At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, smart tech and artificial intelligence was adopted by some unexpected industries. These are the three big ones to watch this year…
The annual Consumer Electronics Show wrapped up in Las Vegas last week and—as always—the event was chock full of new, innovative, and sometimes over-the-top new technologies from small startups and big brands alike. And while the past two years were largely dominated by cars, VR, and drones, this year was awash in smart assistants, TVs, and, well yes, cars again—but this time they’re self-driving. As Yahoo!’s technology editor pointed out, this year lacked “a go-to product that managed to separate itself from the incredibly crowded pack of devices and services on display at the show.” Instead, he wrote, “every company seemed to introduce their own version of a similar device.” But there was one unifying theme to the whole show: artificial intelligence. “It’s the year of A.I. and conversational interfaces,” an analyst for Forrester Research, told the New York Times. Indeed, every product seemed to be Alexa-connected or otherwise “smart,” creating some interesting trends in markets old and new. Here’s our roundup how artificial intelligence is being adopted by three major industries this year:
1. Personalized Beauty
The future of beauty has arrived, and it’s personal. Jumping on the trend of Customization Nation, CES was full of high-tech products that promised to do away with the one-size-fits-all ethos of the beauty industry’s past and appeal to young consumers for whom personalization is an expectation. Neutrogena released an iPhone-connected face scanner, which analyzes your skin’s health to recommend a personalized daily regimen, and Paris-based Romy showcased a skincare formulator that takes your daily stressors into account and brews customized facial products in your own home. Meanwhile, L’Oréal unveiled a tiny wearable UV sensor that looks like a manicure decal and sticks on your fingernail and tracks everything from UV rays and temperature to pollen and air quality levels. The connected app can then remind you to put on more sunscreen or stay out of the sun altogether. And hitting salons soon is high-tech hair analyzer, a handheld device that will survey the condition of your hair and create a customized shampoo to treat it, complete with a scent of your choosing.
2. Robots Revisited
A CES 2018 roundup wouldn’t be complete without the mention of robots. And while they made our list last year as well, developers have made some big strides since 2017’s show, bringing us closer to a world where robots really are in our lives and homes. Some CES favorites include iPal, a humanoid companion robot designed by AvatarMind to help older or younger users—it can remind you to take your medicine, or greet your child at the door. Aibo, Sony’s new robotic dog, also captured hearts this year by resurrecting the company’s ‘90s- and 2000s-era electronic pets (hello, Millennial nostalgia) with some distinctly 2018 updates: Aibo is equipped with touch sensors and a camera in his nose so he can recognize and respond to his family members, and 22 actuators create more realistic movements. A surprising underdog of the show, however, was a robotic duck made specifically to help kids with cancer cope with their treatments. Called the My Special Aflac Duck, the toy can mirror and sympathize with emotions, and even comes with an IV set so kids can mitigate their own fears of chemotherapy by practicing administering medicine on the duck.
3. Smarter Kitchens
We know, we know–talking refrigerators and connected stoves are nothing new. But this year, several companies did unveil some updated technologies that bring the smart kitchen to a whole new level. And with today’s young consumers more willing to splurge on food and foodie accessories, you’re going to want to keep your eye on these new smart devices. The appliance that got the most buzz was the LG Refrigerator. Equipped with a touchscreen, the use of voice assistant platforms like Alexa and Google Home, a camera that can send you photos of your food, and the ability to connect with other appliances to preheat the oven or send you recipes, this appliance is at once a sous chef and a refrigerator. Another star in the kitchen space included the Tetra Countertop Dishwasher, a dishware, sous vide device, and baby bottle sanitizer all wrapped into one portable and plumbing-not-necessary appliance—perfect for the apartment-dwelling Millennial.
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