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CES: Samsung unveils shape-shifting TV

Samsung has unveiled a “build-your-own” TV with modular micro LED panels at the CES expo in Las Vegas, writes BRYAN TURNER.



Assembling a TV to the size one requires, after buying it, is here. At a press conference on Sunday, on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Samsung showcased a 75” TV made of a collection of 12” by 12” micro LED panels, pieced together seamlessly. 

Not every application for TV calls for widescreen, and that principle differentiates this TV: the panels don’t have to be clipped into a widescreen configuration to work. This makes square (1:1) or even vertical strip ratio configurations possible.

The customisable panel comes at an interesting time for screen ratios. Widescreen (16:9) has been a standard in movie content since the early 2000s, but some film-makers are opting to film in a wider-widescreen (18:9) for playback on the buttonless, all-screen Samsung and iPhone handsets. Other creatives may opt to show off their square videos on Instagram. 

Repairability is also a major plus for this type of modular technology. For example, dead pixels have been a cause of discarding a TV in the past, while modular technology would only require a section of the TV to be replaced. 

Micro LED technology is also a first from Samsung; it makes the embedded display technology even smaller and allows for an AMOLED-like viewing experience without the cost of potential screen burn-in.

“Micro LED will soon become a fixture of your everyday life,” said Andrew Sivori, vice president of Samsung Electronics America, at the press conference. “MicroLED will give you the power to create whatever you want, and to place it wherever you want it.”

Samsung has not announced when these panels will be available to consumers. It is likely that it is still evaluating market reception and the feasibility of producing the panels.

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CES: Most useless gadgets

The worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.



It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Language tech means no more “lost in translation”



Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator


The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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