CES 2019 Showstoppers, the Show Floor, and Some Neat Stuff


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The passenger load for this drone is reasonable, and while I was unable to determine the specific number, the final version that will carry it is considerably more than a helicopter of almost the same size. Bell says this is “Rideshare in the air.”

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There is no doubt that passenger drones such as the Bell as well as a number of others are now crossing the horizon, and I would expect to see them being used soon and become relatively common within the next 10 years. Expect them to be autonomous eventually. Bell is testing it in Dallas, Dubai, and Los Angeles. The stated range is 150 miles. They hope to release it in 2025. Sitting in the high-tech cockpit flanked by high-resolution touch screens and controls, the Bell Nexus feels like it dropped straight out of a futuristic movie.

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Another huge vehicle, and not something you would usually think of as high-tech, is the one from John Deere, but it does include a lot of new technology. The centerpiece for their first CES—and something that you could not miss—was a 20-ton combine harvester including AI. The combine has cameras to track the quality of grain coming into the machine using computer-vision technology so that its kernel-separating settings can be CES19-4-John-Deere-harvester.jpgadjusted automatically. Farmers can monitor this remotely using a smartphone app. Deere was also showing other self-driving tractors all loaded with technology. Welcome to CES, John Deere.

Two of my personal areas of interest are building DIY extreme computers and high-quality audio. I will review the computer components in the next article, but first, let’s talk about two of the more interesting and impressive of the numerous audio offerings. One of these is Audio-Technica who has been in the high-end audio arena for decades. They used to be a leading supplier of turntables, but with vinyl becoming somewhat of a fad again over the last few years, they have introduced modern versions of their highly respected turntables and cartridges. The new versions of technology from the ‘50s and ‘60s come in models from home use—where you used to listen to your (or your parents’) old vinyl collections—to very high-end DJ versions.

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