The great thing about the future is that it is constantly arriving. What’s fiction now will be reality with shocking speed. And the Consumer Electronics Show is proof; here are five technologies that were basically science fiction just a few years ago and were on the show floor this year.
Self-Driving Cars Are “Production-Ready”
Sure, self-driving cars have been in the works for a while. We all know Google’s been working on them, for example. But 2015 was the year where it became clear the future of driving involves sitting back while the car does all the work.
For example, BMW demonstrated some technology at the show where you can make your car back out of your garage by speaking to your watch. Audi, meanwhile, just told their self-driving car to drive to CES from Los Angeles, and it did precisely that. So far, however, nobody is building an animatronic mascot to annoy you while running from armed criminals.
You Can Build Your Very Own Johnny 5 At Home, With A Kit
OK, so Short Circuit actually featured a complex military robot that develops feelings thanks to a lightning bolt. Spin Master’s revival of the Erector Set is a bit different: It’s a robot you construct out of a kit and can program just by moving it around. It can speak, move, and interact, and you can even program it the old-fashioned way, as the code to control it is open source.
The Physical Seamlessly Becomes The Digital
Yes, we know, tablets have touchscreens. We’re talking, though, about the powerful, dedicated workstations you always saw Geordi or Data tapping away on. That, sadly, has eluded us. At least until the Sprout, what HP is calling a fully functional creative workstation.
The Sprout is essentially a mix of 3D scanner, multi-directional photographic tool, and touchscreen workspace in one station. Put something on the work surface and the instant 3d objects capture function turns it into a note-perfect digital object, which for many will change how they create. See for yourself:
Everything Has A Brain
The “connected home” is nothing new, of course; every future home in every sci-fi movie from the ’80s has at least blinds you can control. But CES really brought this into focus and in some actually non-creepy ways. Take, for example, Roost: It’s a 9-volt battery designed to alert you whenever your smoke alarm goes off, without the need to install new alarms. A new cap for the EpiPen means you’ll never leave it behind and relatives know when you need to use it. There’s even a rubber duckie that monitors bath temperature while playing Raffi to sooth the savage two-year-old. And boy, is that stuff more useful that motorized blinds.
Finally, A Robot That Will Cook For You
The idea that a robot will do menial housework so we can kick back and play video games has been a dearly held dream since George Jetson pushed a button. While thankfully we don’t have a domestic robot on wheels, we do have a Roomba, and now, we’ve got Cooki. Essentially a cooking robot, Cooki just needs you to buy the food and do some prep, and it takes care of the rest.
Who knows what’s coming next year? Like we said, the future is always happening. Although we know some people who have a few guesses.