The Consumer Electronic Show is the biggest tech event in the world where manufacturers show off all the gadgets they plan to launch over the next 12 months. While there are more than 20,000 products being exhibited at the Las Vegas event this year, many products announced at CES never make it farther than the show floor. Still CES is a great barometer for gaging trends in tech for the year ahead and here’s what we think will be big this year.
Virtual becomes reality
While virtual reality has been talked about at CES for years, 2016 marks the first time we might be actually to actually plug ourselves into the Matrix. Oculus have confirmed preorders for the Rift will kick-off this Thursday. HTC are also showing off its Steam-compatible Vive headset at CES, while Sony is pushing PlayStation VR, and Samsung has announced new motion controllers for its already available Gear VR. With over 100 virtual reality and augmented reality companies exhibiting at CES, some are looking to provide peripherals for these big name gaming headsets, but many more are trying to make a name for themselves in their own right. For instance, Reach Robotics aim to bring back Robot Wars with an AR twist, so you only inflict virtual damage while playing with real life remote-control robots, just in time for Christmas. This year has also seen an explosion of 360 degree cameras so you can shoot your own VR videos, most notably would-be GoPro rival the IC Real Tech camera.
Wearables will be more than just fitness trackers
The days Jawbone, Misfit and other smart bands are an accepted part of your workout routine. CES 2016 will see even more wearable gadgets breakthrough, such as Athletec’s Cornerman wrist-worn sensors that calculate statistics from every punch thrown by a boxer and the latest version f Vert’s jump monitor. However, the Las Vegas show will also offer many more weird and wonderful wearables, including the Royole-X home theatre headset with incredible 3300 pixels-per-inch resolution and noise-cancelling headphones and Sphero will also show off a smart band that allows you to use the Force and make their BB-8 droid perform tricks.
Hoverboards were just the beginning
If you thought a few scare stories about exploding chargers and a total ban by Amazon in the UK was enough to kill the hoverboard-that-doesn’t-actually-hover, you were only half right. It remains to be seen if the manufacturers of two-wheeled balanced scooters known variously as hoverboards, swegways or swagways will address safety concerns, but there are plenty ‘rideables’ waiting to fill its place. This includes a skateboard with electric motors in the wheels, a thing that looks like a skateboard but has a unicycle wheel in the middle, and a three-wheeled electric buggy called the Arcimoto. Ninebot, which make those odd electric unicycles that you ride standing upright, also have a big announcement planned for 6 January.
Set up your own smart home
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently said his goal for the year is to build an AI to control his home like Jarvis in the Iron Man movies. However, this kind of tech isn’t just for tech billionaires – fictional or otherwise – as there are loads of affordable options now on the market and many more will be announced at CES 2016. For instance, Parrot have announced a plant pot that will water your flowers for you, Netatmo’s new Presence smart security camera can distinguish between people, animals and cars, and Kwikset is showing keyless locks that recognise who you are. Meanwhile systems like Iris by Lowe’s promise to seamlessly automate all your disparate smart gadgets, while Ecoisme tracks every electronic device in your house and can tell you how to improve your energy usage.