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Review: Technological innovations in 2016

CCTV.com

12-27-2016 21:19 BJT

High-flying drones, smartphones and virtual reality technology made big headlines in 2016.

The year 2016 kicked off on a high note, as high-flying startups showcased their latest creations at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"Just from a year ago, it's like all the building block pieces have come together towards artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, driverless cars. That was all like science fiction hype just a year ago at CES - virtual reality - and this year it's all real," said Robin Raskin, founder of Living in Digital Times.

Virtual reality was one of the biggest trends at the Mobile World Congress in Spain this year. Companies like Samsung, LG and HTC let people try on their latest headsets, while other businesses revealed new content and new ways to access virtual reality worlds.

Virtual reality was one of the biggest trends at the Mobile World Congress in Spain this year. Companies like Samsung, LG and HTC let people try on their latest headsets, while other businesses revealed new content and new ways to access virtual reality worlds.

Virtual reality was one of the biggest trends at the Mobile World Congress in Spain this year. Companies like Samsung, LG and HTC let people try on their latest headsets, while other businesses revealed new content and new ways to access virtual reality worlds.

Virtual reality was one of the biggest trends at the Mobile World Congress in Spain this year. Companies like Samsung, LG and HTC let people try on their latest headsets, while other businesses revealed new content and new ways to access virtual reality worlds.

In March, a Japanese graduate built a mechanical clock that wrote out the time every minute. The clock and its maker, Kango Suzuki, became known around the globe after a picture of his invention was re-tweeted over 100,000 times.

Over in Germany, a group of students at the University of Kiel turned a high-rise building into an oversized video game screen. Using 392 LED lights, installed in each of the building's windows, students played  'Snake' and 'Pong' on their way home from class.

In the UK, an energy tech company demonstrated how hydrogen fuel cells can be used to extend the range of commercial drones.  Intelligent Energy said the technology can extend flight times from 15 minutes to up to two hours.

In April, a British astronaut on board the International Space Station used a specially developed remote control to drive a Rover here on earth. The European Space Agency says astronauts could use the same type of technology to drive rovers on Mars.

Taiwan's top tech companies showcased their latest smart products at the annual Computex event in May. This family robot, named 'Zenbo' -  is designed to interact with family members, turn on the TV, and go wherever it's told.

The 3D-printed food revolution officially arrived in London this year.

In Germany, scientists developed a robot that can move people around in large spaces with its own gravitational force. The 'cable robot' can create a virtual reality world, and allows experts to study how people subjectively perceive the world.

In June, the world's big video game developers gathered in Los Angeles to unveil their newest creations . Microsoft Xbox showcased its new Project Scorpio, featuring support for 4K gaming and virtual reality.

The 3D-printed food revolution officially arrived in London this year. A new pop-up eatery in the British capital, claiming to be the world's first 3D-printing restaurant, served up a futuristic nine-course tasting menu for 250 British pounds.

In Spain, lifeguards used a specially-adapted drone to help them get help to people in distress. The high-speed drone was equipped with a float that it could drop in the water close to swimmers while sending back live video footage of the situation as it unfolded.

In September, smart fridges with screens, twin-engine washing machines and larger and better televisions were some of the stars in the home appliances section of the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin. Thousands of visitors came to marvel at the latest electronics to revolutionise the home.

A virtual reality flight simulator that also acted as an exercise machine was on show in Cologne. The gadget, developed by Munich-based company Icaros, gave users the chance to fly a hang glider over the Alps while shooting down enemy drones.

In the UK, developers created a high-tech cape to warn people when they were breathing in polluted air. The "Human Sensor" cape turns red whenever it goes through an area that is heavily polluted.

At CEATEC, one of Asia's largest tech trade shows, a table tennis-playing robot played against human competitors. The robot built by Japanese tech company OMRON Corporation has been named the world's first robot table tennis tutor by Guinness World Records.

In October, experts in Sweden tested the world's fastest electric commuter ferry - a supercharged vessel capable of hitting top speeds of 30 knots, or about 56 kilometres per hour. They believe the vessel's speed, range and low environmental impact will help convince commuters to trade in their daily drive for a waterborne journey instead.

In Germany, Chinese telecommunications company Huawei unveiled two versions of its latest flagship smartphone. The launch came after the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall, giving the Chinese company a chance to establish the Mate 9 as the main competitor to Apple's iPhone 7 Plus.

In November, Chinese retailers invested heavily in drone delivery systems as a way to access millions of customers in rural areas. A surge in e-commerce has created more demand for online shopping delivery services, and sending products by air is an attractive option in China's more remote provinces. Beijing-based e-commerce giant JingDong.com unveiled a fleet of 30 drones.
 
And the Slush startup event in Helsinki, Finland, focussed on harnessing the power of mobile technologies. Organizers say, transporting tech into millions of smartphones around the globe promises exciting opportunities for years to come.

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