CES 2017 Tech That Will Save andor Ruin the World

first_imgStay on target CES Reinstates Innovation Award for High-Tech Sex Toy2019 Tech Trends Worth Getting Hyped About A new year means new technology, and for a concentrated dose of new technology look no further than the Consumer Electronics Show. Held annually in Las Vegas, CES is E3 for the tech journalism world. Instead of seeing new games every January we see new phones and computers and whatever new appliance we can make “smart.”Technology has always played a crucial role in the world. It’s one of the best ways to mark our progress (or lack thereof) as a culture. But these days, with the world seemingly on the brink, we’re more sensitive to the effects of tech than ever before. Tech can help or hurt, or maybe do both at the same time. To manufacturers, it doesn’t really matter of tech saves the world or ruins it. It just needs to have an influence. It needs to be important. When you’re the Next Big Thing, like a smart hairbrush or a VR Hypersuit or a laptop with three screens, the absolute worst thing to be meaningless.We’ve seen a lot of intriguing new tech in our ongoing CES coverage both here and on PCMag. Here’s just a sample of the products we think could redeem our planet or destroy it forever.Augmented Reality GlassesWhat Is It?From Snapchat Spectacles to Microsoft Hololens to new products in the works from Lenovo, ODG, and Vuzix, augmented reality glasses are the new virtual reality headsets.How It Will Save the WorldInstead of helping you escape to some virtual world, augmented reality enhances your perception of the real world around you, hopefully giving you the knowledge and motivation to save it.How It Will Ruin the WorldThe world shown by AR glasses may be more accurate than virtual reality, but it’s not accurate. By only showing you what you want to see, tech companies could leave you blind to problems they’d rather you not notice. It’s like They Live in reverse.A Smart Garbage CanWhat Is It?The GeniCan is a smart accessory for your dumb trash can. Plop it on and keep track of the groceries you throw out by holding barcodes up to the scanner. Now you can know all about your trash heap.How It Will Save the WorldThe GeniCan also lets you know when you need to restock certain food and helps you buy it, which is convenient. But more importantly, being aware of our waste could theoretically help us reduce it.How It Will Ruin the WorldDoes anything sound more like a parody nightmare of techno-capitalist hyper-consumption than a WiFi-enabled garbage can that tells you when it’s time to buy new things while you throw away old things?A Fridge What TalksWhat Is It?When it’s not making phones that explode, Samsung’s secret passion during these last few Consumer Electronic Shows has been intelligent refrigerators. The latest model is the Family Hub 2.0.How It Will Save the WorldThe Family Hub 2.0 takes the innovations of its predecessor and spreads them out across a wide range of refrigerators. Internal cameras keep track of food before it spoils while the touchscreen and app integration lets families learn and share all sorts of data.How It Will Ruin the WorldThe Family Hub 2.0 listens and responds to voice commands. I get why. It is a modern product after all. But something about talking to a refrigerator as if it were a person just doesn’t sit right with me. It’s like a bad prank call joke.Radiation-Proof UnderwearWhat Is It?Whether you’re a doomsday prepper or are just concerned about cell phone signals in your pants, men’s underwear lined with material like silver can shield sperm from (arguably) harmful radiation.How It Will Save the WorldAt this time it’s not a question of if the bombs will drop but when the bombs will drop. By preventing mass sterility from nuclear fallout, radiation-proof underwear from companies like Spartan could very well guarantee the survival of the human race.How It Will Ruin the WorldWithout the threat of mass sterility as a deterrent, radiation-proof underwear may, in fact, make us more willing to engage in nuclear war, which is pretty good way to ruin the world.Paraplegic ExoskeletonsWhat Is It?The Hyundai Medical Exoskeleton, or H-MEX, is a robotic leg brace that can help elderly or paraplegic people walk again and reduce the stress on workers’ legs while performing strenuous activity.How It Will Save the WorldFor people unable to walk, this tech could profoundly change their lives for the better. Technologically empowered human workers could also be a more ethical alternative to a fully mechanized manufacturing economy.How It Will Ruin the WorldRemember that scene from RoboCop 2 where the failed exoskeletons kill all those people?The 3-in-1 GraalphoneWhat Is It?No, it’s not some Steve Brule invention. The Graalphone is a peculiar new smartphone concept. The small Android phone can slot into a larger 3D screen, which can then connect to a hardware keyboard.How It Will Save the WorldTheoretically, this could be the phone for everyone since it functions in two sizes and can turn into a Windows 10 machine.How It Will Ruin the WorldAs cool as the Graalphone is in theory, watching it in action is pretty ridiculous. Seeing someone in the real world constantly fiddle with their phone like it’s a Transformer might be too much to handle.Carnival’s Ocean MedallionWhat Is It?The Carnival Ocean Medallion is wearable tech that gives you a “smart vacation” when taking a cruise on Carnival’s ships.How It Will Save the WorldCarnival uses data from the Ocean Medallion to make your vacation as comforting as possible. Letting housekeeping know when you’re gone, showing you the best routes to activities, and keeping restaurants open if you’re nearby are all really clever conveniences.How It Will Ruin the WorldBeing continuously monitored on a boat sounds like the perfect combination of Logan’s Run and Titanic.A Smart PanWhat Is It?SmartyPans is a smart skillet for your dumb stomach.How It Will Save the WorldUsing ingredient sensors and online data, SmartyPans can walk you through a recipe, track nutritional information, and connect you with other chefs. Better eating equals a better world.How It Will Ruin the WorldOf all devices to make “smart,” a pan isn’t the worst pick. Still, do you really want to turn something like your diet into another mass of data to farm?Gotta hear both sides.For more CES coverage, check out our pals at PCMag.last_img