Roll Away TV, Smart Sockets Among New Gadgets at CES

John Lister's picture

CES (also known as the Consumer Electronics Show) is the biggest annual gadget show in the United States and is the place where top manufacturers show off their new devices for the first time. Many of the offerings seem implausible or unnecessary - this year saw virtual reality shoes and a notepad that works underwater - but others catch on and are genuinely useful.

Here are some of the highlights from 2019:

A "smart socket" power outlet detects the charge level in a plugged-in device and then cuts out once it's fully charged to reduce energy use. For now it's designed for mobile devices such as phones which often reach full capacity when charged then go into a cycle of dropping a percentage or two from full capacity, then continually top it up. That's not necessarily a huge amount of wasted electricity, but the next step is developing the socket to work with electric vehicles where the savings could be greater. (Source:

TV Screen Rolls Away

A company called Envisics showed off a "smart dashboard" that displays GPS directions and other information as a hologram on the car windscreen. The idea is that drivers can see information without having to shift their gaze to a traditional display.

TV manufacturers have struggled in recent years to come up with anything new beyond bigger screens or higher resolution, neither of which seem necessary to many buyers. However, LG had a neat twist with an ultra-flexible screen that rolls up and out of a sound bar, then rolls away when it's not in issue. (Source:

One of the big problems with smart watches is the need to take them off to charge the battery every few days. One new model gets round that by combining a tiny solar panel on the casing with a technology that harnesses heat from the skin on the user's arm to provide a small but steady charge.

Apple Plays Nice With Others

Apple has finally agreed to start letting TV makers put its apps and services directly into their smart TVs. That's a smart move as many users will be unwilling to get a separate gadget such as an Apple TV box just to use iTunes and related content.

IBM unveiled a weather forecasting system that can provide hourly reports for any three kilometer square area on the planet. That compares with some parts of the world where current technology can only provide a twice-daily report covering a 15 kilometer square. The new system will incorporate data gathered from equipment used on commercial airplane flights.

What's Your Opinion?

Do any of these developments excite you? Is technology so advanced today that anything new is likely a gimmick? What technology problems would you like new inventions to solve?

Rate this article: 
Average: 4.5 (4 votes)