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CES: Voice assisted bed? We’ll sleep on it

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The Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s come up with the solution for better sleep: the Alexa-enabled bed.

It says the bed with Alexa built-in will serve as the centrepiece for bedtime routines, “bringing simple and elegant control to technology-filled bedrooms”. 

DUX, in partnership with stellé, a smart speaker company, announced the bed at CES 2019 in Las Vegas this week. It said it made the announcement “to kick off its mission to seamlessly integrate technology into the bedroom through products and features designed to foster the ideal sleep environment”.

“Too often tech is a distraction at bedtime, but with the launch of our bed that has Alexa built into it, we’re changing that,” said Ed Curry, president of DUX North America. “Our goal is to combine our expertise in sleep science with voice-activated technology that delivers seamless – and effortless – bedtime routines.”

The bed will be available online and in most DUXIANA stores throughout the USA. from May. It is available in queen, king and California king sizes with a king-size bed retailing for US$4,950.

The Alexa module is discreetly mounted to the underside of the bed. 

“Design should create an emotional connection with the product and the brand,” said Wayne Ludlum, president and co-founder, stellé.  “And we’re thrilled to collaborate with DUX to bring voice and technology into the bedroom.”

DUX said it has studied sleep science for nearly a century, all in an effort to provide the best sleep possible. 

“But as important as a great bed is, a relaxing evening routine also is critical for a good night’s sleep. That’s where DUX’s tech integration comes into play. With the DUX app synced to your bed, you can manage your home from under the covers – without lifting a finger.

“We know those 15 to 30 minutes right before bed are so important, as you start to unwind and get ready to sleep,” Curry said. “The partnership with stellé is the first step in positioning DUX as a bedtime concierge that handles everything from dimming the lights and guiding your evening meditation, to changing the temperature for ideal sleeping conditions.”

DUX made no official comment on how the bed responds to people talking in their sleep. Is the idea ready for the big time? For now, we at Gadget conclude, we’ll sleep on it.

* To learn more about DUX’s new bed, visit duxiana.com/CES.

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CES: Most useless gadgets

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

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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”

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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

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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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