Consumer Electronics Show 2018—Rebooting the Future

Paula LaBrot

Ben Franklin, I wish I could resurrect you for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES ) in Vegas. Ever since you put that key on the kite, electronics inventors have gone crazy and this was a futurist’s wonderland.  


Remember Weird Al Yankovich’s “Fred’s 2000 Inch TV?” Well, we’re up to 146 inches with Samsung’s The Wall TV, a modular TV with no bezels (rims around a surface). Without bezels, the Wall is modular and you can make it as small or as large as you want. For a TV you can hide, LG has a 65-inch screen that rolls up into a box about the size of a sound bar, quite the wow among CES attendees. Augmented Reality laser tag guns use your smart phone for a jolly game of war. Virtual Reality headsets are more mobile with higher resolution (4k). What a funhouse!


Robots are everywhere. Service robots like the Aeolus bot can pick up and hand things to you, vacuum the floor and tidy up objects, putting them in the right place. LG has three new robots for commercial use at hotels, airports and markets. The Serving Robot, Porter Robot and Shopping Cart Robot are real job stealers. The Serving bot can autonomously deliver room service to guests at hotels. The Porter Robot is the front desk ringmaster, able to check guests in and out as well as handling and delivering their luggage. Shopping Cart Robots help with lists, nutritional advice, locations of goods and keep running totals of your items as you shop.


Aibo, Sony’s adorable robotic companion dog, with a camera in his nose uses facial recognition to recognize different family members. It will actually “learn you” and develop its own personality over time in relation to yours. Building personality into Artificial Intelligence bots and assistants like Alexa or Siri is the biggest trend in AI tech now. For $550, Somnox is a breathing robot pillow you can snuggle with as if you have a special friend over. It, also, has soothing sounds, lullabies and heartbeats. I have a dog for that, thank you.

Hilariously, pole-dancing robots stole the bot show for 2018 in a subversive art installation by British artist Giles Walker at the Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club down the road from the convention. Giles is making a serious comment on the ever-growing surveillance state, calling into question the invasive, data-collecting, eavesdropping tentacles of technology today and the voyeuristic, corporate tech architects who build it, according to Michael Nunez. (


Digital Health has arrived at CES 2018. Blood pressure smart watches take a medical grade reading and can be programmed to take night readings, warning of high blood pressure and possible strokes. Nokia has a sleep monitor that goes under a pillow. It tracks sleep metrics and sleep quality and can adjust the temperature of the room through your thermostat and music through your Bluetooth while you are sleeping.

Attention Ladies! Under-the-mattress EarlySense Percept fertility tracker claims to be 31 percent more accurate than the calendar method. Willow, a smart breast pump, can be worn under a bra with sensors that know when the milk lets down, pumps milk into a pouch and turns off automatically. It is nearly silent and fits like a bra. L’Oreal’s UV Sense is a sticker for your fingernail that will report how much UV light you have been exposed to.

Attention Gentlemen! Spartan silver-lined underwear claims it will protect the family jewels from 99 percent of phone and wi-fi radiation!

EyeQue Insight is a mobile app and hardware viewer that allows users to test their own eyesight. Colgate’s Smart Electronic Toothbrush detects brushing effectiveness in 16 zones of the mouth and provides feedback from a 3D “Brushing Coach.” Hip-Air is a belt containing air bags that deploy if you fall to protect your hips.


A fully driverless car is called a “Level 4” automobile. The inside is like a lounge, with swiveling seats, work stations, entertainment screens and more. The competition is furious! They are coming, folks. But someone will have to pry the steering wheel out of my hands. I just love to drive. A driverless shuttle did have a bump with a semi at the convention…no injuries.


Partnerships are the trend. Watch out for monopolies. Giant companies swallow up startups voraciously. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, etc., are partnering with other giants like Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Sony, General Electric, etc., and Toyota, Ford, Tesla, etc. A lot of concentrated power.

CES 2018 was amazing with thousands of innovators and their wondrous inventions on display. Since Topangans are quite used to power outages, readers might be amused that during the convention there was a temporary loss of power and everything went dark for a few hours. When it came back, the place was a frenzy of re-booting.  

For all of us riding these wild waves of technology into the future, we may also be looking ahead to a lot of re-booting ourselves and not just our computers.

Vamos a ver!


Paula LaBrot

Paula LaBrot is a 30-year resident of Topanga, a futurist with a special interest in the uncharted waters of cyberspace.

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