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CES: Sensors, robots and data rule: Tech show peeks into future

Sensors provide a host of data from wearables to automobiles at the CES show in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of CES1 / 3
The CES show highlights consumer technology in a fast-paced world where tech is already integrated into everyday life to a tremendous degree and changing how people live, work and interact, including Buddy, a social robot designed for the family. Photo courtesy of CES2 / 3
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Imagine a sensor in clothing telling the thermostat to adjust the room temperature, or playing air guitar and really creating music, or watching a football game from the quarterback's viewpoint.

All those items and many more were part of the CES show, which ended last week in Las Vegas. The annual gathering showcases items that are both market ready and ones that challenge and invigorate the mind with their possibility for the future. A future that is not on a distant horizon, but close at hand.

The CES show highlights consumer technology in a fast-paced world where tech is already integrated into everyday life to a tremendous degree and changing how people live, work and interact. To walk the halls of the CES can be overwhelming, said Michael Moroni, a project and product specialist at Consolidated Telecommunications Co. Moroni covered the event for the Dispatch.

"One of my big takeaways from Intel and CES is data is essentially king," Moroni said. "The more things we can find out about our habits the more things we will have in our future."

Moroni noted the Intel keynote presentation. While a piano player used a real keyboard, a drummer and guitarist wore gloves with sensors instead of physically touching guitar strings and drumsticks to make music with data.

For some, the potential interaction with data may be even a little off-putting. While others may embrace the ways technology will become even more closely entwined in daily life. It's also why data security is one of the biggest issues of the day. Moroni pointed to sensors that can learn human habits and tell from a stressful day what the best music may be, what the best dinner menu may be or what show to watch may best fit in response.

Moroni noted the driving experience also had vehicles processing habits and stress levels. Autonomous vehicles processed and centralized data so when one vehicle braked in response to a crash, the others responded in kind farther back in traffic—already knowing what was ahead.

On the entertainment side, a football game could have hundreds of televisions all constantly recording creating a virtual reality 3-D immersive environment where a viewer could choose which camera angle to use to watch the game on a computer, even seeing it from the quarterback's perspective. All the camera angles recently in play and replayed in video bites of the last play in Sunday's Vikings game are just a small taste of what this experience could be like. The amount of data and bandwidth needed for this would be immense. But the concept could be in play as early as the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Moroni said Whirlpool is working with a recipe company. For the age-old question of what's for dinner, the cook need only take a photo of the fridge contents to receive recipes to make from what's inside. If the meal needs to go in the oven, it would turn itself on to preheat and a screen on the fridge would provide step-by-step instructions for the cook.

Moroni said it feels as though things people are seeing only in movies are coming sooner than people may think. One futuristic idea has the storefront coming to the consumer. Want to order a pair of Skechers shoes? A storefront could come to a neighborhood block with the shopper going in and picking up their shoes and walking out, with the cost automatically charged to them. A mobile office would pick commuters up for work with a work desk setup so people could start the work day from the vehicle with an office-like feel to it. Need to travel farther? Call a mobile hotel to give the option of sleeping in comfort along the way.

Car and Driver reported Toyota sees the mobile, rolling storefronts as the next step in retail revolution. The plan calls for rolling vehicles in three sizes allowing a business or retailer to offer a rolling storefront as early as 2020.

CES reported its dazzling glimpse into the future ended its run with more than 3,900 exhibitors showcasing world-changing technologies covered more than 2.75 million-net-square-feet of exhibit space for the largest show floor in CES' 51-year history. The show included major household name brands and more than 900 startups. There were 860,732 tweets about CES 2018 and 450,554 uses of the #CES2018 hashtag in social media.

The Aipoly autonomous store platform was one of the CES honorees for its best of innovations. Others included: Siren Smart Socks for diabetics to detect inflammation using temperature sensors; Buddy, the first companion robot for the family; Wallet Card, a battery-operated, multi-use card that can store multiple accounts from credit to debit and prepaid or loyalty cards with a screen to switch between accounts; Willow Wearable Breast Pump, which Engadget reported slides into a nursing bra and allows hands-free pumping; Samsung's The Wall TV, a 146-inch modular TV with MicroLED technology with which consumers can customize the TV size and shape and use it as a smart-home hub; and a heads-up display for motorcycle helmets with maps, traffic data and an ability to take phone calls.

Other winners in the innovation awards included a 3-D touch surface display, 3-D camera and a smart, battery-equipped electric space heater, and ElliQ, a smart social robot designed to serve the elderly.

For Moroni, attending the CES show also provided an option to be out in shirtsleeves in 50-degree weather when Nevada natives were wearing parkas to ward off the chill.