Technology for the Taking in Berlin

The IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung) just took place in Messe Berlin running through September 1 – 6. Europe’s biggest technology bazaar did not disappoint with everything from smartphones to Wi-Fi fridges on exhibition. All the major tech companies like Samsung and Sony were present as well as smaller start-ups exhibiting their new gadgets.Smartphones, wearable technology and mixed reality headsets were among the pieces on view to the general public.

The IFA saw Sony come out swinging with a broad range of items including its updated Xperia phones, an improvement on its popular wireless headphones, the addition of Google Assistant speaker, and a new RX0 minute personal GoPro-like camera. Their highlight was the Sony Smart Speaker, a severely stylish connected gadget that utilises Google Assistant. It has gesture control and dot matrix allowing it to easily surpass its counterparts in Amazon and Google.

Samsung launched three new wearables and with having already released the Galaxy Note 8 earlier this year the main attention for smartphones was given to the LG V30. LG are a company that tend to teeter on the periphery of the high-end smartphone platform, with the launch of the V30 they seem to have cemented their place for at least a while longer. It’s immaculate 6-inch OLED screen display tuned at 2,880 x 1,440 shows off LG’s FullVision tech very well. Its headphone jack has a built-in DAC allowing for a great-sounding audio quality. Alongside 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and a 3,300mAh battery it has dual 16MP cameras, fingerprint scanner on the back, and many more smart features included. If LG have their pricing right, the LG V30 will definitely be in the running for best smartphone of the year.

Mixed reality headsets were also the rage this year with Lenovo unveiling its Explorer mixed reality headset to glorious reviews while Microsoft failing to deliver on the mixing of both virtual and augmented realities with critics maintaining that there is still more emphasis on the VR side of things. Hopefully their new release on October 17th will have critics reneging their claims

While many consumer tech products have been previously unveiled at the CES in Las Vegas back in January, a few fresh nuggets were still on show at the labyrinthine Mecca of Tech. IFA gladly did not abandon its household-device roots and served as a showcase for many types of artificial-intelligence-powered devices. The Japanese juggernaut that is Panasonic wowed the crowds in their Better Living Tomorrow section. This section involves prototype concepts that serve to inspire and also highlight the new developments in the Internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, allowing them to connect to the Internet and perform complicated tasks autonomously.

The Sustainable Maintainer not only has a catchy name and is bang on trend with its integrated styling, it serves as a washing machine that launders items individually. It initially assesses an item by picking it up with robotic arms and scanning for a label and how dirty it is. It then washes this item accordingly and after it is dry it is folded delicately by another robotic arm.

Another device from Panasonic that catches one’s attention is the Movable Fridge. Activated by voice control or mobile device, this fridge has built in sensors than can help manoeuvre itself from its location to yours, meaning that you won’t have to lift a finger. Primarily aimed at people with disabilities and whom are incapacitated, this model is still only a protocol and so I can’t see it making its way into Merville Residences any time soon.


Orla Daly – Science Editor

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