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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

What gadgets stood out at this year's CES?

Some of our technology columnist's top picks from this year's show

Attendees enter the LG Electronics booth through a tunnel of OLED televisions at CES. Steve Marcus / Reuters
Attendees enter the LG Electronics booth through a tunnel of OLED televisions at CES. Steve Marcus / Reuters

With more than 240,000 square metres of unqualified sensory overload, it’s hard for an exhibitor to stand out at CES. Which is why LG’s exhibit at this year’s show was so notable.

With eyes wide and jaws gaping, attendees jammed the South Korean company’s television “canyon,” a 28-metre-long passageway composed of 256 flexible OLED television screens displaying nature scenes.

Alternating between the serene oranges and yellows of Arizona’s Antelope Canyon to the stark whites and blues of the arctic tundra, the clever TV display even had competitors looking on in envy. “It really is amazing,” said a representative from a rival television maker.

Although not quite as eye-catching, Samsung’s TV “Wall” also drew big crowds. The 146-inch television is made up of a number of smaller connected panels that use MicroLED — literally microscopic light-emitting-diodes — for its picture.

More importantly, the panels can be configured into any shape to suit users’ desires. Samsung hasn’t put a price on the Wall yet, but the company says it’s coming in the second half of 2018.

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Sony also had attendees clamouring to catch a glimpse of its new Aibo. The second version of its robot dog not only acts as a home security monitor thanks to its camera eyes, it can also respond to voice commands of “sit” and “shake a paw” and responds to petting.

Aibo is pricey at US$1,800, but show attendees were enamoured with it regardless.

CES is also known as a breeding ground for questionable products and there was no shortage of those this year.

Chinese company ForwardX turned heads — literally — with its CX-1 self-driving suitcase, which uses facial recognition to follow its owner.

The product is still in its early stages, a company representative said, although its utility is questionable given that it needs to be able to recognise the back of its owner’s head — not his or her face — if it is to work properly.

The Rocking Bed also divided onlookers. The $3,000 bed does exactly what its name implies by moving side to side, simulating the feeling of trying to sleep on a cruise ship or in a crib.

The idea may be enticing to some, but also potentially stomach-churning.

And then there’s the Spartan underwear. Lined with actual silver, the $75 men’s boxer briefs aim to provide wearers and their nether regions with protective shielding from mobile phone radiation, according to its France-based maker.