Last week’s annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES) brought the year to life with a showcase of the latest innovations, prototypes and roadmaps for the technologies that could potentially hit your shelves, pockets, wrists and bank balances over the years to come.
For media, entertainment, and consumer tech aficionados like ourselves, the highlights included the unveiling of a 98-inch 8K television, TVs that roll-up, the battle for the connected home, pioneering AR glasses and 360 Reality Audio. Yet CES is so much more. From automatic makeup appliances, which are able to identify colour and pigmentation of skin and rectify blemishes, intelligent toilets which provide “fully immersive experiences”, to walking cars that can climb 5ft walls and smart planks of wood that allow you to control your home through cloud-based services and displays – tomorrow’s world could be closer and crazier than we imagine.
But what of the innovations that are still to come? To find out, we did a quick sweep around our Marylebone office to discover the key omissions from the Vegas showfloor. It seems that Platformers want everything ranging from the sublime and the ridiculous, to the simple, practical and scientifically dubious…
David Bramley: “I’d like a dronephone. The phone would fly to you when you’ve left it somewhere. And I can’t believe that we still all own physical keys. Isn’t it time to get rid of them?”
David Lawrence: “A jet pack for me – being able to avoid getting the train would be awesome. Can I have two? Also, something that can automatically recognise, index and put records back in the right sleeves would save a lot time.”
Beth Clark: “I’d like a facial recognition passport or identification system that does away with the physical passport/driving licence etc. Your face would act as your identification and every time you travel, that would be scanned instead of a paper passport.”
Esme Horwood: “My idea would be a screen device that allows humans to understand what an animal is thinking when the animal’s face is being filmed. For example, your pet dog might be thinking ‘I want to go to the park’ – and suddenly, the thought would pop up on your screen!”
Farah Jifri: “A food replicator (a la Star Trek)!”
Faye Ratliff: “I’d like a robot that blow dries your hair and styles it by showing a photo of the desired look. Though, it could end up being very expectation vs reality!”
Freddie Weiss: A bed which cleans you, puts your clothes on and makes a cup of tea for you in the morning!
Hugh Filman: “Animated videos that are plugged into and shaped directly by a child’s brain – so that when the story is not going the way they want it, a device reads their thoughts and shapes the narrative in the way they would to see, also taking in their own creative leaps of imagination.”
James Michael-Holmes: “I’d like a device that could ‘record’ your dreams, either into a video or into some form of cartoon, with an automatic setting that would delete the footage after 24 hours. I think it would be fascinating – and would certainly end that nagging feeling you get when you wake up unable to recall a vivid dream.”
Lauren Alboini: “I’m still holding my breath and waiting for a teleportation machine to be invented. It would undeniably be the ultimate cure for all of us ‘inflicted’ with a never-ending travel bug! Imagine it being on demo at CES: visitors to the inventors’ stand could teleport to another hall at the show – or to any one of the casinos, restaurants and other hot spots in Vegas – and back. What other tech invention could outshine that? I guess we’ll find out in…2050?”
Lisa Towell: “I’d like a tracker for your glasses which you could locate using your phone.”
Segolene Roche: “How about shoes that automatically correct your gait and adjust to wear and tear of the heels? Up to 19% of older people having gait and balance abnormalities according to the NHS, resulting in a significant proportion of the population requiring inner soles. By designing shoes with in-soles that automatically correct the gait, in a similar way to memory foam mattresses, a lot of patients would avoid gait problems later in life. The ideal insole would also need to be able to identify wear and tear over time and offer extra cushioning.”
Zoe Mumba: “I want the headache taken out of shopping for clothes online. What looks great on a 5’10 model doesn’t (always!) suit me. I want a piece of technology that takes my exact measurements and produces an image of me wearing that particular piece of clothing. This would remove the hassle of ordering clothes, trying them on and sending back.”