ces 2024

Photo: LG

It’s safe to say that in-person events are back in full, pre-pandemic force — the 4,300-plus exhibitors and 135,000 attendees at CES 2024 attest to that. In January, the world’s biggest consumer technology trade show in Las Vegas drew the greatest minds and the most powerful brands (60 per cent of Fortune 500 companies were represented). Of course, it also showcased the most impactful technologies.

While AI was the show’s star, there were notable innovations in enterprise solutions, CPUs and GPUs, TVs and display technology, autonomous driving, smart home tech, and much more. Here is our pick of five that stood out. 

Transparent TVs — LG SIGNATURE OLED T

ces 2024
Photo: LG

If you’re a fan of sci-fi flicks, you might have noticed how gadgets of the future (desktop computers, tablets, and mobile phones) all seem to have transparent screens. LG has taken us one step closer to that imagined future with their SIGNATURE OLED T. 

The winner of no less than five CES 2024 Innovation Awards — including a Best of Innovation accolade — the 77-inch TV allows viewers to toggle between a traditional black screen and a transparent one. When in transparent mode, the TV looks like it’s floating in mid-air. Your streaming content suddenly resembles holographic projections. It’s meant to provide an immersive experience, and we’re here for it.  

And without a giant black screen dominating the room, you can place it virtually anywhere without obstructing the design or decor. This is also possible because LG’s Zero Connect Box is a nifty cable management device that wirelessly transmits 4K images and sounds to the TV. No more pesky HDMI cables to deal with! 

And speaking of picture quality, LG touts a 70 per cent improvement in graphic performance and 30 per cent faster processing speed over earlier models, thanks to a new α (Alpha) 11 AI processor. No word on pricing or availability yet. 

AI now has a face — WeHead

ces 2024
Photo: WeHead

If you’re somewhat repulsed by the idea of an AI talking head, you’re not alone. We were, too, although that repulsion was combined with genuine fascination. It’s like ChatGPT evolved a face, showing the direction that AI and robotics are heading in.  

Developed by an American startup, WeHead is a desktop device with a “face” made of four displays. It’s supposed to mimic a real person with whom you can interact. But it’s early days yet, so the interaction — according to various sources — isn’t smooth. The device had trouble isolating audio cues, leading to a response lag. 

Even the build quality left much to be desired. Some likened it to a school engineering project consisting of four mobile phones, a microphone, and a speaker. Despite its drawbacks, we think that future iterations will have much potential. As human replicants become more ubiquitous, WeHead could be used as an educator, companion, or even a personalised newscaster. The sky’s the limit, really.   

Air taxi — Hyundai eVTOL Supernal S-A2

ces 2024
Photo: Hyundai

Halfway between a helicopter and a glorified delivery drone, air taxis were envisioned as a sustainable, alternative means of transport. They’re designed for quick intra- or inter-city trips or from major airports to local ones. 

And though the air taxi industry has yet to take off — pardon the pun — due to regulatory hurdles, there were quite a few electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles debuting at CES 2024.

One that caught our eye was the S-A2 from Supernal, a Hyundai Motor Group Advanced Air Mobility company. Powered by an electric engine, the pilot-plus-four-passenger vehicle can cruise at almost 200kmh at an altitude of 450m (1,500ft), from 40km to 60km. Business folks could, for example, hop from Changi Airport to Batam. 

The S-A2 is slated for launch in 2028. 

Pocket pal — Rabbit r1

ces 2024
Photo: Rabbit

One of the buzziest gadgets to emerge from CES 2024 is also one of the cutest, with a vivid orange colourway and a square form factor that fits neatly in your palm. 

While it resembles a retro handheld gaming device, the r1 is actually an AI-powered doodad that runs on a natural-language OS. It’s designed to operate apps at your command because who can be bothered to fuss around with all their apps? 

If you want to order a Grab ride, Deliveroo takeaway, or play a Spotify playlist, just press a button to voice your request, like how you would operate a walkie-talkie. It’s a personal digital assistant (remember Palm Pilots?) that takes Siri, Alexa, and the rest to the next level. 

Theoretically, it can also perform more complex tasks like researching and making bookings for your next getaway or filling your Redmart store cart and completing the transaction at check-out. The camera can be used to snap photos of your fridge contents to recommend recipes. 

When launched in Q1 2024, rabbit OS will already be trained to work with the most popular apps, but in future, there will be a feature that allows users to train their own “rabbits” to perform specific tasks on niche apps and workflows.

EV — Honda 0 series

ces 2024
Photo: Honda

In 2023, 18 per cent of total car registrations in Singapore were EVs, compared to just four per cent in 2021. Such positive growth figures stand EV makers like Honda in good stead. 

If you’ve got your sights set on an EV in the near future, might we draw your attention to their new 0 series, which is set for a global launch in 2026? 

At CES 2024, the Japanese carmaker unveiled two concept models, the Saloon and the Space-Hub. With its sleek, black, aerodynamic silhouette, single-frame front fascia with digital animation, and gull-wing doors, the Saloon model gave us Knight Rider vibes. The Space-Hub was rather more family-friendly, its boxy white design, with room for the whole clan, aimed squarely at soccer moms.

As is typical of concept car launches, performance was not mentioned. However, Honda did tout the EVs’ USPs, like the e-axles (meaning the motors are in-line with the wheels, not in an engine bay) and high-density battery packs, which help maximise interior space.

Expect a fast-charging feature as well — Honda says it will take 10 to 15 minutes for a 15 per cent to 80 per cent charge, with a battery that will only lose less than 10 per cent of its capacity after 10 years of driving.