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What’s On Display At CES 2016?

We take a look at the good and not so good

8Jan

The Consumer Electronics Show takes place annually in Las Vegas. More than 3,000 companies are in attendance, looking to showcase their latest innovations. Some of them are good, some of them aren’t.

Among the more useful is the ili Wearable Translator. The world’s first wearable translator, the ili is a device worn around the neck that lets two people hold conversations in separate languages, without requiring a smartphone or even an Internet connection. The uses for this are many, and it could be that human translators will soon have to start looking for new work.

There is also the world’s first passenger drone, the Ehang 184. Created by Guangzhou-based company Ehang, the 184 is basically a larger version of a quadcopter drone, only with a small cockpit in the middle capable of carrying a single passenger. It has already had over 100 test flights according to its manufacturers, and can reach speeds of up to 63mph. The likely $300,000 price tag may prove prohibitive, however, and many are skeptical as to whether many countries will allow them in their airspace.

Samsung brought a number of offerings to the table this year, some of them exciting, some of them less so. Their smart refrigerator falls partially into the latter category. It features a two-foot touchscreen that enables the consumer to see what's inside without opening the door. It’s a mystery who at Samsung has been looking at their fridge and thinking ‘I want to know what’s inside without having to open the door’, but apparently they hold enough sway to get the tech giant to invest money in its development. Slightly more usefully, the camera on the inside enables people out shopping to remotely check whether they need anything.

Virtual reality has limitless possibilities, and is set to be one of the most exciting developments driving technology over the next year. With sales of virtual reality headsets projected to go up by 500%, with 1.2 million units sold, there are more than 40 exhibitors in Vegas to show off what they’ve been working on - a 77% increase on last year. Among these is the Oculus virtual reality headset, which offers wearers the opportunity to experience what it's like to be old. You can get an idea of what it’s like to drive with cataracts and glaucoma. It also offers an auditory experience that shows what it feels like when your hearing deteriorates. It’s not entirely clear who would want this, but someone, somewhere, must have been curious enough to warrant its existence.

HTC Vive on the other hand, is a more exciting proposition. The Vive is a fully-immersive headset which uses head-tracking technology and a pair of hand-held wireless controllers that enables you to interact with your environment, offering a far more engaging and exciting experience than any other.

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