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10 extraordinary tech innovations from CES

Just like many other traditional physical events, the Customer Electronic Show ditched the hands-on practice this year. The Las Vegas fair spaces stood empty, but journalists still had a hectic couple of days of keeping up with the many digital presentations, showrooms and conference talks. Out of the many impressive and fascinating news and gadgets that we stumbled upon, we have cherry-picked the must-haves and can’t-misses for the coming year.

LG’s rollable screen

We’ve seen the rollable TV from LG before, but the South Korean tech giant briefly teased a rollable smartphone/tablet in their official press conference. Perhaps our smartphones will be rolled up and folded up in 2021?

General Motors’ airtaxi concept

The abbreviation of this coming decade is eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing). The air-taxi industry is picking up speed, and with the entrance of mobility powerhouse GM, the process might reach new heights sooner than we think.

YSL’s MUA-bot

Yves Saint Laurent has partnered up with Perso in a new smart lipstick. The sleek container connects to an included app that can analyze your outfit’s colour scheme, and then create the perfect red shade for that specific outfit.

Skagen’s sleek smartwatch

Owning a smartwatch usually comes with one big downside — it doesn’t look very good (or like a classic watch). Danish watchmakers Skagen’s new Jorn Hybrid HR keeps the sleek Danish designs, but still packs some impressive technology assets. Track your sleep, your jog routes, daily steps and heart rate without having to master a small touch screen.

The Gardyn home garden

Vertical farming with a built-in AI gardener? Yes, please. This 150 cm tall indoor garden can host up to 30 different plants, and the AI tells you exactly when, and how, to take care of the plants. You fill the water tank once a month, the home garden does the rest.

Razer’s smart mask

As a sign of the times, one of the most hyped products at CES was Razer’s smart mask. Its built-in mic and speaker get your words out more clearly, and the RBG LED lights up your mouth when it gets darker. We do want it, but let’s hope we won’t find a reason to within the next couple of years.

Chamberlain’s smart dog door

Autonymous and smart garage door developer Chamberlain is a breed apart from its competitors, at least with its latest product in mind. The myQ Pet Portal lets your dog get free access in and out of your house with its smart collar, which notifies the connected app when the dog wants out.

Ampere Shower Power Bluetooth speaker

This smart speaker’s name gives you a hint of what to expect. It’s powered by the running water in your shower, meaning that you can listen to your favourite podcast via Bluetooth without fiddling on your phone with wet fingers, or worrying about battery shortage.

Vaonis’ miniature observatory

The Vespera Observation Station is something of a hybrid between a smart telescope and a camera. The station is 68 cm tall and stands firmly on the removable tripod, which allows it to take magnificent pictures of space. Be ready to up the ante on your wallpaper game.

Samsung’s butler robot

It wouldn’t be CES without a proper smart robot. The Bot Handy uses its arm and hand to pour you a glass of water, open doors and stacking the dishwasher. The video material is too good not to miss out.

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Acute Art evades lockdown restrictions by taking its art to your home

The augmented reality art project Acute Art is directed and curated by Swedish art curator Daniel Birnbaum, and uses new media and technology to produce cutting-edge visual artworks in VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality). Although based in London, their playful and avant-garde app can’t be tied down to one place. It can be downloaded for free and works with most smartphones.

Acute Art’s latest collaboration project is called Unreal City, which is curated together with Dazed. It’s described as London’s biggest AR exhibition and comes in form of a walking tour along the River Thames, that originally launched in December. But as UK lockdown restrictions entered Tier 4 this month, Acute Art has released the app to anyone, anywhere.

— The beauty of augmented reality means that rather than extending the site-specific show by popular demand, we can respond to interest and the new lockdown measures by bringing the exhibition to you, said Daniel Birnbaumartistic director of Acute Art and curator of Unreal City, to Dazed.

High-tech art pieces from Kaws, Nina Chanel Abney, Olafur Eliasson, Cao Fei, Tomás Saraceno and more are now available to view anywhere, meaning that you can curate your own art show in your living room. But make it count, because the exhibition is only available for one month.

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Norwegian company Equinor invest $8bn in World’s largest offshore wind farm

The Dogger Bank project, located in the British parts of the North Sea, is set to be the biggest offshore wind farm in the world. The Dogger Bank farm is meant to generate 5% of the UK’s power demands and will do so by 2026, Reuter reports.

Norwegian oil giant Equinor has joined forces with SSE to pull this off, with a new investment of 6 billion pounds ($8.03 billion). This is a well-needed green step for the two companies. Especially for Equinor, as its oil production has damaged the environment since its founding in 1972.

— Reaching financial close on the two first phases of Dogger Bank is a major milestone, demonstrating our commitment to profitable growth within offshore wind. The extensive interest from lenders underpins the attractiveness of UK offshore wind assets and confidence in SSE and Equinor. As the wind farm’s future operator, we are proud to take this big step forward in delivering what will be the backbone of a growing wind hub in the North Sea, says Pål Eitrheim, Equinor’s executive vice president of New Energy Solutions.

SSE closed it’s last coal-fired power station earlier this year, in order to meet the UK’s ambitious plans of cutting 68% of their emissions by 2030.

— The UK’s 2030 ambition set out by the Prime Minister is among the most ambitious in the world and we’re excited about working alongside government to deliver it, said SSE’s chief executive, Alistair Phillips-Davies, according to Montelnews.

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Back in the game — Atari VCS is the nostalgic console choice for 2020

The gaming industry has ridden out a hectic Q4 for 2020. The two heavyweight console manufacturers Xbox and Playstation have presented new hardware for the first time in 7 years, and pre-order lists are filled to the brim with eager gamers hoping to get a hold of the Xbox Series X, Xbox Serie S or the Playstation 5 next month. But it has flown over many gamers’ radars that gaming pioneer Atari is joining the party too, with the release of Atari VCS this November.

Atari, who helped develop the first-ever commercially successful video game Pong in 1972, hasn’t released a gaming console in 15 years. The Atari VCS was originally presented in 2017 but has seen heavy delays because of unexpected expenses, company transformations, and of course, the Coronavirus. But for the nostalgic and alternative gamer, the Atari VCS is the nerdy and sought-after choice. The console runs Linux, making it extremely versatile, and also comes with an old-school joystick to fulfil the nostalgic feel.

The VCS will also support video and music streaming on top of the gaming and is said to come with a subscription service that will let users get a hold of games and other services digitally, since the VCS doesn’t hold ports for discs or cassettes. It will play more than 100 classic Atari games including Pong, Asteroids and Centipede.

The first batch of Atari VCS 800 Collector’s Edition has already been shipped out to early investors, and the console is set to drop globally by the end of November, with a starting price of roughly US$ 390.

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Swedish health app Lifesum teams up with Amazon for new project

For the health and fitness person, the Lifesum app probably rings a bell. Whether users want to lose weight or cut back on drinking caffeine, the app uses technology, psychology, and professional dietitians to identify the individual user’s personal goals. More than 45 million consumers use the app, and it consistently ranks in the Top-10 in the Health & Fitness category on the App Store. 

Tech giant Amazon hardly needs an introduction, but their brand new project might. Amazon Halo is looking to offer nutritional services to its users, and they’ve turned to Lifesum to get started. Thanks to Lifesum lab reports, Amazon Halo will offer various challenges to its users. The nutritional challenges are centered around health goals such as eating more plant-based foods and trading ultra-processed foods for a cleaner diet. A wrist band helps users to see how their nutrition may impact their mind, body, and overall well-being.

— Nutrition is not one size fits all. Instead, it’s extremely personal – you have to figure out what works for you. Together, Lifesum and Amazon Halo will help users explore and find the best health and nutritional approach for them, says Lifesum CEO Henrik Torstensson.