Smart remote to self-balancing car: Meet the game changing gadgets at CES 2017

Here’s a look at some of the most innovative gadgets at the trade show
Toyota Concept-i car is among the truly innovative products showcased at the CES this year
Toyota Concept-i car is among the truly innovative products showcased at the CES this year
Updated on Jan 22, 2017 08:36 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByRajiv Makhni

I started this column as part II of a report on CES 2017 with some good stuff, a few of the junky products and closing it with some of the weird. Halfway through, I realised that the list of truly innovative stuff was long and very meritorious. Thus, I’m dedicating this column to all the game-changing technology and products of CES 2017. Some of these will change the world this year.

Sevenhugs Smart Remote

Sevenhugs Smart Remote
Sevenhugs Smart Remote

Remotes are a mixed blessing. A universal remote was supposedly the solution, but all of them have either been useless or too complex to set up. Enter the Sevenhugs Remote that knows what device you’re pointing it towards and it automatically draws up the right buttons. Aim it at a TV or a Blu-ray player or even your DTH box and it’ll know what you need instantly. Its contextually aware system works with a proprietary indoor positioning system and is uncannily accurate.

Neonode AirBar

The first touchscreen Apple MacBook is here. Except Apple doesn’t make it! The AirBar from Neonode makes it happen. This small strip attaches to the base of the 13-inch MacBook and throws out a completely invisible light field over the screen, turning your laptop into a proper and very precise touchscreen.
And it’s not just restricted to touch and opening apps. You can pretty much do everything with it – tap, swipe, pinch and zoom.

Laundroid Cupboard

Laundroid Cupboard
Laundroid Cupboard

Imagine a basket full of clothes, all different and all as dirty as they can be. Just throw them into your cupboard and go to work or for a movie. When you come back, the clothes have been washed, dried, ironed, folded, categorised and put in the right place in the cupboard. This is no pipe dream. Integrated with image analysis, AI and robotics as its core technology, this Landroid can do it all.

HTC U Ultra and Play

Two new phones from HTC break the innovation bank open. The design is almost liquid and flows with curves around the outer body and display. Four brilliant colours, switchable optics from UltraPixel mode, custom tuning of the audio to fit your specific hearing, built-in voice assistants that go one step ahead of Google and a new feature called HTC Sense Companion. The Ultra has a small second display on the top with a 5.7-inch 2560×1440 display and 4GB RAM, while the Play has some similar specifications.


This one is both a jaw-dropping and a Eureka moment. As you play around with Tanvas, the touchscreen simulates whatever is displayed on-screen including textures, shapes and even patterns. This amazing magic happens with haptics at a whole new level. It uses electrostatic fields to create friction that your finger can feel and decipher. Thus, you can feel textures, lines, waves and a whole lot more. Hope this gets adopted by all the big players soon.

Xolo Era 2X

Xolo Era 2X
Xolo Era 2X

Technically, Xolo Era 2X wasn’t launched at CES, just showcased in Las Vegas to a select few. But it’s a game changer in its category of phones priced at 6K. A fingerprint scanner and great optics are usually reserved for phones over 10K, but this brings in all that plus a great looking form factor and marries it with powerful hardware and a 2500mAh battery. Few phones at CES can take on this economy champion.

Honda’s Self Balancer

Autonomous cars have one big advantage. Because they have four wheels, they are well balanced. Moving towards an autonomous motorcycle, the balancing problem needs to be solved first. And Honda did just that with its new Riding Assistant technology that keeps your bike balanced even when it’s moving at speeds less than three miles per hour. So the time isn’t far when you could ask your bike to come out of the garage all on its own and drive you to work while you read a newspaper.

The Vive by HTC

HTC Vive VR system
HTC Vive VR system

The new add-ons for HTC Vive, the best VR system in the world, just took it to a new level. The Deluxe Audio Strap is an audiophile-level headset-mounted headphone system. The TPCast wireless adapter makes your headset truly wireless as it connects to a PC, while the ViveTracker turns almost anything into a VR controller. Yes, that means you can use it to turn your own daily objects, a toy or even a real sword into a controller.

Toyota Concept-i

Toyota i stood out among the futuristic cars at CES because of the emotional connect. It does all the cool stuff like self-drive and connected mode, but it also prioritises user experience, combining AI driving and its own virtual assistant that learns the driver’s moods, needs and preferences, and acts accordingly. It’s also amazing looking.

From HT Brunch, January 22, 2017

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