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Connect: The weird and wonderful world of CES

JANUARY means two things in the tech world: it’s time to get over the festive season’s turkey-induced hangover; and the return of the biggest event in the industry’s calendar, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas.

This pivotal event, which draws more than 180,000 visitors, has more than 4,500 exhibitors ranging from the biggest tech giants to small start-ups, which essentially means there’s enough new tech to fill this entire paper.

To make things a bit easier we’re bringing you a selection of our favourite things from the show floor, from the imaginatively innovative to the downright bizarre.

Smart displays and cinematic/roll-up TVs

LG Signature OLED TV R

Jaw-dropping: LG’s Signature OLED TV R retracts into a Dolby Atmos speaker cabinet (below)

Last year LG had jaws on the floor with its 65in prototype 4K roll-up TV. A year later and LG’s announced a flexible telly that retracts into a Dolby Atmos surround-sound speaker cabinet when not in use. There’s also an in-between mode that displays part of the screen for music playback. It will hit the shelves before the year is out.

Panasonic GZ2000 OLED

Panasonic is calling its high-end OLED efforts ‘the world’s most cinematic TV’. It’s easy to see why, thanks to its built-in upfiring Dolby Atmos speakers for room-filling, Technics-tuned sound without the need of an audio-enhancing soundbar. It’s also the first TV to support HDR10+ and Dolby Vision and will be available in 55in and 65in flavours.

Lenovo Smart Tab

Part tablet, part smart display, Lenovo’s ten-inch Android tab serves as a portable device when on the move and a full-screen smart display when placed into its smart dock, turning it into an Amazon Echo Show clone that allows you to take full advantage of its Alexa integration.

KitchenAid smart display

KitchenAid’s Google Assistant-powered tab is designed specifically for use when cooking or baking, offering voice and visual meal planning and step- by-step video instructions from some of the world’s best chefs.

Smart appliances that’ll cook, clean and brew

LG’s Twinwash

Twin thing: LG’s new washer-dryer

If you have kids, Twinwash is manna from laundry heaven: it has a main washer for large loads, a SideKick unit for smaller ones and delicates, plus a dryer. That means you can wash two lots of laundry, and dry another at the same time. Plus it has wi-fi and smartThinQ, and is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa to monitor your smalls.

Whirlpool smart countertop oven

This clever cooking contraption is able to identify and select fresh and frozen foods, then choose the correct temperature to cook them perfectly, with a bit of help from its built-in camera and smart thermometer. You’ll be able to monitor progress in real time and receive status updates via an app, with Alexa and Google Assistant integration.

LG HomeBrew

LG’s automated craft beer-making machine enables you to brew up a batch of five different craft beers using single-use capsules, taking care of the fermentation, ageing and carbonation process. You’ll wait up to two weeks for it to brew up to five litres, though.

Smart-home cams, dashboards and toilets

Kohler Numi 2.0

In the hot seat: Kohler Numi 2.0 is an intelligent toilet with ambient mood lighting and speakers

With built-in speakers, ambient mood lighting and Alexa voice controls to listen to the news or order more bog roll, this intelligent toilet is a far cry from your average porcelain throne. Chuck in personalised cleansing, drier functions and a heated seat, and you’d be forgiven for spending more time on this than is stictly necessary.

Ring Door View Cam

Ring’s web-connected Door View Cam injects high-tech smarts into the traditional peephole by turning it into a security cam complete with sensors to send smartphone notifications if someone knocks on the door, two-way talk and live HD streaming. Installation doesn’t require any permanent front-door modifications, making it ideal for apartment dwellers.

Bosch PAI projector

This Android-flavoured projector turns any kitchen counter into a virtual dashboard. It has an integrated camera and 3D sensors that capture hand movements to turn your countertop into a touchscreen, along with social media and video functionality. Better still, it’s clever enough to identify food placed underneath it to subsequently offer recipes, cooking and serving tips.

Pet tech that’ll clean, feed and call

LavvieBot

Whiskaway: A LavvieBot, a litter tray that cleans itself

Cats are great. Cleaning their litter tray? Not so much. Enter the world’s first cat litter box. It automatically cleans itself after your cat does its business and refills your kitty’s litter so you don’t have to. An accompanying app, meanwhile, sends data on your cat’s weight and toilet schedule.

The Mookkie pet feeder

Facial-recognition tech makes its way to this smart pet feeder, which will only spit out food upon recognition of your pet’s face. That will prevent domestic rivals from thieving the food, ensuring your beloved pet gets their daily dose of grub.

Petcube Bites 2

Telltail: The Petcube Bites 2 keeps tabs on your furry friends

Keep tabs on your furry friends with this smart camera, which boasts 180-degree full-room views and Alexa integration to issue treats. Best of all, if your pet sits in front of the camera for long enough, it’ll initiate a two-way video call with their owner.

Unusual innovation

ForwardX Ovis Smart Suitcase

This smart suitcase is designed to follow you around and ultimately make lugging your heavy suitcase through an airport a thing of the past. That’s thanks to a series of AI-infused sensors that allow it to dodge passers-by and avoid collisions.

Elvie Breast Pump

This silent, hands-free smart breast pump can be worn under a bra with a clear reservoir to check how much milk has been pumped, so mums can get the job done at their convenience. Pumping history and volume can also be logged using an app.

Monit Bluetooth Sensor

Parents get to avoid the sniff test with this Bluetooth sensor that attaches to a baby’s nappy. It can detect whether tiny humans have done a number one or number two, then alert parents via an app to let them know it’s time for a change.

Foldimate

A disliked laundry chore could become a thing of the past thanks to a machine that promises to make folding clothes as simple as sticking it back into the machine. According to its creators it can fold an entire laundry load in about five minutes.

Halfords Cybic Bike Range

The world’s first connected and Alexa-infused smart bike offers audible access to a range of in-display features including performance data and turn-by-turn navigation. A security lock and alarm can also be accessed via an app.

Feel the force

VR ENTHUSIASTS who flocked to CES found the Force was with the new Pimax 8K headset, which transformed the game Beat Saber with a field of vision (FOV) of around 200 degrees — plenty of room to swing a cat, let alone a lightsaber.

The much-improved periphery vision allows you to swipe your saber to the side and see the block you’re aiming for, while chunks of broken blocks fly past your ears for a realistic effect.

The new-improved FOV means Beat Saber, one of the best VR games of 2018, is surely a favourite for the Game Developers Choice Awards in March, where Beat Saber is up for best VR/AR game. So may the luck be with you…