jueves, 24 de noviembre de 2016

Hugging robots and electric cars

Hugging companion robots, long-lasting fuel cell phone batteries and virtual reality headsets - the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is once again showcasing some of the most advanced developments in technology. Vehicle manufacturers have also been keen to show off their sleek concept designs.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

1. How many people have already ordered Pepper in Japan?
2. How is Pepper different from other digital devices in the way people can interact with it?
3. How can Buddy help when the owner of the house is out?
4. What is the reporter's battery level?
5. How long will the fuel cells developed by Intelligent Energy keep mobile phones charged?

Is this the year you get a robot for your home? In Japan, 7,000 people have already ordered Pepper, a robot which is a companion offering a hug or a high five, rather than a purely practical device.
For us, the robot is very different from the other digital devices, because the way you interact with it is very natural, there is no keyboard, there is no screen that you touch on.
And here is Buddy, another robot interacting with humans in Las Vegas. As well as following you around and looking cute, this robot, due to go on sale later this year, does have some practical uses.
When you're out of the house, Buddy can act as a sort of night watchman, watching out for strangers like me turning up.
Virtual reality is another big theme here with all sorts of VR headsets on show. This one combines the real and virtual worlds so you can see your fingers and use them to spin the Earth around.
Of course, it is all very well having these wonderful new gadgets but they all need power. My phone’s down at 7% right now and anyone with a smartphone knows it is very hard to get through the day without a charge but one British firm thinks it’s got the answer.
Intelligent Energy is developing fuel cells to power all sorts of devices. This prototype is for a smartphone and keeps it charged for a week. It’s bulky now but could be built into the phone one day, and the firm says visitors to the show could see a big change for the better.
Well, they will never have to plug into the wall once. They will have a device that will be charged and powered for the whole week while they are here at CES.
And you… you're saying that’s a realistic prospect within the next five years?
Yeah. most definitely, it is an inevitability.
This electric concept car, developed by a Californian firm with Chinese money, is one product that will never go on sale, but at this show, motoring is yet another industry that the technology firms think they can transform.
Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC News, Las Vegas.

1 seven thousand people
2 there is no keyboard or screen 
3 by acting as a night watchman
4 7%
5 for one week