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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

CES 2022: Colour changing cars and remotes that eat wi-fi


One of the tech calendar’s biggest annual events, CES, has been taking place in Las Vegas this week.

Because of the pandemic and concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant, attendance was down, and some of the largest companies, including Meta, Google, and Amazon, opted out.

But there was still a lot of strange and wonderful technology on display.

Here’s a look at some of the more unusual offerings and trends from the show floor.

Where’s the remote?

TVs have always been a big draw at CES, with the emphasis on big, as they seem to gain more inches every year.

This year, however, it was a much smaller accessory – the TV remote control – that was making headlines.

Samsung added a solar panel to the back of its remote in 2021, allowing it to charge from the sun while sitting on the arm of a chair.

This year, it devised a new strategy to eliminate the AAA battery market.

Its new version includes a tiny antennae that can harvest radio frequency signals emitted by wi-fi routers from up to 40m (131ft), allowing it to charge even when the sun isn’t shining.

Samsung stated that the device will be included with new TVs and other home appliances, but no technical specifications were provided.

Chameleon car

If you’ve ever grown tired of the colour of your car, you might like BMW’s idea of changing it on the spur of the moment.

It demonstrated how a car’s exterior could be converted into ePaper, which changes colour or creates a pattern when charged with a small electric current.

Its “iX Flow” technology, which powers e-book readers, covers the car in millions of tiny microcapsules.

The project is still in its early stages, but it is intended to be more than just cosmetic – switching to a lighter colour in hot weather or a darker colour in cooler weather will reduce the amount of cooling and heating required inside the vehicle, according to the company.

However, some critics noted that the system appeared to be temperature sensitive, while others questioned the colour selection, which is currently limited to white, black, and grey.

Robot-looking robots

Previous CES conferences have seen a parade of human-looking robots ranging from the ultra-cute to the extremely creepy, and while some of these were still on display, it appears that 2022 may herald the era of the more practical bot.

The Bear Robotics Servi one looked especially appealing as it wafted around a booth with burgers and sushi on trays, offering to replace human waiters.

Labrador Systems, which demonstrated its Retriever bot, was also the flavour of the week.

Chief executive Mike Dooley stated that it would be extremely useful for people “when pain or other health issues” prevented them from being as mobile as they would like.

Using sensors, the wheeled robot navigates its way through a house. Voice commands or an app are used to communicate with it.

It can hold about 25 pounds (11 kilogrammes) and has two shelves that can move up and down to accommodate different heights.

The robot is currently being tested, with the aim of going into production in 2023.

Whiter teeth

The beauty industry has long looked to technology to improve its offerings, and CES has become a showcase for much of what is cutting-edge in the cosmetic industry.

This year, Icon’s Sound Mirror.

AI received an award for innovation. It appears to be a standard mirror, but it conceals a voice-activated smart speaker that can play music, check the weather, set alarms, and control other smart devices.

Meanwhile, L’Oreal unveiled an at-home hair dye device, and Ninu debuted a smart perfume that, when connected to a smartphone app, can create a personalised fragrance.

Its high-tech bottle claims to be capable of producing 100 different fragrances based on mood, weather, or occasion. It is scheduled to begin shipping in June.

The Y-Brush, an unusual jaw-shaped electric toothbrush that claims to brush teeth in 10 seconds and debuted at CES in 2017, returned this year with an improved design. This includes a more comfortable handle and more modes, such as teeth whitening and gum care.

Virtual CES

With coronavirus still a threat to real-life events, some businesses chose to go entirely virtual, while others sought to combine their physical presence with the much-touted concept of the metaverse – a digital world in which some believe we will work, learn, and play in the future.

Samsung provided a “metaverse booth” where users could try out some of its products while decorating their own home.

Procter & Gamble also chose a “metaverse” experience. Users could wander the virtual grounds and learn about ingredients and the company’s sustainability initiatives, as well as chat with representatives from brands such as Gillette and Oral-B, thanks to a collaboration with London’s Royal Botanic Gardens (just make sure your avatar has perfect white teeth).


In its Green Forest Pavilion, South Korea-based SK Group provided visitors with a 360-degree video presentation that merged the physical and digital, showcasing its plans for global carbon reduction.



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