Screens that fold or project in your hand and other curiosities of MWC 2024 | Technology

In any edition of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, ​​there are small technological oddities that arouse the astonishment of visitors. 2024 is no exception; It's easy to come across a small autonomous vehicle gliding through crowded hallways and a robotic dog stomping across the floor of an exhibitor, although this year, the MWC's most striking eccentricities come in the form of a screen.

The cameras and flashes They accumulated on the Lenovo display, around its transparent laptop and also, very close, around the prototype of smartphone flexible from Motorola. But if there is a panel that attracts attention, it is the one that projects AI pin.

A smart device in your fist with AI pin

Founded by former Apple executives in 2018, the startup Humane had not unveiled its first product until late last year. This is the AI ​​pin and at the MWC we have been able to see first-hand how this technology works. It consists of an electronic device that hangs on clothing, at chest height, and aims to fulfill the functions of a smartphone.

Humane AI Pin.

The pin integrates artificial intelligence—specifically OpenAI's GPT-4 model—in order to facilitate interaction with the user. In this way, you can ask the device to play music, translate a conversation, take a photo, or simply give us ChatGPT-style responses. As an additional mode, it allows you to project a screen with green phosphorescence on your hand or on another surface. There you can read texts or access an interface that is controlled by gestures. By moving your hand to one side or the other you navigate through the menu and by making a fist you enter the selected option.

A Humane spokesperson notes that the AI ​​pin is not intended to replace smartphones completely, but to do it in certain circumstances. If a user goes on a field trip and does not want to carry his smartphone, the new device could be an alternative. It has 4G connectivity, although the processing of AI tasks is carried out locally, so it has some latency. At the moment, outside the United States it can only be purchased online, at a price of $699.

A laptop with a transparent screen

Lenovo has brought to the fair a unique working prototype to date. Its about ThinkBook Transparent Laptop Concept, a 17.3-inch laptop. Each and every one of its surfaces is transparent. Only five units of this product have been produced and they have been made practically by hand, as they have been assembled by hand.

Aiguo Zheng, CEO of Lenovo and head of the project, explains that the transparent screen has a real purpose. For those professionals who design objects, this laptop allows them to see how digital 3D models look in a real scenario. You just have to point the computer towards the place where the designed objects would be placed, such as a bookshelf or the living room of a house. In addition, the panel allows for a greater immersive experience in the area of ​​digital entertainment.

Image of Lenovo transparent laptop.
Image of Lenovo transparent laptop.P.B.

It still needs to polish certain aspects if it wants to go on the market. The device must have stronger glass to avoid damage. Also, with the transparent screen material you don't get much resolution, just 720p. But here Zheng runs into a problem: the more pixels he squeezes into the panel to increase the resolution, the less transparent it becomes. And then there is the big barrier: today it is too expensive.

An electric car manufactured by a mobile brand

It is not one of the most spectacular devices – if you can call it that – but the Xiaomi SU7 falls squarely into the definition of Mobile curiosity. It is the first time that a company widely known for selling smartphones has launched itself into a sector as complex as the automotive industry. And it enters, of course, with all the force of the brand image that mobile phones provide.

The Xiaomi SU7.
The Xiaomi SU7.

The Xiaomi SU7 is an electric car with an aspirational design. It is reminiscent of Tesla and probably, just as it is about imitating Apple in smartphones, Elon Musk's company has been the reference for this vehicle. It promises a range of 800 kilometers and its power reaches 664 horsepower, with a maximum speed of 265 km/h. Inside it has a 16-inch screen and 3K resolution.

Motorola's flexible mobile phone

Motorola's new adaptive screen prototype is also part of Mobile's extravagances. It is not a smartphone folding. For that it would have to have a hinge that would allow it to be opened and closed like a book. Instead, this device folds, so much so that it can be attached to your wrist and become wearables. With a 6.9-inch pOLED screen, for now the terminal is only intended for display. A commercial product has not yet been developed with this technology. It's just a glimpse of what could come in the future.

A coffee machine in an autonomous vehicle

The Italian company Rhea, specialized in coffee vending machines, has developed a prototype that radically changes its typical product. The company calls it “barista on demand” and it consists of an autonomous vehicle that contains all the machinery necessary to make and serve coffee. The idea, as explained by the company, is to make the most of the flows of people. A static machine may have a high flow and serve many coffees at a certain time of day, but very few at other times. Rhea's vehicle moves in search of caffeine-hungry customers.

The autonomous driving system is developed by the Chinese company Neolix and the rest is the work of Rhea. The Italian company points out that its vehicle will begin operating at the Shenzhen airport (China) probably in the next two months. It is in these types of environments, with the movement of people, where this particular truck will perform best. University campuses or parks are other favorable scenarios for the autonomous distribution of coffee.

Rhea, a coffee vending machine mounted on an autonomous vehicle.
Rhea, a coffee vending machine mounted on an autonomous vehicle.P.B.

Electronics go down to the rings

Another of the Mobile's curiosities has been the ring shown by Samsung. Although it is not yet a definitive product, the Galaxy Ring has been walked around the fair – or rather, it has walked around its display case – to give a few glimpses of its capabilities. From the finger, it allows measuring different physiological parameters, such as heart rate, respiratory rate or sleep onset latency.

With the data obtained, which is sent to the smartphone and are mostly analyzed locally, conclusions can be drawn about personal health and well-being. They are incentives to modify habits and behaviors, if necessary. The Samsung ring – which has invited Barcelona to EL PAÍS for the MWC – aims to attract new users who have not acquired other wearablessuch as smart watches or bracelets.

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