LAS VEGAS (AP) — The latest developments surrounding the consumer-electronics show in Las Vegas known as CES (all times local):
If you thought wireless charging pads were just giving your phone power, you might be surprised to learn they're also communicating with your phone.
Low bandwidth data is going back and forth at hundreds of bits per second, and that can make it possible for the pad to identify you.
That means cars with wireless charging pads in them can access personal preferences like seat and mirror position and favorite radio stations, says John Perzow, vice president of market development for the Wireless Power Consortium, which is behind the Qi wireless charging standard.
Existing equipment could enable such functions with a software update, he says.
— Ryan Nakashima, AP Business Writer
Thomas Serval's dentist called him a bad father when his then 7-year-old refused to brush her teeth. So he and his dentist made teeth-brushing fun — almost too much fun.
Serval's company Kolibree made a toothbrush into a video game controller kids can use to make rabbits race and pirates plunder in games on a smartphone.
He says his company studied as many as 50 kids in a dentist office to see how they used his toothbrush versus a regular one. The kids brushed for more than two minutes on average with his brush and game combo, and he tweaked the product based on what he learned. The games themselves now last a little less than two minutes and appear to keep an avid brusher from playing more than three times a day.
There's no price tag, yet, for the kid version of the toothbrush, which should be available by April. The adult version, which looks almost identical but has a shorter battery life, sells for $149.
— Kimberly Pierceall, AP Writer, Las Vegas
No matter how many cameras, lasers and radar sensors a car has, it will still need super-detailed road maps to drive by itself. Here, a German company owned by Audi, BMW and Mercedes, and Mobileye out of Israel are making the maps, and both will rely on data gathered by cameras and other sensors that are showing up in cars today.
Mobileye, General Motors and Volkswagen announced deals this week to start gathering the data. GM vehicles with forward-facing cameras will start providing it later this year through the OnStar system, while VW has plans to send data in 2018. Eventually Mobileye hopes to get the rest of the auto industry on board with crowd-sourced data to make the mapping accurate to within a few centimeters.
Google and other companies are working on sensors that can read lane lines and monitor other cars and pedestrians. But cameras can't see in low sunlight and bad weather, and radar and laser have limitations.
Here is using data from other cars as well as truck fleets and roadside sensors to build its map. The company announced basic mapping of North America and Western Europe (topography, number of lanes and their width, etc.) and is working to make detailed maps of the entire highway network in both places by 2018. The detailed maps rely on car sensors and computers that record the distance from fixed roadside landmarks such as signs.
"The detailed map allows you to see beyond sensing," said Amnon Shashua, chief technical officer and chairman of Mobileye. "Road landmarks resolve ambiguity in sensing."
Eventually the map computers will record the actual speed and behavior of cars to guide autonomous vehicles in traffic, said Alex Mangan, Here's product marketing manager. "Building a map at this scale with this level of detail, it takes time," he said. "This is a self-maintaining map."
— Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer, Las Vegas
Segway wants its next scooter to scoot to you.
The company, which pioneered the notion of zooming about town perched on two wheels long before the "hoverboard" craze, showed off a motorized scooter equipped with a pair of blinking eyes. Powered by Android, the scooter should be able to see you and its surroundings even in the dark — while filming everything.
Which should be helpful when it acts as a personal robot. The company demonstrated Wednesday how the scooter can respond to voice commands while following closely behind you, recording video as it goes. Or you can send it off on its own path, avoiding obstacles along the way.
The company says its robot will travel more than 18 miles on a single charge at a speed of up to 11 miles per hour and weigh a little more than 30 pounds. Segway, which is working with Intel on the project, expects its prototype to be a reality by early 2017, perhaps just in time for the next CES.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich says the robot could have industrial and commercial uses, including carrying home groceries home from a supermarket run.
— Kimberly Pierceall, AP Writer, Las Vegas