Tech Talk: The “Jetsons”-Like Technologies Out of CES This Year

January 10, 2013  |  
HZO's Devin Markle grabbing a smartphone from beer to showcase that company's WaterBlock technology. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

The Consumer Electronics Show is always an interesting place to see and hear about the latest gadgets and technologies. With more than 150,000 attendees and tons of media (and social media coverage), it’s the technology event of the year.

CES 2013 is no exception and many companies introduced innovative hardware and software technologies that practically life with the Jetsons a reality. Here are nine cool technologies.

The Samsung T9000 French Door Refrigerator via Samsung's CES Live website

Internet on Everything: Smart Washing Machines and Refrigerators
Move over smart TVs and make room for smart-everything-else. At CES this year, Samsung showcased a refrigerator with a LCD screen, while LG debuted a washing machine and refrigerator with touch screens and wireless technology. Now if only they could cook and fold clothes for you!

The LG curved OLED TV. PRNewsFoto/LG Electronics

Thin, Thinner, Thinnest
Developers and designers are trying to out-do each other, making the thinnest gadgets ever. ZTE’s Nubia Z5 smartphone, which is only 7.6mm thick (about 0.30 inches), debuted in December, but as of CES, is available for pre-order. LG showed off its OLED 0.16-inch thick television (yes, 0.16 inches!) at CES, and MSI was featuring its Slider S20 Ultrabook Convertible, which is 0.78 inches thick.

Flexible Phone Screens and E-Paper Tablets
All this talk of super-thin gadgets leads into talk of flexible screens and display. Samsung demonstrated its flexible phone displays at CES this year, also highlighting that the technology could be used for televisions. Additionally, CES 2013 saw the official debut of PaperTab, a flexible e-paper, touchscreen tablet from Intel, Plastic Logic and Queen’s University.

The 55-inch OLED TV from Samsung. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File

The Next Generation of TVs
Flat-screen and 3D TVs are old news. Samsung led the television wars at 2013, showing off both a curved OLED TV and a duel-view OLED TV. The curved set, the company said, makes panoramic images more life-like, while the duel-view set is just that. It allows two people to watch two different shows at the same time. Will this solve all those marriage squabbles over the remote?

Self-Driving Cars
Automakers have been attending CES for several years and this year, Audi and Toyota showed off (occasionally) self-driving cars. This is building off of work Google has done in the space and paves the way for tools to assist drivers more consistently.

Mind-Controlled Helicopter
Taking self-driving cars one step further, NeuroSky demonstrated a mind-controller helicopter at CES 2013. According to Mashable, a Bluetooth translates brainwave data into flight commands, lifting up the helicopter when your brain is concentrating hard, and lowering it when you are more relaxed. Crazy!

Below is Mashable’s video coverage of the helicopter from November.

Vuzix Monocular Smart Glasses for Industrial Augmented Reality. (PRNewsFoto/Vuzix Corporation)

Wearable Technology
Google’s Project Glass is just the beginning. The search giant is finalizing features and capabilities of the high-tech glasses that allow users to take photos and record video, so far. But at CES this year, Vuzix is showcasing its own glasses and Kickstarter-backed smart watch company Pebble also hosted a press event.

On sale through Energizer

Wireless Charging
This technology has been building buzz in recent months and it has come to a head at CES, where thousands of tech-savvy, gadget geeks have convened, and I’m sure it’s been a challenge to find a plug to charge that iPhone. Qi (pronounced “chee,” according to Business Insider) produces a wireless charging pad that works with all types of mobile devices. Rest your phone on top of it, and bam! Charged.

Bre Pettis, CEO of Makerbot, with his book and a 3D printer on the CES floor. via Twitter

3D Printers
Makerbot, a major player in desktop 3D printing, held a press conference on Tuesday of CES to show off its new 3D printer, which received a ton of press. The Replicator 2X will retail for $2,799 and will be available later in January. 3D printers allow consumers to manufacture items and the new device from Makerbot has new features, including allowing users to print in two colors, use dissolvable materials, and have varying densities, according to Business Insider.

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