Archive for the ‘CES 2021’ Category
The Razer Project Hazel N95 mask concept. [credit: Razer ]
The annual deluge of CES gadgets and gizmos usually tries to predict what consumer-grade tech will look like in living rooms of the near future. But after a year like 2020, bendable TVs and surround-sound systems seem less interesting than a more pressing category: tech to help people go outside during an ongoing pandemic.
That's why we're taken by the Razer Project Hazel, arguably the most high-end face-mask concept we've seen since COVID-19 began ravaging the globe. This N95 mask concept was revealed as part of Razer's CES line of gamer-centric products on Tuesday, and it showed up as a surprise entry alongside the company's usual fare of laptops and gaming peripherals.
16.8 million colors on your face? Sure, why not
Razer's sales pitch alleges that this shouldn't be surprising at all, since the company repurposed at least one of its production lines to pump out over a million disposable, surgical-grade face masks in 2020. From there, someone at the company decided to go one further and make what looks like a fancypants, LED-smothered gamer mouse... for your face. Project Hazel immediately reinforces the company's affinity for customizable lighting grids, thanks to two rings of light—which support 16.8 million colors, because, why not—circling the mask's ventilation slots. We wouldn't be shocked if Razer eventually let gamers sync these light grids with nearby mice and keyboards.
Remember the Sony Vision-S from CES in 2020? It's back for 2021, and there's more than one. [credit: Sony ]
Perhaps the highlight of last year's CES was Sony's surprise battery electric concept car, the Vision-S. At the time, we thought that the Vision-S—which looked like a cross between a Porsche Taycan and a Lucid Air—was mostly meant to show off all the different enabling technologies it contained, from sensors to entertainment. Well, the Vision-S is back for this year's not-happening-in-Las-Vegas CES, and it seems the project might be a little more serious than we once thought.
As you'll see in the embedded video, Sony has been testing the Vision-S, both on a test track and public roads in Austria. Why Austria? That's where Magna Steyr is located, a contract car manufacturer that currently builds vehicles for other car companies, including the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar I-Pace, and Toyota Supra. And Magna Steyr is one of Sony's partners in the Vision-S, along with automotive tier 1 suppliers Bosch, Continental, and ZF, software company Elektrobit Automotive, mapping company HERE, as well as Nvidia, Blackberry (maker of QNX), and Qualcomm.
Over the past year, the Vision-S' sensor count has grown from 33 to 40, with Sony experimenting to see how it can improve the car's 360-degree safety system. The company has also been working on the interior to make it a more relaxing place to be, according to Izumi Kawanishi, senior VP for Sony's AI robotics business group.
Some initial specs for the new Core i9-11900K. [credit: Intel ]
The Consumer Electronics Show this week was never going to be where Intel would venture into extreme detail on major new 12th-generation CPUs, but nonetheless, the company hosted a press conference this morning that laid out a few new evolutions of the 11th-gen CPUs it has already been shipping, plus an early look at what to expect from the 12th-generation Alder Lake.
Using an improved version of the 10nm SuperFin process, Alder Lake will take on Apple's ARM instruction set-based M1 chip and its ilk with a somewhat similar architecture. Namely, that means a hybrid architecture of high-performance (Golden Lake) and high-efficiency (Gracemont) cores similar in spirit to ARM's BIG.little design and to Lakefield. Intel says these are desktop and laptop CPUs and that they'll reach consumers in the second half of 2021, but details are otherwise pretty sparse.
More than anything, it looks like Intel is trying to get ahead of the narrative that the company is facing some serious challenges ahead as Macs with M1 CPUs delivered much better price-to-performance ratios than what Intel is currently putting in competing devices—especially in the face of Intel's delays.
FedEx Express is slated to be the first customer of the BrightDrop EV600 and will begin receiving its vehicles later this year. [credit: General Motors ]
On Tuesday morning, General Motors Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra announced a new business for the company during her keynote speech at this year's all-virtual CES. It's called BrightDrop, and the goal is to provide a range of electrified products for the logistics and delivery industries.
"We are building on our significant expertise in electrification, mobility applications, telematics and fleet management, with a new one-stop-shop solution for commercial customers to move goods in a better, more sustainable way," Barra said.
BrightDrop's first product is called the EP1, and it's a pallet with an electric propulsion assist meant to transport things short distances, such as from a delivery van to the customer's door, at speeds of up to 3mph (5km/h). The EP1 can carry up to 200lbs (91kg) and about 23 cubic feet (651L) of cargo, with adjustable shelves and lockable cabinet doors. GM says the EP1 will be available early this year.
In 2001, BMW put a digital display in the dash of its newest 7 Series, heralding the advent of the iDrive infotainment system. [credit: BMW ]
With the coronavirus pandemic causing CES to be held virtually this year, some exhibitors have been looking for different ways to capture our attention. Take BMW for example. In CESes of yore, the German automaker often had a large presence, showing off concepts and even providing a fleet of cars for five-minute test drives. Obviously that won't work in 2021, which is a shame for BMW because this year marks the 20th anniversary of its very first iDrive infotainment system, which debuted in the 2001 7 Series.
So instead, the automaker made this short film to mark the occasion. Warning: it's pretty weird, but at the same time I think it's kind of charming, featuring an old graybeard 7 Series meeting a young whippersnapper iX SUV one night at the BMW museum.
Back in 2001 the 7 Series was BMW's flagship sedan, loaded to the gunnels with the latest and greatest technology the Bavarians could muster. In previous generations that meant powered reclining rear seats and maybe a car phone. But that year the new 7 Series arrived with something called iDrive, combining the car's entertainment equipment with navigation and a way to interact with the car's settings. A pair of screens—one in the main instrument display, one in the center stack—displayed information, and to interact with it all, a rotary controller sat on the center console. In short, it was one of the first true infotainment systems.