CES 2024 Recap & Hot Takes

Our team is fresh off of CES and we’re excited to share our firsthand experience. We saw some cool things like transparent TVs, futuristic-looking cars with omni-directional wheels, and even some AI advancements in home appliances and wearables that look pretty viable, albeit a bit derivative. One thing we noticed this year was just how easy it is to slap some AI onto a product and call it a “world’s first,” but what exactly will be real and make it to market? To that end, we’ve outlined some trends and innovations we came across, and added in our hot takes. 

Transparent TVs play to the future of interior design

The idea has been around for a while, and there have been a handful of attempts to bring these products to market. While this technology was once envisioned as a play for retail, the marketing has since shifted to a more consumer-focused play angled at people who want to remove that big black box from their house. This year, we saw demos from LG and Samsung, where LG opted for OLED technology and Samsung went with micro LED. LG’s Wireless Transparent screen was not only visually stunning, but represents some pretty big advancements in tech, such as the miniaturization of electronics so that the components are barely visible on the surface of the screen. This also enables a variety of new visual motifs, such as being able to layer information on top of real-life displays, displaying dynamic and changing signage, and generally better use of space that isn’t blocked by an opaque standard screen. We’re curious to see if any of these displays are truly viable for production this year, and at what price to the consumer. 

Automotive tech is cool but creepy 

Hyundai is killing it with cool advances in tech! This year, the demonstration vehicle they showed off featured all four wheels that are independently powered and steer separately — allowing the car to slide in and out of parallel parking spots, rotate 360° in position, or pivot around a fixed point. Their new Beyond Mobility platform aims to create fully modular vehicles that suit the needs of customers. This sits in contrast to Amazon’s Alexa and BMW, whose partnership won them the Worst In Show award for creepy tracking and privacy-violating new tech. Who decided to make cars into smartphones anyway?  

Next up for AI accessories 

There are a ton of advances that feature adding AI to household appliances, accessories, and wearable tech. Some of them are pretty cool, like Swarovski’s Smart Binoculars that can enrich your viewing experience by identifying birds you’re looking at. AI accessories also promise a better, healthier, more efficient cooking experience with products like the Brisk It smart grill or Artly Coffee’s Barista Bot, which were just some of the kitchen-related robotic innovations. While we’re excited about having the perfect cup of coffee every morning, we can’t help but speculate that many of these seem derivative and are only on the edge of the AI hype. We’re excited to get all of these first-wave AI implementations out of the way so we can start seeing some truly unique products. 

Our Hardware House Party 

If you’re still reading, then we have to be honest: We didn’t actually go to CES for the booths or the talks — we went for the networking because it’s the greatest concentration of hardware professionals anywhere all year. Everyone is there to see what’s next in tech, make new connections, and kick off the new year with a bang!

After spending a couple of days walking the floor of CES, we were excited to relax and let loose at our Hardware House Party. 

We were thrilled to have a fantastic turnout of clients, freelancers, and people curious about informal! We went to CES to meet amazing people making amazing things — and connect them with each other! By connecting smaller startups with each other, it’s easy to get your product in front of the right people without having to spend thousands on a booth. We’re here to help facilitate those interactions. We appreciated everyone who stopped by, and we promise next year will be even more epic!

Our party was co-hosted by Kickstarter, and supported by Field Theory, Intent, Seacomp, SolidWorks, and Tact Product Development.     

informal is a freelance collective for the most talented independent professionals in hardware and hardtech. Whether you’re looking for a single contractor, a full-time employee, or an entire team of professionals to work on everything from product development to go-to-market, informal has the perfect collection of people for the job.


News & Updates
Nate Padgett

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