The most futuristic products from the 2019 CES, and the old TV shows that may have inspire...

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in General Discussion edited January 11
It was eerie. So many of the new devices shown at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show were really previewed years ago on American television shows. From flying motorcycles to Cylons, AppleInsider picks out products from the future that we've been waiting for.

A flying Hoverbike (Source: Hoversurf)
A flying Hoverbike (Source: Hoversurf)


The future came to Las Vegas with the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, but you know what they say -- what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Year after year, CES shows off new technology products that the rest of us will simply never see, let alone be able to buy. That doesn't mean that the technology isn't interesting or that it won't end up as part of products we do eventually come to rely on. It doesn't mean that there were no exciting products, either. It just means that perhaps you should let your breath out.

And maybe also cast your mind back a while. For many of CES 2019's biggest announcements look strangely familiar if you grew up watching the best and possibly worst of 1980s American television.

Flying chance

One CES 2019 product that has already become real and on sale, at least in some form, is the Hoversurf Hoverbike. It's a motorcycle that flies. Reportedly the Dubai Police force has already got one -- but probably just the one. Nonetheless, the company has demonstrated that it works and is a 253-pound, single-seater bike that flies at 16 feet above the ground and reaches 60mph.

If you should happen to be a criminal mastermind working in Dubai, though, do factor in that the police bike can only fly for between 10 and 25 minutes. Even though neither time is exactly long, that's still a very wide variation and the company says it's dependent on the weight of the pilot and also local weather conditions.

Also the pilot's bank account. Currently the Hoverbike S3 2019 costs $150,000. Order yours now while stocks last.

It's taken nearly forty years to arrive, but we have seen this before back on ABC's Galactica 1980.






Whereas the biggest, boldest, baddest flying vehicle in the whole of CES surely owes a debt to CBS's Airwolf. That fictional helicopter came with nuclear missiles and Jan-Michael Vincent and neither is even an optional extra on the Bell Nexus flying taxi.

Yet you would be forgiven for seeing Airwolf in this because it's made by the same company. Airwolf was a (slightly more bullet-proof) Bell 222 helicopter and 35 years later, the company is looking to make more personal flying machines.

"As space at the ground level becomes limited, we must solve transportation challenges in the vertical dimension," said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO of Bell. "We believe the design, taken with our strategic approach to build this infrastructure, will lead to the successful deployment of the Bell Nexus to the world."

Bell Nexus flying taxi (Source: Bell)
Bell Nexus flying taxi (Source: Bell)


The four giant fans run parallel to the ground in order to give vertical takeoff and then rotate to provide forward thrust. This is where you wonder about the practicalities of flying cars. The cabin holds the same four or five people of a similar-sized helicopter but the wingspan, if that's even still the right term, makes it doubtful you'll land one in your yard.

Driving force

Still, in the future we may not drive or fly anything ourselves. And if there was another theme to vehicles at CES 2019 it was another ABC show, Street Hawk, and now BMW's super motorcycle.

Not pictured: a rider. BMW unveils self-driving motorbike. (Source: BMW)
Not pictured: a rider. BMW unveils self-driving motorbike. (Source: BMW)


It's not as fast as Street Hawk and it doesn't add as many features but it does take a significant one away. The BMW R 1200 GS doesn't need a rider. It can take turns, navigate a test track and slow itself to a stop even before it runs out of fuel and needs help filling up.

If in 2019 you want to actually ride a motorcycle, you can compromise by pre-ordering a Jarvish XAR helmet. Shown at CES during its crowdfunding phase -- it's quickly exceeded its goal -- and estimated to deliver in September 2019, this is a virtual reality helmet. Not one that shows you a virtual bike experience but rather one that acts as extra information when you're really riding.

The helmet contains cameras so that the visor can have a heads-up display that shows you a view of what's behind you. The visor can also show the rider navigation instructions and if that doesn't sell it to you, perhaps the fact that Amazon Alexa is built in will.

Definitely Street Hawk. This is a Jarvish XAR visor with heads-up display (Source: Jarvish)
Definitely Street Hawk. This is a Jarvish XAR visor with heads-up display (Source: Jarvish)


The Jarvish XAR helmet is expected to cost between $500 and $1,000 depending on configuration. You can see more details on the helmet's Kickstarter page.

Steady on

That helmet may only be in crowdsourced pre-production but it looks useful. There were many futuristic products at CES 2019 that were. Such as bra retailer Soma's SomaInnofit which is already on sale. For $59, you get a kind of measuring outfit that, along with the accompanying iOS app, tells you what the correct size bra is for you.

Then there were also products that actually we've seen before in some form but now look like they are actually coming to market.






This bathroom mirror uses gestures so that you're not trying to stab at buttons with soapy fingers, though it's not clear yet whether it will stay, well, clear, when you're running that hot shower behind you. It is plain that the mirror will cost $20,000, however, but you've got until the second half of 2019 to save up.

There have been projects before that made similar mirrors using Raspberry PI hardware for the graphics but then there's also been The Truman Show.

Samsung, Sony and the rest can unveil 8K television sets all they like, but nothing beats the big screen in the bathroom where you're the star of the show.

Back to traveling

When you're ready to go out, maybe you're actually ready for a long trip with a medium-sized carry-on suitcase or two.

There's still room for a shirt or blouse in this suitcase even with all of its technology
There's still room for a shirt or blouse in this suitcase even with all of its technology


That's an exploded view. It isn't what's going to happen when you walk into an airport and TSA spots that your case is packed with electronics and moving around the terminal by itself.

Two companies demonstrated similar cases that both trundle along beside you on your travels. ForwardX showed off the Ovis case which is another product which exceeded its crowdfunding goals. It will probably retail for around $800-$900. And Rover Speed shows its own equivalent which also went through crowdfunding but is now available on Amazon for $480.

Both suitcases will glom on and follow you around like a puppy, or at least until you realise you forgot to charge up its battery.

Speaking of puppies

If you have an actual, real-life puppy then you were covered at CES 2019 by Inubox and its fully automated dog toilet.

We're as wary as the dog is
We're as wary as the dog is


You can get more details on the official site and see pictures of cute dogs looking perplexed, but unfortunately, you can't order one yet. The company says it is soon going to be crowdfunding.

Seeing a trend here

While you wait for the fully automated dog toilet, you can at least buy a fully automated dog. Sony unveiled its "First Litter Edition" of Aibo, a robot dog. And it's a lot more nimble, realistic and entertaining than K9 from the 1970s version of Doctor Who.

Unbelievably lifelike puppy (Source: Sony)
Unbelievably lifelike puppy (Source: Sony)


It's available to you right now for a mere $2,899.99 -- except for customers in the state of Illinois. The 2008 Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act means that it might be illegal for this Aibo to do what it does. The dog recognizes faces and reacts to them differently. According to the act, Sony would need the informed, written consent of each person.

Maybe you could instead buy yourself a robot that looks more like a surprised member of the Teletubbies.

Tell us this isn't a Tellytubby. (Source: Groove X)
Tell us this isn't a Tellytubby. (Source: Groove X)


The Groove X Lovot goes by the slogan "It isn't alive, but it is heart-warming" and, again, it's only available on pre-order.

On the surface of it, the Lovot looks like a cuddly toy yet in action, both it and Sony's puppy, are much more. If they looked like humans they'd be in the uncanny valley where you know they're fake but they look so real that it's disturbing.






Speaking of which, Ubtech unveiled its Walker, a person-sized robot from the same company that sells Star Wars Stormtrooper ones. It's not clear yet how much the Walker will cost, but if it gets any more like the Cylons that destroyed the human race in either iteration of Battlestar Galactica that you prefer then we may pay dearly.

Chingdogu

It's not going to come as a surprise to AppleInsider readers that just because a product has a booth at CES, that has no bearing on if the product will actually ship or not. So, like every other, CES 2019 was replete with new technology that might or might not hit the shelves, ever, like the space-going future we were promised by Jules Verne, Disney animation since the '50s, and doubled down upon with '70s sci-fi.

As always, beyond the practical like expanded HomeKit support from myriad vendors, CES was full of devices and features straight out of the future. Some of it was also, perhaps, an unwitting example of what's called Chindogu.

This is a Japanese term and now also a thriving worldwide community of people who celebrate technology that is almost yet not quite useless. The podcast 99% Invisible featured this recently and you can also visit the official online home of the International Chindogu Society.

Maybe they should have a stand at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    muadibemuadibe Posts: 126member
    You have to wonder if the person(s) who invented that dog pooping platform has actually seen a dog in real life. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    I've always thought the mirror concepts were cool and even thought of making one once. After that video I'm now convinced that it's really a horrible idea except for maybe a calendar/clock/weather/music-selector readout *off to one side*. Almost everything done on it looked like a nuisance and worse than just using your phone or an "assistant in a can". It's a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, I know, but they just showed so much text and information going right across the main viewing space of the mirror. It doesn't seem to have a purpose as a mirror at that point and it's not a great way to read text. The best bit was helping the kid stick to brushing their teeth.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    The company making that hover bike should be charged with criminal negligence for actually selling it.
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    The company making that hover bike should be charged with criminal negligence for actually selling it.
    Why?  It looks like a cool fun toy at this point.  I'm a little wary of the exposed rotors and the flight time is ridiculously short, but I can imagine that being a big hit eventually.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    The one I don't understand is the self-driving motorcycle.  Sure, it's a major AI achievement, but the intersection of "people who don't want to be in control" and "people who want a motorcycle" has to be vanishingly small.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    It has always been my belief that real science fuels science fiction, and in turn, science fiction fuels real science. To add authenticity to their work, science fiction writers often pick the brains of scientists and extrapolate current technology into far-fetched concepts in their science fiction. Then scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs, etc. read that science fiction and are inspired to create some of those far-fetched concepts. Then the cycle repeats itself.
    edited January 11 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,377member
    Lots of products for people who have far too much money and don't know how to spend it.  

    We already have severe limitations on drone use.   Except for use by the military and the police, where are they going to permit flying hoverbikes and the like?  It's not surprising that the bike is labeled "Dubai Police" as it's a great piece of equipment for a police state.  

    IMO, the mirror is ridiculous.   Do we have to be connected even when in the bathroom?   $20,000?   And it's not a good idea to train your kids to have to be entertained every single freaking moment.   People really don't know what to do with their money.   As compared to this, buying a really expensive luxury car seems really sensible.   


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    The company making that hover bike should be charged with criminal negligence for actually selling it.
    Why?  It looks like a cool fun toy at this point.  I'm a little wary of the exposed rotors and the flight time is ridiculously short, but I can imagine that being a big hit eventually.

    The exposed rotors are the most obvious flaw, but that's only part of it.

    There are simply too many points of failure. I've been building drones for years and even compiled up my own custom versions of flight controller software to experiment with. Drones like these (4 rotor drones) are, by definition, highly unstable. They are always flying "on a knife edge" with the flight controller making minute adjustments to motor output thousands of times per second to keep the craft level.

    The biggest problem is there's no redundancy. An airplane can have multiple computers as backups in case of any issue, but even in the event of a complete failure of all systems the plane will still fly. Not so with a drone. A failure of a single motor, controller or any of the connections between them will result in an immediate and disastrous crash. Even an outside influence (like a bird striking a propeller and damaging or breaking it) can cause a crash. If not a crash, than a loss of stability which could easily cause the rider to be thrown into the propellers or off the craft altogether.

    I've built drones for camera use with 6 and 8 rotors and these are much more reliable. On a 6 rotor drone you can have a complete failure of a motor and it will still fly. On an 8 rotor drone you can have failure of 2 motors and still fly (as long as they aren't 2 motors directly beside each other).

    This drone has no such redundancy in the event of any failure.


    I'd personally love to try flying a drone that can carry a person. But I think we're a long way yet from something that's reliable and safe enough for anything other than a publicity stunt.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    I sure would hate to hit some turbulence on that hover bike and end up in one or all of those propellers. Yikes!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    I sure would hate to hit some turbulence on that hover bike and end up in one or all of those propellers. Yikes!
    That's one of the first things I thought about. I don't think I could sit that close to four unshielded propellers spinning at a high rate of speed. I call it Froginablenderphobia.
    edited January 11 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    The company making that hover bike should be charged with criminal negligence for actually selling it.
    One wrong move and the rider become a human purée. It’s from Russia, so they’re not too concerned with safety.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    The dog poop machine is interesting but I can't imagine the maintenance on this thing is probably a nightmare. They probably offer some sort of monthly maintenance service for a fee. The mirror has potential on hair salon shop if it can project what the new hair style will look like on the customer beside just changing hair color. For regular usage, it's redundant because we already have Smart TV that does the same and more.
    watto_cobra
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