CES 2018: The most eye-catching booths of the mega electronics show in Las Vegas

As CES 2018 opens for business in Las Vegas, Straits Times tech journalist Lester Hio goes on a walk-through of the best gadgets and offerings, from LG's 30m-long OLED Canyon to Furrion's giant exoskeletons.
Visitors walking through LG's Oled Canyon are immersed in images that can make it seem like they are wondering through different environments.
Visitors walking through LG's Oled Canyon are immersed in images that can make it seem like they are wondering through different environments. PHOTO: LESTER HIO

LAS VEGAS - The world's biggest consumer tech trade show, CES, opened on Tuesday (Jan 9), kicking off a week of new tech announcements and shiny new products in Las Vegas.

The entire show spans 11 different venues scattered across Las Vegas, from hotels to suites to convention centres, with a total exhibition space of 2.5 million net square feet - or the size of about 40 football fields.

The show sets the stage for tech trends in the year ahead, with big tech names like Samsung, LG, Razer and Qualcomm showing their latest hardware and products due for release this year, as well as interesting, futuristic concepts that could signal the next big thing.

The Consumer Technology Association, which organises CES, says about 170,000 visitors, including exhibitors, media and industry partners are due to attend the show this year.

And to try and stand out in this crowd, exhibitors often go the extra mile to grab eyeballs.

The Straits Times Tech team is on the ground to provide the latest highlights in tech at CES this week, and have spent the first day touring around Las Vegas Convention Centre - where the bulk of the action at CES is taking place - to bring you the three most eye-catching booths so far of CES 2018.

1. Samsung


Most of the booth space is dedicated to the smart home and Samsung's suite of connected devices. ST PHOTO: LESTER HIO 

Samsung's ethos for CES has been to go big or go home, and it easily has one of the biggest booths at this year's CES. It doesn't have a booth so much as it has what it calls a Samsung City at CES, comprising smaller booths that map out what Samsung wants to do this year.

 

Most of the booth space is dedicated to the smart home and Samsung's suite of connected devices. Samsung's President and CEO for North America Tim Baxter said at the company's press conference on Monday (Jan 8) that the company aims to connect all its products, from smart refrigerators to washing machines to TVs seamlessly together, as well as work with related third-party smart home devices such as smart lights or video cameras.

A new SmartThings app will let you connect all your devices together seamlessly, from your TV to the various smart home devices in the house.

Samsung says it plans to roll out its voice-powered assistant, Bixby, to more of its products by 2020, which means controlling not just your Samsung smartphone with your voice, but your Samsung fridges, washing machines and TVs as well.

And in the work corner of Samsung's booth, Samsung showcased the new Samsung Flip, an interactive whiteboard which lets people draw, share pictures or edit presentations - saving them all without anyone having to take a photo.

2. LG Oled Canyon


Visitors walking through the tunnel are immersed in images that can make it seem like they are wondering through different environments. ST PHOTO: LESTER HIO 

Korean electronics firm LG knows how to make an impression right from the beginning at CES, as visitors are greeted at the booth entrance with LG's Oled Canyon.

The canyon is a visual feast, a 28m-long tunnel made up of 246 LG Oled displays. These displays are capable of high colour accuracy and dynamic range, making them look extremely life-like and realistic.

Visitors walking through the tunnel are immersed in images that can make it seem like they are wondering through different environments - inclusing a forest, waterfall and a blizzard.

LG traditionally uses CES to unveil the latest in its Oled television line-up, and this year is no different. The company announced its signature Oled Television W8 at the show, a super-thin TV which comes with a 65-inch display, as well as the lower-end E8 Oled television with integrated soundbar.

3. Furrion


Called the Prosthesis, this exoskeleton, created by Hong Kong-based firm Furrion, is controlled by a human being strapped on inside. ST PHOTO: LESTER HIO 

Tucked away in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Centre - where the gaming and virtual reality booths flourish away from the smart homes and televisions in the Central Halls - is a giant, prototype robot exoskeleton that promises to fulfill the dreams of anyone looking to pilot a giant mecha.

Called the Prosthesis, this exoskeleton, created by Hong Kong-based firm Furrion, looks just like what you'll find in movies like Pacific Rim or Power Rangers.

This 4m-tall, mech is controlled by a human being strapped on inside, and can in theory stomp around the desert at a top speed of 32kmh. The skeleton weighs more than 3,600kg and can last about an hour on a single battery charge.

Furrion isn't best known for robot exoskeletons - they are actually a technology company that makes applications and electronics for RVs, yachts, the home and hotels - but they are trying to make mech-racing a reality which I really hope they come through on.