I survived—once again—the International CES in Las Vegas. Amid the massive displays of curved TVs, truckloads of consumer electronics, madding crowds and cacophony, there was an amazing amount of innovation.
If you read my article "Your Future Car" in 2013, maybe you doubted that the future held cars that could drive themselves. Well, I’ve seen it. Bosch demonstrated (above) a car that could park itself even if you step out of it, so it can fit into a small space. Delphi Automotive showed off a prototype future-vision Tesla that possessed enough sensors to drive itself (in a future where the infrastructure exists for it) and keep an eye on the driver so it knows who's behind the wheel. It could also display a movie on the inside of the windshield and create an immersive gaming experience in the back seat for the teens, with each back seat boasting a set of speakers that play only for the person in that seat.
My photo of the interior of the future Tesla, taken with a DSLR and sent to my phone with the Eye-Fi Mobi.
If you read my article "Your Future Home," you might have taken those developments for science fiction too. But I walked through a house where the appliances knew I was coming, turned on the lights for me, welcomed me home with a soothing "Hello, Christina!" and readied the kitchen for dinner. In the kids’ room, the lighting, Teddy bear and music all cooperated with the alarm clock to set a mood for the kids to go to sleep or wake up. And if a young one decided to sneak a tablet under the covers to watch some silly cat videos instead of sleep, the TV in the master bedroom would tell me by flashing a warning across the screen (all of this powered by Qualcomm’s Alljoyn technology).
If you doubted my research in "Your Future Body," this year’s CES was all about wearable computing and a future where the Internet of Things (your appliances, car, house) will know all about you because of the accessories you sport. There were so many “smart watches” (watches that convey key information from your smartphone so you only have to glance at your wrist to see who’s calling or texting) that I lost count. Activity trackers and wearable monitors were everywhere, in every shape and form. And more and more of them are getting ready to talk to your home and car.
It was a mind-blowing trip to the future, and I’ll be sharing items, services and cool ideas here as they move from prototype and proof of concept to actual products you can buy. I will say this, though: The future looks seriously cool!
Christina Tynan-Wood has been covering technology since the dawn of the Internet and currently writes the Family Tech column for Family Circle. You can find more advice about buying and using technology at GeekGirlfriends.com.