in all conditions.
The AKG N90Q will be available for sale in summer 2015.
Autonomous Audi drives itself to CES
A specially adapted version of Audi's flagship A7 coupé covered over 500 miles to get from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas with much of the time spent traveling on full auto pilot.
In all, the journey covered 560 miles (900km) with an Audi test driver in the passenger seat and a number of invited journalists in the back, each of whom got a chance to sit in the driver's seat for some hands-off experience.
"The results of the test drive underscore our piloted driving competency", said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member for Technical Development. "I'd like to thank the team of Audi engineers, VW Group R&D and the Electronics Research Laboratory for making it such a great success."
The purpose of the trip was to demonstrate the capabilities of a host of production-ready sensors as well as the A7's existing standard sensors and assisted driving technology. Working together the sensors can take over driving duties at speeds of up to 70mph (just over 110 km/h), keeping a safe speed and safe distance from the vehicle in front, and able to initiate lane-changing maneuvers.
When the system hits its current limitations such as in congested city center situations, the driver is prompted to take charge once more.
Unlike in previous years, at the 2015 International CES Audi is by no means alone in using the event to demonstrate its latest breakthroughs in terms of piloted, connected and autonomous driving. Mercedes, Ford and BMW as well as Audi's parent, Volkswagen, have all taken to the stage this week to show what is already possible and to highlight where the future of self-driving cars is heading.
Wearable device sales set to rise sixfold by 2018: study
According to the European think tank IDATE, which presented its latest findings at CES in Las Vegas, worldwide sales of wearables (smartwatches, glasses, etc.) are due to reach 123 million devices in 2018, up from just over 20 million in 2014. This represents an average annual growth rate of 70%.
From 2015, smartwatches are expected to account for over half of all wearables sold, thanks namely to the maturity of the market and the launch of the Apple Watch. By 2018, IDATE estimates these connected wristwatches will account for 65% of the wearables market.
Connected glasses will account for an estimated 18% of the sector, despite being sold at a price point that is prohibitive for many consumers (over $1,000). Meanwhile, sales of connected wristbands are expected to decline starting in 2017, as their primary features and functions will progressively be added to other terminals (smartphones, smartwatches) whose prices will continue to decline.
Overall, IDATE expects the volume of consumer electronic devices sold worldwide to rise from 2.4 billion in 2014 to 3.6 billion in 2018. The strongest growth is due to come from the mobile devices segment (including smartphones, tablets and portable gaming consoles), which will see an estimated average annual growth rate of 12% over the period.
In the meantime, the internet of things (IoT) is the major tech trend of the moment, as illustrated by the 900 exhibitors presenting connected "things" and related services at CES 2015 running through January 9.
Panasonic unveils gluten-free bread maker
Gluten-free eating was one of the big health trends last year and it looks set to continue into 2015. Yet sticking to the diet doesn't necessarily mean cutting out your favorite baked goods, as a new gluten-free bread maker proves.
The brainchild of Panasonic, the SD-YR2500 Bread Maker offers a short-rise feature that enables users to also bake gluten-free foods using a wide range of recipes, in addition to standard "rise" modes.
In fact, the machine's 16 different baking modes mean it can be used to whip up white bread, baguettes, pizza dough, pasta dough and more. An external temperature sensor measures and adjusts temperatures throughout the baking process to ensure a consistent finish.
It was unveiled at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, alongside the brand's MJ-L500 Slow Juicer. The juicer features a powerful low-speed DC150W motor which enables the user to create healthy drinks from frozen fruits and vegetables as well as hard or dense whole foods and helps to preserve the food's nutrients.
The Slow Juicer will become commercially available in July and the bread maker in September.