CES 2021 took place virtually this year amid the continued pandemic. While it’s not the way the Consumer Technology Association has put on the show before this year, the central theme of innovation was on full display. Pulling off an event of this magnitude virtually was a nod to just how innovative the virtual world has become, and the investment the companies highlighted have made into its products.
It’s hard to select the coolest features of the show because there were so many mind blowing advancements in all facets of home, work, leisure, activity, and entertainment. But this article is about just that, so we dug deep to bring you the best of the best from this year’s show.
While it may not be the most cost effective and practical of the items introduced this year, GM used the platform to announce that it’s transforming into an EV company. They did this with a bang by showcasing the Cadillac eVTOL air taxi. It’s like giant drone meets taxi service, but it’s impossible not to be impressed.
The smooth, electric vertical take-off was shown to much applause. The aircraft is powered by a 90-kWh battery to deliver speeds of up to 56 mph, so you can get from here to there in no time. They didn’t share much in the way of technical details but it was definitely the talk of the show.
Samsung showed off several new advances in their TV game (which is always strong) but it was the new solar-powered TV remote that piqued interest for us. It seems like a no-brainer that a remote would finally become battery-free and we welcome the advancement and savings. Now, all you need to do is flip the remote over and let it charge from the mini solar panel on the back. You can also plug it into a USB-C port to charge as well but getting a charge from the sun just seems way cooler.
Samsung also impressed with its Bot Handy robot butler, which can help with certain jobs around the house and even bring you a cold one if you so desire. The demo video showed the Bot taking dishes out of the sink and loading them into a dishwasher (something my teens still haven’t learned to do). For those of us who are pressed for time to get odd jobs done while we work, school, and cook at home, this could be a highly sought after product once it hits the market.
Smart bathroom technology was on full display at the show but the Kohler toilet’s “magic handle” was a stand-out. All you do is wave your hand in front of the handle when you’re done with your business and it flushes automatically. This cuts down on the spread of germs and viruses, which is something that was featured throughout the show given the global pandemic we are in. Given all we’ve been through, the less we have to touch that others also touch, the better.
Apparently, tablets and rectangular smart phones are a thing of the past if you believe LG. They teased a rollable phone (which is still in concept phase) that you really have to see to believe. While they aren’t the first to come up with the idea, it’s still a top contender for the coolest technology at CES. The phone’s OLED panels are thin and flexible enough to be rolled tightly around one edge of the phone, allowing the phone to expand and slowly extrude the display as it expands. What will they think of next?
For more than 50 years, advancements in technology have been showcased at CES. This year, there was still much to celebrate (be it virtually) including smart pillows, smart baby cribs, smart wine dispensers, lamps enabled with security technology so our elderly community is safer living alone, and all kinds of new advancements in home gyms.
While some are still in concept phase, others are now available for purchase so we can start to see this technology in action. With 1,800+ exhibitors and 100+ conference sessions with global leaders in their industries, the show had participants who love innovation drinking out of a fire hose. The virtual nature allowed unto gather even more information and get introduced to new products at a pace unseen before. Who knows, maybe this will become a regular occurrence in the future.
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