The annual Consumer Electronics Show, which came to a close on January 12 this year, represents an important moment in the tech industry. It kicks off the year as the very first global tech trade show, and 2018 didn’t disappoint. Exhibitors from around the world showed off their latest offerings to a greedy crowd of tech-hungry attendees. While some critics, including CNET’s John Falcone, say CES 2018 will be remembered more for its poor weather than awesome tech, there were still some clear winners at the 51st annual event. Now that the dust has settled in the Nevadan desert, there’s time to review this year’s biggest players. Let’s check out three of the top performers at this year’s CES.
The Wi-Charge’s Wireless Power Technology
Coming on the heels of the iPhone X’s, the Wi-Charge is an obvious scion of the handset’s wireless charging capabilities — but on a much grander scale. It eliminates the need for wires or nearby charging pads to recharge your batteries. Instead, it relies on infrared tech that converts light into an electrical charge, making long-range autonomous charging possible.
Needing no direct contact with the devices it powers, it’s even capable of bypassing thick phone cases and skins, like the Grip case and customizable decals from dbrand. This news will come as a relief if you were planning to take advantage of dbrand’s premium decals and get skins and wraps for your favorite devices. Though strong enough to juice up gadgets through their protective accessories, Wi-Charge has been deemed safe by the FDA. So far, it has been the only company to gain FDA approval for this long-range change.
In its current iteration, the Wi-Charge looks like a sleek, minimalist light fixture, though its tech could very easily be shaped into another form, making it possible to install at home, at the office, and even in public spaces.
Putting its tech to the test, Wi-Charge’s allowed visitors to see its product at work. The demo space moonlighted as a charging space, and anyone within direct sight of the device could gain back some of the batteries they lost tweeting about the show. This effortless charging zone was an obvious hit with attendees — which is why it’s no surprise the Wi-Charge won the CES 2018 Best of Innovation Award.
LG and Samsung’s Battle for Best TV
In an age when serial binge-watching is a point of pride rather than shame, TVs will always overshadow other devices at CES. Let’s be honest with each other — even before it was cool to watch every episode of Stranger Things back-to-back, TVs were regular heavy hitters in previous events.
This year, as it was for the past few years, LG and Samsung went head to head with their version of the best TV. LG readjusted a set first debuted in CES 2017: their ultra-thin, ultra-flexible OLED screen. Measuring just 2.6 millimeters in depth, it looks more like a poster than a television set. Its size lets viewers roll up the screen with a remote and hide it away in a small compartment when not in use. Despite its razor-thin package, it delivers a 65-inch screen in 21:9 ratio.
While LG focused on a delicate design for space conscious viewers, Samsung turned its attention to delivering the biggest TV possible. Nicknamed “The Wall”, the television set lives up to its name with a 146-inch screen packed with MicroLED tech. It’s a massive set with the price tag to match, looking more like a cinema than a personal TV.
Miniscule in size, by comparison, the Lishtot TestDrop is roughly the size of a guitar pick, yet it promises to have an impact far greater than its size. Lishtot, which is Hebrew for “to drink”, is a small yet powerful device that determines if water is potable. At a time when billions of people around of the world lack access to clean water — among them still the people of Flint, Michigan — this could help global communities find safe drinking water.
It works by testing the electromagnetic field around a glass of water. Water contaminated with toxins like lead or E. coli emit a different field than potable water. It’s calibrated to identify the electrical fields of a variety of toxins. The TestDrop will blink red if it’s unpotable before putting together an in-depth report of its results on its app.
Though not officially tested or certified by the FDA, it has earned certification through third-party testing, suggesting it has a 100 percent accuracy in reading toxins.
The Wi-Charge, LG and Samsung’s TVs, and the TestDrop are just a sample of the CES’ top billing exhibitors. If you like what you see, head to the CES website and check out the full list of Innovation Award winners. This year they added Cybersecurity, Smart Cities, and Robotics as new categories to an already long list of groups, so you have a lot to explore in your future.
At the forefront of technological innovation, many of these products are too niche or too expensive for the average techie to nab for themselves — yet. Those that prove themselves over the next few years will be copied by other brands with lower price ranges, giving us plebeians a chance at testing these out down the line. Until then, there’s no harm in seeing what the future holds.