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Goldstuck on Gadgets

Goldstuck on Gadgets: Best of CES 2024 (Pt 2)

At the biggest gadgets launchpad of the year, ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK makes his pick of the best in the second of a 2-part feature.

CES, formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, attracts more than 150,000 people to Las Vegas in the second week of January every year. This year, it has brought together more than 4000 exhibitors, including global brands and startups, industry professionals, media and government leaders.

The organisers recognise the year’s hottest products through the CES Innovation Awards, an annual competition that honours outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products. From several hundred honorees, we have narrowed the choice down to our 20 top picks of CES 2024. The next ten, in no specific order, are:

Best smartphone tech

NxtPaper 40, from TCL

TCL claims line honours for the NxtPaper 40 as the world’s first smartphone to provide a “full-colour, monochrome paper-like visual experience”, fills the gap between smartphones and e-readers. 

“As screen time surges, so do concerns about eye health risks due to harmful blue light exposure,” says the company, best known for its TV technology, along with manufacturing Alcatel handsets. “TCL’s affordable NXTPAPER 40 addresses these concerns, offering industry-leading eye comfort with tactile paper-like experience that merges the convenience of modern technology into one seamless product.”

Best wearable gadget

Juno Snow Boot, from Kizik

The Iron man vision of clothes that fit themselves to the wearer comes closer with the Juno Snow Boot by Kizik, “the world’s first hands-free snow boot”. The wearer steps into the Juno boot, connecting with “External Cage technology” at the back of the heel, and slides their foot forward. The boot’s rigid back guides the foot forward, activating the heel technology. Once the foot is fully inside, the External Cage springs back up to secure and lock it in. The Cage doubles as a pivot point for the ankle, promising a wider range of motion and a natural, comfortable experience.

Best kids robot

Loona companion robot, from Beijing KEYi Technology

The Loona companion robot abandons the traditional robotic pets’ approach of attributing human qualities to an animal, blending technology and pet behaviour in the design. It is in effect a smart toy and companion, incorporating interactive games, a moveable home monitor, and a programming learning platform. It is claimed to be the world’s first consumer robot equipped with the ChatGPT artificial intelligence chatbot, which gives it the capacity to have natural human conversations and unlock “companionship possibilities”.

Best health robot

H-Flex, customisable wearable robot, from Hurotics

H-Flex is a wearable robot that offers personalised assistance based on users’ needs. Most standard assistive robotic systems tend to be too generic to meet the extensive requirements of users. Its modular actuation units use Edge AI – artificial intelligence built into devices – to allow users to tailor the robot to their specific needs. Rehabilitation programs provided within the application combine with a usage log to enhance its effectiveness. 

Best service robot

M3 delivery robot, from MOBINN

The M3 delivery robot promises delivery services “anywhere, anytime”, thanks to an independently developed wheel system that allows it to overcome obstacles, like stairs or bumps. Its super power s the stability of the delivery item, as it is designed to  keep the loading box horizontal regardless of its angle of movement. That means the M3 can even deliver coffee without spilling a drop. It uses a LiDAR-based mapping system, usually found in cars,  to operate regardless of the outside environment.

Best integrated AI tech

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Mobile Platform, from Qualcomm

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is the first mobile platform designed for the era of generative AI. As Qualcomm’s latest flagship chip, it claims a variety of breakthrough innovations that cover connectivity, sound, capture, and gameplay. It is targeted at high-end smartphones, meaning that it will offer generative AI capacity in handsets, most likely starting with the Samsung S24 range due to be launched on 17 January. Qualcomm is not shy of hype, promising to tackle complex productivity and creative tasks with “total privacy, monumental artistry, and unparalleled on-the-go proficiency”.

Best consumer AI tech

WHSP Ring, from Vtouch

WHSP Ring is a wearable voice input ring for chatting with artificial intelligence (AI) tools. One speaks to the device to activate voice chatting, which uses proximity-based speech recognition technology. That means it doesn’t need a wake word, as with Siri or Google Assistant. Thanks to distance sensors, says Vtouch, it can also distinguish system input from everyday conversations, even in noisy environments. “Its exceptional precision can even recognize whispers, addressing privacy concerns,” says the company.

Best vehicle gadget

Interactive Transparent Window, from AUO

The AUO Interactive Transparent Window promises “an amazing visual experience in cockpit by seamlessly integrating transparent displays into side windows and controllers”. Why would one want such distractions in a car? AUO says it fulfills a range of needs, from basic entertainment functions and online meetings to interactive mixed reality experiences. More significantly, however, the window connects with side mirror cameras and issues warnings to passengers when they open the door without noticing approaching vehicles.

Best communications gadget

MT6825 chip, from MediaTek

The MT6825 mobile chipset supports two-way satellite communications in smartphones and other connected devices. Users of such devices will be able send messages and share their location even when cellular coverage is unreliable or unavailable and request assistance in emergency situations. It is already built into the Motorola satellite link and Cat S75 smartphone.

Most visionary tech

Sound2Energy, from LV Energy

Sound2Energy offers a new method of generating electric energy, harvesting it from ambient sound sources, ie noise in one’s environment. LV calls it “a next major step in sustainable energy production to support the global energy transition goals”. As it points out, in many situations, sound is available 24/7, and not intermittent like solar and wind power, making it a continuous energy source.

* CES, formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, is one of the most influential tech events in the world, serving as the launchpad for several thousand new products every January in Las Vegas. It is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), and features every aspect of the tech sector.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on Twitter and Threads on @art2gee.

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