5 types of gadgets to watch for at CES 2021

CES has been the launching pad for a number of popular innovations over the years, with CD players, high definition televisions, the personal camcorder and Blu-Ray all making their debut at the consumer technology trade show.

More high-tech devices will be featured at the 2021 consumer technology trade show, including robotic toys and see-through displays.

Here are some of the notable devices that will be showcased at the virtual convention. The show runs Monday through Thursday.

Transparent TV screen

LG Display is set to showcase a new transparent organic light-emitting diode — or OLED — screen at CES that is 40 percent transparent. The company said the product can be used in smart homes and buildings, restaurants, autonomous vehicles, aircraft, subways and more, according to a Dec. 30 news release.

For example, the screens can be used to entertain restaurant guests as they wait for their order while simultaneously allowing them to view a chef prepare their food, or be installed in subway windows to allow riders to both take in the passing scenery and view maps or weather information.

“Transparent OLED is a technology that maximizes the advantages of OLED and can be used in various places in our daily lives, from stores, shopping malls, and architectural interiors to autonomous vehicles, subway trains, and aircraft,” said LG Display Senior Vice President Jong-sun Park.

Flip phones

Flip phones are back, but don’t confuse these gadgets for the clunky mobile phones of the early 2000s.

Samsung Electronics Inc.’s Galaxy Z Flip 5G’s 6.7-inch glass display folds horizontally to fit in the palm of users’ hands. The smartphone also comes with 5G connectivity.

The LG Wing from LG Electronics offers a unique display that features two layered screens. Users can switch from “basic mode” — which mimics other smartphones — to “swivel mode,” where the front screen rotates 90 degrees to reveal a second 3.9 inch screen. Swivel mode lets users interact with the second screen while leaving content uninterrupted on the main screen, according to a September news release from LG.

Both phones have been listed as Innovation Award honorees.

COVID-19-fighting wearable

BioIntelliSense Inc.’s BioButton is a coin-sized, disposable medical grade device meant to address the global COVID-19 pandemic. The wearable gadget measures temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate at rest, and analyzes any changes that could indicate signs and symptoms of a COVID-19 infection.

“The commercial launch of the BioButton COVID-19 symptom screening and vaccine monitoring solution is timely in addressing the growing challenge of safe return to worksites, school, travel, conferences and entertainment,” said BioIntelliSense CEO James Mault in a Dec. 15 news release.

Smart see-through fridge

LG is set to unveil its new InstaView refrigerators during the virtual trade show, according to a Dec. 27 news release.

Users can illuminate the interior of the refrigerator by knocking on the transparent glass, allowing them to see inside without opening the door.

The newest models also incorporate UVnano technology that removes up to 99.99 percent of bacteria on the appliance’s water dispenser, and has voice recognition technology that lets users give commands like “open the refrigerator door” when their hands are full, or ask the appliance for the day’s agenda, or reveal the status of its ice and water dispensers.

Robotic friends

Embodied Inc.’s Moxie is an animate companion designed to help children build social, emotional and cognitive skills through play-based learning. The device was developed in association with child development and education experts, according to an April press release.

The robot’s machine learning technology allows it to perceive, process and respond to natural conversation, eye contact and facial expressions, and it can recognize and recall people, places, and things.

“Now, more than ever, the importance of technological advancement in at-home learning is paramount,” the statement said.

The device is a CES 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree, but will not be showcasing at CES this year.

Japan-based Yukai Engineering is set to showcase an updated version of its Bocco Emo robot at CES 2021. The device’s successor debuted at CES 2019, and is described as a family communication robot that responds to users’ voice and expresses its empathy through gestures and sounds, according to a company news release.

Contact Bailey Schulz at [email protected] Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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