It’s realistic, but can it walk and talk like a human?
On Friday we wrote about Samsung’s mysterious “artificial human” project Neon, speculating that the company was building realistic human avatars that could be used for entertainment and business purposes, acting as guides, receptionists, and more.
The lightweight VR glasses offer HDR visuals without the dreaded “screen-door” effect.
At CES 2020, companies were hard at work promoting a fresh wave of groundbreaking technology that will soon be available for you to demo.
This includes legendary Japanese electronics corporation Panasonic, which will be offering attendees a first-look at its compact VR eyeglasses, which are capable of displaying ultra high definition visuals that remove the dreaded “screen-door” effect from images, offering truly natural in-headset visuals.
I almost walked right by it. But then I realized the object the young man was holding up, apparently thrilling the small crowd gathered around his tiny CES 2020 booth, was a potato.
The vegetable in question looked like an ordinary, chunky Idaho spud, although protruding out of one side was some kind of antenna, a black plastic appendage bent upward. Close to the potato’s surface, the exterior of the antenna became a thin, blade-like electrode that pierced the skin, clearly doing… something.
The man was regaling the crowd with his incredible smart product, which he said was finally unlocking the awesome decision-making power of the potato. The antenna, which he called the NeuraSpud, tapped into the potato’s “artificial intelligence.” Once you connected your smartphone over Bluetooth to the device and launched the accompanying app, you could ask the potato anything — with your voice, no less — and it would spout an answer on the screen, the digital-vegetable equivalent of a Magic Eight Ball.
If the smart potato sounds like a big, stupid stunt, that’s because it is. The man behind the idea, Nicholas Baldeck from France, told me he brought his admittedly ridiculous “invention” to CES to make a point about the torrent of smart gadgets at the show, many of which don’t really solve problems at all.
“This product has way more chance of success than 60% of the startups here,” Baldeck says. “I am skeptical of this idea of ‘connected everything.’ Now it looks like innovation is about putting a chip into any object. I’m not sure the word ‘smart’ makes more sense before the word toothbrush than the word potato.”
Last year, Impossible Foods made headlines at CES when it introduced a new formulation of its Impossible Burger. It tasted so close to the real deal that we even gave it a Best of CES award. Now, Impossible Foods is back again at the annual tech event to introduce its latest product: Impossible Pork.
To be clear, this is a different product from the Impossible Sausage that was announced last year. “Sausage is a specific application of meat,” said David Lee, Impossible Foods CFO, to Engadget. “Impossible Pork, however, is one that can be used in any [ground pork] application.” While sausage might be good as a breakfast patty or a pizza topping, said Lee, Impossible Pork is a more general imitation pork product that would be good for dishes like baos or dumplings.
Hyundai has used the grand platform of CES 2020 to unveil its take on the future of urban mobility. At the heart of its plans is its S-A1, an electric flying taxi developed with Uber. A concept at this stage, the S-A1 is a four-passenger electric aircraft designed for short urban journeys made possible by helicopter-style vertical take-off and landing.
In the S-A1, Hyundai has become the first partner of Uber Elevate, Uber’s grand plan for transforming urban transportation by taking its ride-sharing business model to the sky. Hyundai’s S-A1 design builds on the design concepts established and shared by Uber Elevate in an attempt to help manufacturers stake a claim in the embryonic air taxi market. The S-A1 also constitutes the first fruit of Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) division. (Though confusingly, Hyundai also refers to its air taxis as UAM.)
For those of us who aren’t adventurous enough to ride scooters, Segway has come up with something new: the personal transportation pod.
The well-known self-balancing personal transport brand (owned by Chinese company Segway-Ninebot since 2015) has unveiled the Segway S-Pod, a smart transporting pod for enclosed campuses such as airports, theme parks, and malls.
Segway said it is a safe, self-balancing vehicle that is operated by an intuitive assistive navigation panel. It spins and rotates by the center smoothly for directional changes. Segway-Ninebot will show off the S-Pod and other transportation products at CES 2020, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas next week.