10 future gadgets that are already here
The biggest technology show in the world has thrown up some tech that’s out of this world - this is what you need to know…
Each January we get a preview of the tech coming that year and beyond at a little show called CES.
CES 2024 took over Las Vegas one more this month, encompassing thousands of exhibitors and more than 100,000 attendees. But we're not really here for the stats. We want the gadgets, the goodies, the world-changing AI smarts and, yes, the flying cars.
Here are the 10 bits of tech we saw that feel more futuristic and forward-looking than the rest.
10 future gadgets that are already here
1. Withings Beamo
Withings has a knack for creating catchy health gadgets. The Beamo is a “4-in-1” health check-up that offers ECG heart readings, temperature, blood oxygen and, most unusual, a “digital stethoscope” that listens to the sound of your lungs to make sure it’s all tickety-boo.
2. LG Signature OLED T
A TV fit for a Bond baddie's lair, this set uses a transparent screen, one that can make it look as though virtual fish are floating in the air. And when you actually want to watch a movie, a black backplane can be rolled up behind — motorised and everything — to make it look like a normal OLED TV.
3. Nanoleaf Orchestrator Software
Nanoleaf smart lights have been able to sync with music since 2017, but the new Orchestrator software takes it to the next level. It uses closer analysis of tracks to identify the beat and melody. And you get more control and customisation over what the performance looks like, down to the level of being able to make certain lights react to bass lines, for example.
4. Segway GoKart Pro 2
Think Segways are slightly embarrassing things driven by helmeted holiday-makers? Think again. The GoKart Pro 2 is an electric go kart that can reach almost 30mph on the track. And when indoors you can use it as a sim rig for racing video games, complete with vibration feedback.
5. Ballie robot
Ballie is back. Samsung showed off a Ballie robot in 2020. But in 2024 he has loads more AI (doesn’t everything) and a projector where a Pixar robot’s eyes would be. It moves. It speaks. It can project your favourite YouTuber across your kitchen wall. It’s damn cute. Will it ever go on sale? We have our doubts.
6. Rabbit R1
It’s not a phone. It’s not a tablet. It’s an AI portal that shows you the results of voice requests on digital info cards, flicked through using a little rocker control. The secret sauce is the Teenage Engineering design, which helps make it so desirable. Even though your phone can already do all this stuff and more. $199 on pre-order.
7. XPeng AeroHT eVOTL
You may have seen those CGI rendered concepts of flying cars and trains on stilts on social media, but XPeng has actually made one, a flying car prototype. It looks like a sports car, and a set of quadcopter propellors extend out of the rear on command. Wild. Did it actually work at the show? Of course not, but XPeng has apparently opened preorders for a different modular flying car, due in 2025.
8. JBL Live TWS 3 t
You’ve heard of true wireless (TW) earphones, right? And wireless charging TW earphones? These are TW earphones with a tiny TV built into the case. OK, sure you’re not going to be watching episodes of Frasier on the 1.45-inch LCD display, but it can show album art or pics of your dog. Sold!
9. Mercedes Sound Drive
Mercedes-Benz has teamed up with Black Eyed Peas’s self-promotion powerhouse Will.I.Am to launch Sound Drive. It’s an AI-influenced system that makes music react to your driving — acceleration, braking, steering, gear shifts — to make it feel as though it’s really a soundtrack to your journey. Apparently it only works with specific tracks tailored for the system at present, mind.
10. Willtex Willcook
This one sounds like a random product generator. It’s a bag… that can cook your dinner. Willtex is a textile company that makes bags and rucksacks with heating pouches that can reach 80 degrees centigrade in just a few minutes. And it’s powered by the same sort of battery pack you might use to charge your phone. Maybe leave off trying to cook raw chicken in this one, though, eh?