The 18 Best Tech Innovations From CES 2024 That Could Reshape Our Future
From AI pocket companions to transparent TVs to flying cars, CES 2024 offered a look into the near future.
It’s a wrap for CES 2024! We told you AI would be the loudest buzzword at the show, finding its way into all kinds of consumer tech, and we were right. AI was everywhere, but the future isn’t only AI.
At Inverse, we obsess over the past, present, and future of technology. The past shows us the progress we’ve made, the present keeps us grounded in reality, and the future opens our eyes to what’s possible.
CES 2024 had plenty of announcements for devices that you’ll be able to buy in the next 12 months, but it was the experimental, ambitious, and far-flung tech innovations that had us at the edge of our seats. The future is exciting only when you have dreamers trying to build it with wild ideas and products, after all. Not all of these 18 CES 2024 tech innovations will stick the landing, but we hope most of them do.
18. Infinix AirCharge
CES 2024 had Qi 2 chargers aplenty, but looking further out, what we really want is for our gadgets to charge wirelessly over the air without contact with a pad. Enter Infinix’s AirCharge, a base that can supply 7.5W of power to devices. Over-the-air charging tech has a long way to go — the AirCharge only works up to a distance of 20cm or about 7.87 inches — but it is double the distance of similar technology from Oppo, according to Engadget. The progress is slow, but we’re making some. Hopefully, air charging will be mainstream by the end of the decade.
17. Hyundai Mobion Crab-Walking EV
Automakers are obsessed with self-driving car tech, but if you think about it, better self-parking features should be the higher priority. Hyundai’s Mobion EV has an “e-Corner System” aka crab-walking tech, which is exactly the kind of feature every car should have. Many cars now have self-parallel-parking or some kind of assistance for backing into a parking space, so why not the ability for the wheels to rotate and shift the car into a cramped space?
16. C Seed N1 Folding TV
Everyone loves a new TV, but one trend that is gaining traction is hiding the black screen in plain sight. Samsung’s Frame TV has done a good job disguising TVs as picture frames. The natural next step might be TVs that fold up and contract into an art piece or media center. C Seed’s N1 does just that, unfolding into a 137-inch 4K TV with micro-LEDs and then compressing into an unassuming metal sculpture.
15. Xpeng AeroHT eVTOL Flying Car
Still waiting for flying cars? XPeng AeroHT’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) might be the closest thing on the horizon. The flying car is basically a supercar with rotors strapped to the top. Xpeng AeroHT, an eVTOL-focused sibling to Xpeng Motors, says the eVTOL flying car isn’t a concept and is preparing to mass produce it for a launch in 2025, with pre-orders in the fourth quarter of the year. We’ve heard similar promises from other companies, but if the company does pull it off, we’ll finally be able to cross flying cars off our list of sci-fi tech that’s made a reality.
14. Sennheiser Momentum Sport Wireless Earbuds
Smartwatches have proven to be an excellent form factor for health and fitness-tracking functionality. However, the next wearable for sensors to call home might be wireless earbuds. Sennheiser's Momentum Sport give us an early look at the near future with real-time body temperature and heart rate monitoring. It also makes us wonder: Can technology miniaturization lead to wireless earbuds, not smartwatches, becoming the more dominant companion to our phones?
13. Thunderbolt 5 In the Razer Blade 18
Compared to the rest of the innovations in this roundup, Intel’s Thunderbolt 5 is pretty boring. While it won’t garner the same kind of attention as a transparent TV, Thunderbolt 5 will be the backbone that enables next-gen computing. We’re looking at data transfers of 80Gbps and 120Gbps for video output in a USB-C port. The first laptop with Thunderbolt 5 at CES 2024 was Razer’s Blade 18, but expect laptops and desktops to adopt the new protocol fairly soon.
12. Samsung Ballie and LG Agent Personal Robots
Samsung’s Ballie and LG’s AI Agent personal robots promise to understand our needs using computer vision and AI. Ballie can patrol the home and project videos onto surfaces. The AI Agent can also patrol homes and functions more like an autonomous smart home hub on wheels, capable of doing stuff like switching the lights on and off for you. Amazon’s Astro robot may have fizzled out, but the dream of home robots doing our bidding so we can live more leisurely lives.
11. Acer 57-inch Predator Z57 Gaming Monitor
VR headsets and smart glasses may displace TVs and monitors one day, but until that happens, gaming companies are going bigger with their physical screens. The biggest one announced at CES 2024 was Acer’s Predator Z57, a 57-inch curved ultra-wide behemoth. With an 8K resolution and 120Hz, the 32:9 aspect ratio monitor shows gamers have a preference for even larger screens. Check back in a few years and 57-inchers will be as commonplace as 27-inch monitors are today.
10. Honda Sallon and Space-Hub EV Concepts
We don’t see eye to eye with Elon Musk about a great many things, but we do agree on one thing: the future of cars should look like they’re from the future. We’re not saying the Cybertruck’s sharp, brutalist design is not it, but most people would prefer EVs with a curvier body. Something more like the Saloon and Space-Hub concepts that are part of Honda’s Zero Series EVs. From gull-wing doors to spacious cabins with massive glass roofs to infinity head and tail lights, Honda's EV concepts are more like a step into zen retreat than a vehicle to escape the apocalypse.
9. MSI Claw A1M Handheld PC
Sony’s PS5 continues to sell well for a gaming box that you put under your TV, but Valve’s Steam Deck, along with the dozens of Windows-powered handheld PCs released in the last year, strongly favors the hybrid console design that Nintendo popularized with the Switch. MSI’s Claw A1M is a first look at what will surely be a trend of more increasingly powerful Windows handheld PCs; it’s already got the Asus ROG Ally beat in a number of ways. Handheld PCs like the Claw A1M prove you don't need to decide between performance and portability. You can get both in one device.
8. Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid Windows Laptop and Android Tablet
You can always count on Lenovo to show up at CES with a form factor that, at the very least, has a shock factor. Case in point: the ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid. It’s a Windows 11 laptop with a display that snaps off and functions as an Android tablet — two birds with one stone. What we’re saying is that different platforms can play nice, and we want to see more companies making hardware that acknowledges the strengths of each one.
7. Samsung Display Flex In & Out Flip
Have you ever looked at a foldable phone and wished that it could fold all the way backward? Samsung's Flex In & Out concept takes the foldable screen of the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and pairs it with a hinge that lets you bend it 360 degrees. How practical such a screen and design will be in a commercial device is questionable, but it’s nice to see that Samsung is still working hard to come up with new phone form factors. Somebody has to!
6. Volkswagen EVs with ChatGPT
We told you that AI would be the major theme of CES 2024, flowing through everything, even if it might seem unnecessary. So it’s no surprise to see Volkswagen integrating ChatGPT into its IDA voice assistant. Leveraging large language models (LLMs), you'll be able to talk to your car with natural language, like Michael Knight did with his car KITT in Knight Rider, as opposed to commanding a voice assistant like it’s some robot serf. As AI makes its way into every computer we own, we'll look back in the distant future at this integration and chuckle at how tame it was.
5. Xreal Air 2 Ultra and Asus AirVision M1 Smart Glasses
In about three weeks, we'll find out whether Apple Vision Pro really is the start of the “spatial computing” era. Even if it isn’t, we feel confident that video glasses such as Xreal’s Air 2 Ultra and Asus’ AirVision M1 that offer multiple high-res virtual screens are here to stay. They’re also more nails in the coffin for physical TV and monitor screens. We’re starting to think physical screens might not have many years left in this world.
4. Samsung Micro-LED and LG OLED T Transparent TVs
If folding TVs don’t become mainstream (the C Seed N1 is $200,000), we could settle for transparent TVs. Both Samsung's Transparent Micro LED TV and LG’s OLED T tout holographic-like visual experiences. The idea is the same as any folding or rollable TV — fully or partially hiding it so your home can look more like photos featured in an interior design magazine. Transparent TVs are still 2D for now, but give them a few years, and maybe they’ll be capable of 3D holograms.
3. Segway Xyber and Xafari E-Bikes
Are these e-bikes or e-motorcycles? Both? Now that the e-bike revolution is well on its way, e-bikes like Segway’s Xyber and Xafari will blur the lines between what requires and doesn't require a motorcycle license. Honestly, we're all for beefier e-bikes with motorcycle-like builds, suspension, speed, and range. We’re also into the Cybertruck-like aesthetic.
2. Razer Project Esther Haptics Gaming Cushion
Video games have been chasing immersion since Pong, and while the term can mean many things (more realistic graphics, controls, and in-game physics), tactile feedback is one that always comes up. Razer’s Project Esther is a cushion for gaming chairs with 16 “Sensa HD” vibration actuators. The idea is that you can feel the action of a game around your body instead of only on your controller. You can think of Project Esther as a mini version of the 4D movie theater experiences that vibrate your chair. Do we want to feel like we've been shot in the back? Razer thinks so, or its designers have watched Ready Player One too many times.
1. Rabbit R1 AI Pocket Companion
AI, specifically generative AI through ChatGPT and chatbots and “copilots” that make use of LLMs took the world by storm in 2023. This year, the AI hardware arrives. Leading the pack is Rabbit’s R1, a $199 “pocket companion” designed by Teenage Engineering that doesn't just understand what it “sees” through its rotating camera and “hears” via its two far-field microphones, but can take actions on them on your behalf. Essentially, the R1 will control your apps and services instead of you having to tap and click your way through. Having pre-sold over 30,000 units since its announcement, maybe Rabbit is on to something here; maybe it’s really time we move away from apps and let AI do repetitive computing for us.
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