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CES 2016 - Preview of This Year's New Technology

posted Mar 30, 2016, 8:40 PM by Jeffrey Wolf

The Oculus Rift VR headset, announced at CES to be shipped on March 28th for $599.

By: Korey Alder, Photography Editor

Posted January 27th, 2016

2016 is shaping up to be a great year for technology, if the CES 2016 is any indication of things to come. CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) is a technology convention held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, and attracts some of the biggest companies in the world. The renowned trade show draws thousands of people every year, all hoping to get a glimpse at the latest and greatest innovations from their favorite tech companies. This year's CES showcased dozens of industries and thousands of companies, and these are some of the more interesting highlights of event.

Oculus VR, the company currently leading the virtual-reality field at the moment, reported that their Rift headset will begin shipping the consumer version of their product on March 28th of this year. VR headsets, predicted by many to be the next phase in computer interaction and gaming, are basically two video screens held in place over a user's eyes, which then display a computer-generated environment in first-person. A separate sensor then tracks head movements and mirrors them in the virtual world. The idea behind this is to give the user the impression that they are actually present in the computer “world,” and this has almost unlimited possible applications. Although the Rift will be available to consumers everywhere in March, anyone looking to purchase will need a fairly powerful PC to run the device properly. Oculus' stated minimum requirements include a GTX 970 (or R9 290) or better, and i5 4590, and 8GB of RAM. Also needed are multiple USB ports and 64bit Windows 7 (Service Pack 1) or newer. These relatively high system requirements put the true price of using the Rift at well over a thousand dollars, something that will likely discourage all but dedicated enthusiasts.

As far as television goes, LG unveiled a prototype of a technology they hinted at last year: a flexible, paper-thin television screen. The 18-inch screen can be rolled up like a newspaper, and features a 1200x810 OLED display. Albeit not the highest pixel density around, its flexibility is still an impressive feat. There are a few drawbacks however; the screen can only be rolled (currently in one direction), not folded, and the prototype suffers from frequent dead pixels. Hopefully these issues will be addressed before the final launch. LG also claims to be developing larger versions, even past 55 inches, potentially making these televisions an extension of the current LG Curved 4K lineup.

CES is about all kinds of new innovations, and automobile technology is far from absent at the event. BMW showcased a prototype mirror-less i8 this year, which uses cameras instead of the traditional glass surfaces. Cameras mounted in the places of standard side mirrors, as well as in the center at the rear of the vehicle, feed to a computer screen placed where a traditional rear-view mirror would be located. Linus Sebastian, host of the popular LinusTechTips YouTube channel, took a ride in the prototype vehicle; you can watch it here:

Also falling under the category of personal transportation was the Ehang 184 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle. Designed by a recently founded Chinese company, the Ehang is essentially a large scale drone, capable of carrying a single passenger up to 10 miles through the air. After entering a destination, the drone will fly itself to the requested location, and, once landed, can fold up to fit in a parking space. Ehang also boasts about the prototype's safety and ease of use. The entire drone can be controlled from a single mobile app, and there are multiple redundant systems to prevent crashes. Now, this all sounds wonderfully futuristic, but company states that the tiny craft will cost between 200 and 300 thousand US dollars. Also in dispute is the legality of such a vehicle, as there are little to no regulations in place for this type of technology.

These and thousands of other great innovations came out of CES 2016, and this all clearly refutes the notion that “everything that can be invented has been invented.”