This year's Consumer Electronics Show - CES 2019 - kicked off Tuesday in Las Vegas. CES is an annual event where developers showcase their new technological and electronic innovations.
The event is so big, it will be spread out across three separate blocks and divided into Tech East, Tech West and Tech South. Tech East will be held in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Westgate Hotel, and Renaissance Hotel. Tech West will be encompassed within Sands Expo, as well as the Venetian, Palazzo, Wynn and Encore hotels. Finally, Tech South will go on within the Aria, Park MGM, and Vdara.
The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show officially started Tuesday, but it's already been a busy week loaded with innovative technologies, new gadgets, and major announcements from the world's largest hardware makers.
The Consumer Technology Association, CTA - the group that organizes CES - announced a $10 million commitment to women, diverse founders and diverse leadership teams. The money will help women, people of color and underrepresented startups and entrepreneurs gain equal access to venture funding.
"The U.S. needs to invest in a diverse talent pool to capture great ideas and innovation and help birth more 'unicorn' companies," said Tiffany Moore, senior vice president, political and industry affairs, CTA.
Bots to fold laundry, brush teeth and make bread
A device that promises to fold a "full load of laundry," has gained widespread attention at CES and online. CNET's Megan Wollerton tried out the Foldimate, which looks somewhat like a mini fridge and is supposed to fold 25 clothing items in under 5 minutes.
Wollerton tried everything from large long-sleeve button-down shirts to small short-sleeve shirts. She placed the items one at a time into the Foldimate and let it work its magic. "The result every time was a crisp, clean fold," Wollerton reported.
The only downside was the fact that Foldimat wouldn't reveal its secret or let people look inside to see how the clothing was being folded, according to Wollerton.
The mysterious folding device is still a prototype, but the company hopes to have a retail version by the end of 2019. It will cost roughly $1,000.
Other must-see products on CNET's list include the Y-Brush toothbrush and a bread-making robot.
The Y-Brush promises to clean your teeth in 10 seconds, according to CNET. The Bread Bot is a fully automated bread-making machine that mixes, kneads, proofs, bakes and sells bread like a vending machine.
Combined, these must-see products could seemingly cut your routine in half, allowing you to spend your morning folding laundry, brushing your teeth and making bread for breakfast all at the same time.
7 tech startups win CES climate change awards
Using tech to combat climate change has emerged as one of this year's big trends and CTA, the organization that puts on the show, honored seven startups as "climate change innovators." These companies presented innovative ideas about how tech can help conserve energy and clean up the environment.
The second-annual CES Eureka Park Climate Change Innovators content winners include:
- Blue Whale Company Spy Can Compact: A smart valve that detects leaks and overconsumption in pipes
- Connected Garden Archibald: A personal digital gardener that matches plants to locations in your garden
- GoSun Fusion: A hybrid solar cooker that allows people to cook day or night with only solar power
- Heatworks MODEL 3 Water Heater: Heats water 99 percent more efficiently
- LUMI'IN FLEX: A smart solar LED street light adaptable to any lamp post
- NanoScent: A real-time detector that senses volatile organic compounds in the air
- SmartEmbed Eddo.drop: An Internet of Things (IoT) device that controls shower duration in your home
Urban Canopee's tech oasis at CES
Another cool climate tech company is Urban Canopee, who are using 5G and AI to help make cities more green and more clean. Canopies of climbing plants are grown over lightweight, adaptable and flexible frames, which either stand alone or can be placed together in modules to allow the plants to weave together to form a leafy ceiling.
Deep within the cavernous Las Vegas hotel ballroom, Urban Canopee displayed a downsized version of their test project located in France. CNET's Katie Collins described it as a "green and pleasant oasis" inside the electronic and metal floor of the Consumer Electronics Show.
Urban Canopee says their long-term goal is to make cities more resilient against climate change while allowing them to meet new green regulations and support the wider fight against climate change. Their kits include sensors to monitor hydration levels and an intelligent connected irrigation system that runs on solar power.
What to expect from CES 2019
Each year over 180,000 people attend the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to experience the latest in cutting edge tech. The show covers over 2.9 million square feet with gadgets and technologies with the potential to change the lives of billions of people. Nearly 1,200 new startups debut products at the show, making CES the largest incubator in the world.
This year we'll hear a lot about evolutionary technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence and connected smart devices.
Big trends to watch
- Smart homes and smart transportation hubs
- Lots of new phones, watches and personal gadgets
- Drones for consumers and business are flying high
- 4K, 8K and Micro-LED televisions are everywhere
- Health tech has a lot of potential
- AI is everywhere
- VR and AR might still have a massive impact in coming years
HTC unveils new virtual reality (VR) headsets
HTC Corporation, developer of the Vive virtual reality headset, unveiled a handful of new VR-focused products and services during its CES press conference. Chief among them are two new headsets. The Vive Cosmos is the company's next flagship consumer headset. Details were scant, though HTC highlighted aspects of it that address common complaints about VR headsets: it will be more comfortable and easier to set up than competing VR headsets, as it doesn't require any external tracking equipment. Additionally, it can be used both at home and on the go. HTC has yet to announce a price point or release date for the headset, only teasing it will be "coming soon."
HTC's other newly revealed headset, the Vive Pro Eye, integrates new eye-tracking technology that negates the need to use handheld controllers. However, unlike the standard Vive, this is geared not toward gaming, as is often the case with VR headsets, but toward businesses. HTC says the new tech will allow companies to develop better training simulations, among other enterprise-focused uses. As with the Cosmos, it was only said to be coming "soon," with no specific release date or price shared.
On the service side, HTC announced it will introduce a new tier to its Viveport game-streaming service dubbed Viveport Infinity, which will give subscribers unlimited access to the entire Viveport catalog for a monthly fee. Infinity will launch April 5, although HTC has yet to specify subscription prices.
The company also announced a virtual social space called the Vive Reality System, which will allow users to connect with each other and watch movies, play games and take part in other activities together in VR.
Kohler announced a new smart toilet. The company's intelligent toilet is a part of the company's smart bathroom collection and will be a "fully immersive experience" with a heated seat, personalized cleansing, ambient lighting, voice control and Amazon Alexa support.
Kohler says a cleansing feature utilizes warm water that alternates between soft and strong pressure is an alternative to toilet tissue. The toilet rinses itself before and after use.
This is Kohler's second year at CES. The full smart bathroom collection includes bathroom fixtures with smart lights and new Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror powered by Google Assistant. Last year's model was powered by Amazon's Alexa.
Ford cellular tech makes smart cars smarter
Ford announced a cellular connected technology will allow smart cars to do more on the road. In a collaborative effort with Qualcomm, Ford used CES 2019 to demonstrate their cellular vehicle-to-everything technology -- which they refer to as C-V2X.
The automaker said their cellular technology can navigate roads, detect risks like pedestrians and share data with other cars to help ease traffic congestion. Ford plans to launch the new tech in cars starting in 2022. By then, the emergence of 5G will make the technology and connectivity even better.
Impossible Burger 2.0 unveiled today
Impossible Foods unveiled the Impossible Burger 2.0, a meat-free "burger" that sizzles, pops and tastes just like real beef. Almost.
Impossible Foods is known for its plant-based vegan burger that tastes a lot like real beef. Founded in 2011, the company was first to use an ingredient called heme, a blood-like compound found in all living things and that can replicate the taste, color and aroma of meat.
CNET reporter Dara Kerr tried the burger at a test kitchen a couple of weeks ago. She described it as having "a juicy pink interior with a smoky charred crust" and describing the faux meat as "soft and savory."
"I couldn't tell it wasn't the real thing," she wrote in her review.