The current global situation threatened to fail CES 2022 as a number of big names avoided personal presence. But even no-shows couldn’t stop the world’s greatest gadget show from getting excited about the future of technology – whether we want that future to happen or not.
Perhaps the reality of living in a pandemic has cracked gadget developers because 2022 was a year when things went downright weird. Here are the trends that Stuff caught the most eye – some of them caused smoke to billow out of Stuff.
BMW mistook a car for a Kindle
Tinted windows? Pah. How about a tinted car where the tint can be controlled by the driver? That’s BMW’s cunning scheme that covers an engine in e-ink.
You can make it white on bright days to reflect the sun or black if you want to pretend you’re starring in Knight Rider. Animated patterns can be used to mesmerize the people behind you into part of your Mad Max-like convoy. Probably.
No word on how the system deals with dents and scratches, or whether you can have the exterior of your car display the latest bestseller to entertain other road users when you’re stuck in a traffic jam.
Smart TV accessories just got smarter
There has been no shortage of new televisions, many of which get so far that they will soon have trouble fitting them into the average home if the huge trend continues. But accessories have also done interesting things this year.
The Bravia Cam asks the boys to move away if they get too close to the screen and dims the display if everyone sniffs angrily when the wrong person is ejected from Bake Off. You can also use gestures to switch channels that Stuff absolutely believes will not lead to weird hand movements between family members.
Elsewhere, kudos to Samsung for thinking differently with its Eco Remote that charges by devouring Wi-Fi signals. Makes a nice change of pace from people who argue that said signals are messing up your brain.
Laptops want to disappear
Not literally – but almost. Dell’s XPS 13 Plus offers the kind of minimalism that even ex-Apple design guru Jony Ive might think a little too much. Function keys have been replaced with a haptic Not-A-Touch-Bar-honest-Guv, while the trackpad lurks under the keyboard … somewhere. The XPS 13 Plus doesn’t reveal it. Dell will presumably remove all keys next year.
Mind you, Dell wouldn’t be the first to do this as pliable tablets continue their relentless march. Outstanding this year was the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold with a 17.3-inch display with which you can type on a virtual keyboard in clamshell mode if your Bluetooth device is thrown into a hedge.
Technology is going to make you paranoid about health
Home tech is getting smarter and smarter to provide insights into your wellbeing, but it feels like things have gone a little too far. Withings presented Body Scan at CES 2022. What looks like an intelligent scale is full of sensors. Do you want to have a guilty conscience? Make yourself comfortable with ads that analyze everything from your weight to specific body parts.
Even so, you at least choose to stand on the thing. In contrast, Sengleds Smart Health Monitoring Light tries (like in a lightbulb) to read vital signs while you sniff around your home. It is still under development, so plus points if the fall detection function works; minus a billion when the light bulb goes up and down wildly, when you have the boldness to sit in front of your television with a particularly unhealthy snack.
Gaming wants to be everywhere
We’re not talking about the metaverse here, although it was the case everywhere at CES 2022. Instead, companies seem determined that full-fat high-end gaming will increasingly run through your life.
On the conventional end of the spectrum, Razer announced high-performance gaming laptops and Samsung unveiled a 55-inch curved gaming monitor that shuddered thousands of wallets. Asus decided with its Flow Z13 that AAA gaming and tablets could actually work together.
Then there’s Razer’s Project Sophia – a concept unit where the desk is the gaming PC (or the gaming PC is the desk) – and Alienware’s Concept Nyx, why games should follow you through your home and appear on every screen that is is closest to you.
Robots aren’t the sci-fi home help one imagined
In the 1970s, science fiction was inundated with metal pals who stomped around here and complied with our requests. (Well, they did when they weren’t preoccupied with exterminating humanity on a whim.) But at CES 2022, it was clear to us that they weren’t all as helpful as we once dreamed they would be.
Bzigo was introduced to use a laser to locate mosquitoes around your home, but you still have to go to the trouble of catching them. And then, for the freaky Petit Qoobo at the one-time CES 2020, Amagami Ham Ham is a robot that was developed for people who feel as if their fingertips are being bitten. You will forgive Stuff for slowly withdrawing now.