Gadgets get smarter and friendlier at CES 2016

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Spotlight on cars

Cars rolled out at CES may also showcase the potential for digital technologies enhancing consumer goods, according to NPD analyst Baker.

Innovation in cars is changing the way people interact with vehicles, as technology handles more and more aspects of driving. In the long run, it means maybe delivering cars without steering wheels, or steering wheels that can be moved or put away. Physical buttons may all but be gone, being replaced by display, gesture recognition, speech recognition.

A record 10 automakers will be showing at CES along with at least 115 automotive tech companies, according to the Consumer Technology Association, which organizes the show.

Virtual reality spreads

CES 2016 will also boast a big section devoted to virtual reality, as product makers jump into the trend ahead of the expected releases of headsets from Oculus, Sony, and Valve.

It remained to be seen whether new contenders would step up to challenge “the big three” in VR, but CES goers would likely see uses of the technology extended beyond gaming.

CES will, of course, have its share of colorful creations including a Haier moving refrigerator designed to resemble the beloved R2-D2 of blockbuster “Star Wars” film fame.

The premier consumer electronics show set a record last year with more than 176,000 people attending.

At this year’s CES, officially open from January 6-9, organizers aim to cap attendance at that level with security ramped up in the wake of last month’s attacks in California.

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