THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- JANUARY 14, 2023
The Consumer Electronics Show was this week in Las Vegas. It's billed as the most influential tech event in the world. “This is where the world's sharpest innovators hit the stage.” Part of the array of the coolest of the cool are things that could actually filter down to the everyday lives of we common folk.
For example, would you be interested in a wireless television set? “LG Electronics unveiled what it calls a Zero Connect Box that streams content wirelessly. The box just needs to be within 30 feet of the display.”
How does this have the potential to make your life easier? “It means owners can place a TV in the center of the room without all the messy wires, or maybe mount it above a fireplace or perhaps on a hard-to-drill concrete wall.” (https://apnews.com/article/technology-consumer-electronics-show-las-vegas-business-636992098ae9b734356ce5eea794f715)
Also in the TV realm, Roku is debuting internet-connected TVs bearing its brand for the first time. “When the sets roll out later this spring, it will mark the first time that Roku has made its own TVs. Roku’s eleven models, with display screens ranging from twenty-four to seventy-five inches, are expected to sell for about $120 to $1,000.”
Those TVs are pretty fancy, but a common kitchen appliance may be even fancier. “GE Profile unveiled a smart mixer that lets you weigh your ingredients in the bowl while you’re working. The mixer also has an auto sensor that can monitor changes in texture and viscosity and adjust speed accordingly. It shuts itself off automatically to avoid over mixing.”
Better yet, the mixer has voice control so you can be watching that new TV while the mixer is doing its thing in the kitchen. “All that precision doesn’t come cheap — the mixer costs $999.95.” (https://apnews.com/article/CES-2023-las-vegas-technology-food-and-drink-best-of-d852902b3b3153196a2faaf92ab1851a?)
After a tough day of bossing around your kitchen appliances, a good night's sleep may be in order. If there's a person in your house who sounds like a chain saw when they snooze, there is a tech solution – an anti-snore pillow. “10Minds unveiled a pillow that detects snoring and then deploys little airbags to turn the sleeper’s head until it’s positioned so they no longer snore. It’s also, of course, hooked up to a smartphone app for on-screen snore analysis.” (https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/10minds-motion-pillow)
If you're well rested the next morning, it might be a chance to take a baby kidling for a walk. Enter the self-driving stroller. “The 'Ella' smart stroller has sensors that identify when there is a baby in the carriage and requires someone to be guiding it at those times. But the high-tech pram can self-brake, use driver assist to lighten the push, and drive around baby-less as needed.” (https://gluxkind.com)
On that walk you'll want to know what's going on around you. A new fitness tracker innovation, hearables, could be useful. “Hearables are defined as electronic in-ear devices designed with hearing-aid-like features. These clever hearing enhancement devices can increase the volume of any sounds in your environment, as they use both speakers and microphones to better capture and amplify noise. Hearables are the mid-point between true wireless earbuds and traditional hearing aids.” (https://www.reviewgeek.com/114421/what-are-hearables/)
If you walk too fast and get a speeding ticket do not despair. A robot lawyer, powered by artificial intelligence, may come to your aid. “In February, an AI from DoNotPay is set to tell a defendant exactly what to say and when during an entire court case. It is likely to be the first ever case defended by an artificial intelligence. The AI will run on a smartphone and listen to all speech in the courtroom before instructing the defendant on what to say via an earpiece.” (https://www.newscientist.com/article/2351893-ai-legal-assistant-will-help-defendant-fight-a-speeding-case-in-court/)
Whether this technology will eventually replace lawyers or function as a lawyer's assistant is up for debate. However, the company is very confident in this innovation. How confident? “The firm has made an offer for any lawyer or person with a case coming up at the Supreme Court to allow an AI to feed them lines, promising anyone who goes through with it will receive $1 million in return.” (https://knowyourmeme.com/news/ai-company-offers-one-million-dollars-for-robot-lawyer-to-argue-before-the-us-supreme-court)
With all this new tech it should come as no surprise that something has to power these things. This is why perhaps the most important development is in batteries. “There’s a lot of focus on portable power storage. These are more than your average charge-your-phone-once-or-twice battery packs, ranging from simple small power packs to sophisticated power stations that can connect to portable or rooftop solar. The biggest versions can power your whole home for weeks at the time.” These packs cover everything from a fridge with an ice maker to a flashlight. (https://techcrunch.com/2023/01/07/batteries-batteries-everywhere/)
Finally, sometimes a small piece of tech can transform a simple task into an entertaining activity. To wit, can you draw a perfect circle using just your finger or a cursor? Seems easy, right. See if you can do it at: https://neal.fun/perfect-circle/. I scored a forty-seven percent accuracy on my first attempt. See if you can top that impressive performance.
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.