As I headed to Las Vegas for another week of “all tech all the time” at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), I was excited to see if last year’s promises had turned into reality. Each year, CES attendees roll their eyes at the amazing prototypes that will never come to market, but this year seemed to be the year the tech concepts actually became a reality for consumers. I was not disappointed.
The 8K television revealed at last year’s CES is now available to consumers. The robot prototypes that left me in awe a year ago have come down in price and can now be introduced into your home to make it smarter and more like The Jetsons. Perhaps the most exciting news is that a mobile future with 5G networks will be revolutionary — and not only for human-to-human communication but also for communication between our connected cars.
CES is the world’s largest and most influential tech event with more than 182,000 attendees, including more than 63,000 from outside the U.S. The convention featured 4,500 exhibiting companies, which included more than 1,200 startups and more than 20,000 new products.
Franklin resident Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which is responsible for producing CES, said, “The entire technology ecosystem gathered at CES 2019 with the latest in 5G, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, smart cities, sports tech, 8K video technology, robotics and more. With every major and emerging industry at the show, CES 2019 is truly the global hub for innovation.”
The roll-up OLED TV from LG and Samsung’s 219-inch “The Wall” TV were very cool, as were the FlexPai, a foldable mobile phone from Royole Corporation, and all the Alexa-controlled devices (e.g., the Kohler Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet, the Cybec Legend bicycle, a motorcycle helmet, eyeglasses, a mattress, etc.). However, what I really appreciated were the computer-generated custom 3D shoe inserts by Dr. Scholl’s. A computer took photos of my bare feet and analyzed everything from my arch type to the various pressure points. It then created custom orthotics with my name on them and shipped them to my home. I’ve already noticed that my posture has improved when wearing the inserts. Anyone can be fitted for these inserts using the Dr. Scholl’s mobile app (iOS or Android).
I also enjoyed the Tennispot, a tennis simulator from GOLFZON, which allowed me to play tennis against the screen. While I have tried many golf simulators over the years, this was the first time I had an opportunity to work on my tennis game using augmented reality. Tennispot is more than simply a green screen around a ball machine. It virtually plots the trajectory of the ball to let you know if you are in or out of bounds. It can also read the speed of delivery and adjust its pitch-back speed and direction to keep the player guessing just like in an actual game of tennis against a human opponent. At $50,000, it’s a little pricey to get for my basement.
Last year at CES, I had the opportunity to ride in an autonomous vehicle on the streets of Las Vegas. This year, there were more BMW models powered by Aptiv’s autonomous vehicle technology for attendees to try. However, I opted to do something different. I rode in the passenger seat of a Valeo Drive4U Remote autonomous vehicle controlled by an off-site operator. The technology is designed to assist drivers, relieve them of certain driving tasks or even switch to manual driving mode when the vehicle is unable to handle a given situation.
Anything can happen on the road, from sudden severe weather conditions to an unexpected medical problem, which is when having an off-site controller is necessary. The Drive4U Remote will also come in handy in the future when we reach the final level of autonomous vehicles and our cars will be able to self-park at the curb of a restaurant, meaning valet parkers won’t be needed anymore.
CES is teeming with Israeli tech innovators and entrepreneurs. At Eureka Park, the area of CES filled with startups, an entire area of Israeli companies with pioneering technologies showcased new products. Israeli companies are at the forefront of tech innovation. Israeli startup Lishtot TestDrop Pro created the first personal water detecting device. At only $50, it will test water to ensure the tap water, bottled water or natural water you’re drinking is safe. These would have been beneficial during the Flint water crisis.
Another Israeli company that caught my attention at CES was Nanoscent. This startup makes human scent readable, which is similar to image and voice recognition, both now realities of our everyday digital world. Nanoscent can use its technology to test a potential couple’s matching likelihood based on their skin scent.
2sens is an Israeli company that has made it possible for anyone with a dual-camera to create mixed-reality videos (computer animation with actual real-time display). The 2sens solution allows users to mix between virtual content and the real world, including Occlusion and Interaction, all while the real-world content is dynamically changing. It is applicable to both AR glasses and smartphones. Check out the website at www.2sens.com to see it in action.
Each year after I return from CES, many people ask me what I saw. It’s not possible to recount all the innovative gadgets and futuristic computers, phones, drones and robots at CES. It is truly a sensory overload experience. However, it also is a taste of the future. Technology is evolving more rapidly than ever, and it’s exciting to witness.
Rabbi Jason Miller is president of Access Technology in West Bloomfield and a national expert on the intersection of technology and the Jewish world. Follow him on Twitter at