by Tatiana Chilcovsky – UX Designer & Product Lead
Dom & Tom is proud to have collaborated on a project that was exhibited at this year’s Computer Electronics Show (CES), the largest annual tech conference in the U.S. Every year, top brands, and startups gather to show off their newest creations and gadgets, in a World’s Fair for the new millennium.
The product team had the opportunity to join our client at CES in Las Vegas, NV where we had a blast checking out all the new products and businesses. Instead of following the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” rule, we decided to share our top tech trends and favorite gadgets from the weekend.
The Integrated Home
The “Smart House” is no longer just my favorite 90’s Disney Channel Original Movie. It’s real, right now. From trash cans that can automatically add discarded items to a shopping list, to digital pet sitters that allow your house to feed and play with your pet from your phone, we’re heading towards an exciting future in home automation and all the conveniences that come with it.
One of my favorite displays was the Panasonic Smart Kitchen. Featuring a window that would transform into a chef concierge, a touch screen sectioned wine & sake cooler, and an induction stove built into the countertop. It was both beautiful and thoughtful.
One of the biggest challenges in building an integrated home is making sure that the technological touches seamlessly fit the surroundings, and actually improve the interior design. As we dive deeper into smart homes, we have to create not only innovative interfaces, but beautiful art pieces that will be chosen not just for convenience, but for design.
Next-Level VR Experiences
VR is still happening, and it’s everywhere. With fully immersive experiences in sports, gaming, and experiential travel, VR had a huge presence at CES this year. With higher definition viewing and improved graphics, virtual universes truly feel like reality.
There is a huge future in sports viewing and VR, and we saw the early stages of this at the conference. We had the opportunity to “sit” courtside at a basketball game, and even directly under the hoop.
The most fun VR applications displayed were around gaming. VR is able to transport people into an alternate reality and in the case of gaming, a whole other world. We witnessed two professional gamers going at it in VR, battling directly against one another.
Objects as UI
What was really interesting at CES was seeing companies create interfaces for objects that aren’t screens. Imagine turning anything into a touchscreen with the help of a small, portable device. Imagine windows that turn into a television, or a refrigerator door that can provide a snapshot of everything inside.
Nanoleaf’s light-up tiles can be controlled not only by an application but with a secondary control leveraged through a polygonal object. This allows users to quickly change presets and lower and increase brightness by flipping and twisting an ordinary-seeming object.
It’s very exciting to think that not everything digital has to be controlled through a mobile phone or screen, but that analog objects will actually one day control digital interactions, seamlessly integrating with objects we encounter in our everyday lives.
Huge Screens, Highest Definition
Screens are getting bigger and bigger with unprecedented resolution, color gamut, and sharpness. We saw impressive displays in home television, as well as big-as-a-basketball-court full-wall projections, with integrated screens that told a cohesive story.
It is important to note that many networks, websites, and other providers may not be able to support such high-resolution screens today (not to mention actresses probably cringing at such a detailed view of themselves) but once resolution standards are raised, viewing experiences are going to improve across the board.
Personally, I’m excited for 4K to become a base standard, and wowed by an 8K monitor. As a designer, screens are what I stare at most in a day, and when designing for high-res screens (like most new mobile and tablet devices), it’s important to do it on a high-res screen. Not to mention, seriously improving my Netflix-and-chill time with added surround sound and a beautiful color gamut. “Red Wedding” has never looked better (or more devastating).
Amazon Alexa, and Voice as an Interface
Amazon Alexa is one great product with incredible potential, and at CES this year, everyone was using it. What is so genius about Alexa is that she’s open-source, meaning, anyone can build anything they want for it (even our office Alexa has been hacked to sing a potty-humor rap song). Startups and product developers are taking advantage of this in a huge way, especially when it comes to interconnected homes.
Verbal communication is the quickest way for humans to interact – it’s why we primarily speak to each other rather than expressing ourselves through movement or text. With A.I. and voice recognition, we’re heading to a world where we can speak to inanimate objects, and have them respond with actions we command. Why type? Why tap? Call me, and we can discuss this further.
Science Fiction Cars
We’re still creating The Jetson’s reality, even if we’re not living in it just yet. The self-driving car, the flying car, the electric car were all in attendance at CES this year. One looked like is was straight out of minority report (with the seats inexplicably facing the back of the car); one was basically a teeny tiny helicopter.
The self-driving car revolution is an exciting one, and there’s definitely a path to get there. More likely, it’ll happen with slow steps towards complete autonomy, rather than riding a car like you would a train anytime in the near future. Nonetheless, these aspirational vehicles are heading us towards a greener, more convenient automobile, and I’m excited to see the next 10 years of progress and adoption in the space.
As a team, it was truly an honor to work with our client on a game-changing product at CES this year. We want to thank our client for giving us the opportunity to help realize such an innovative and exciting vision. A huge thank you to Dom & Tom as well for getting us to Vegas and back.
We look forward to seeing next year’s advances in tech at CES 2018- especially those amazing massage chairs.