The world famous Consumer Electronic Show took place in Las Vegas this past weekend and what a better way to start my monthly look at tech series off than with a look at some of the very cool things showcased at this years event.
In keeping with my always sunny disposition lets start with one of the winners of a CES Innovation Award the Raybot. Created by ECOVACS Robotics, Raybot is a water-free robot designed for the automated cleaning of solar panels. It uses a blow-sweep-vacuum system to get rid of dust and debris and keep your solar panels operating at maximum efficiency and it’s sensors allow it to calculate the perfect coverage routine based on panel surface area. Considering how much of a pain solar panels are to clean (ie too much unless you absolutely have to) and how much energy can be lost due to dust and sand layering on the cells, this little robot is really a must have for anyone rocking solar power these days. ECOVACS also showed of another cool little robot called Benebot which is designed for in store sales assistance. Capable of carrying on full conversations, pointing customers in the right direction via it’s laser pointer, and even learning a customer’s name Benebot is the first step towards robot assisted shopping and definitely worth checking out.
Drones were the talk of the show with such a plethora of unmanned craft that they got their own section this year. From the Ehang Ghost, a crowd-funded smartphone controlled drone designed for taking aerial pictures, to the Hubsan X4 Pro, which with its HD camera stabilized by a 3-axis gimbal and safety features like auto-return and a parachute certainly earns the name Pro, the innovations in drone technology just kept coming. But what I thought was one of the cooler things to come out of CES was drone manufacturing company DJI’s push on their recently released Software Development Kit which allows users to create their own software for use with the company’s drones such as the Phantom 2. A couple of neat apps have come out of this including a aerial mapping program and an app called Pixiepath which allows the user to control multiple drones simultaneously from the same device.
And finally if cars get any more automated we’re going to start calling them robots as multiple car companies revealed tech that further made the presence of a human driver unnecessary. Volkswagen unveiled its trained parking technology which allows a driver to automatically park and retrieve their car while standing at the curb but the big winner was Audi’s A7 which made the 550 mile drive from the Bay Area to Las Vegas completely unmanned. While the technology still has a long way to go for city driving for open road, long distance driving automobile automated piloting is really close to being a part of regular day life.
That’s it for my CES round up. Some very exciting things on the horizon. Until next time remember that Robots Don’t Wear Belts.