Kicking the year off with CES 2018

What is CES Bal?

CES stands for the Consumer Electronics Show, and is held early January, every year…. where all the top folk who are interested in everything that is electronics (technology) related, gather for a few days…. oh… and, it’s usually held in Las Vegas.

Now, this year – is no different.

There’s various top speakers….

There’s various categories…. (for example, cars)

That’s right- anyone, anywhere, who’s doing something with regards to technology…. is there.

It’s great for people to share… collaborate and educate.

Now, as this goes on for a few days, and there’s all sorts of workshops, presentations, meetings, etc… taking place…. I’ve been doing my research, and found the top 3 items, what people are talking about (and the ones which have been winning awards!)

First up…. we have Sony, and their pet dog. Say ‘hello’ to Aibo, the pet robot dog…

Have a dog? Tired of washing it… picking up its poo….? Well, guess what… for a cool $1,800 you could have this robot dog.

Packed with various sensors on its back, chin, head, etc…. camera in it’s nose (to recognize family members) and OLED eyes…. it seems to be the perfect family pet to have! 2 hours of play… 3 hours of charge… and it even has a camera on it’s back to navigate it’s way to the charging station.

Oh, it’s also got 22 actuators… which means… it’s moving and shaking, in a very realistic manner – or at least, better than any previous models.

Sony are shipping this lovely creatures… can I call them that? – anyway, they’re being shipped with the price tag and a monthly subscription of $27. I personally don’t know the cost of owning a ‘real dog’, but… just the element of not having to pick up poo is warming to me….

Up next… Transportation… say hello to Bell Helicopter, the first flying taxi (in partnership with Uber).

That’s right – step into the first flying taxi.

Uber have been saying for a while – how they’ve been looking at Uber helicopters… Uber planes….. Uber Ice Cream vans…. (we’ll save that for another day). But it looks like their partnership with Bell is ringing in some alarming changes to the way we travel today.

Who needs roads anyway? So congested all the time! – forget that… hit me up to the skies. Bell, bought their cabin to the CES to show, the art of the possible and what they’ve been working on.

Matter of time these electronic helicopters will be cutting down our travel time….

Up next… we have The Wall! – no, not from that obstacle course show from TV… (Ninja Warrior)… but this is from Samsung.

A 146 inch… micro-LED modular built TV.

Built of lots of little micro-LED’s… allows Samsung to vary the size of the TV… So, throw out that little 32 inch you got in the corner of your living room, and start making space for The Wall!

No pricing yet from the fridge and washing machine manufacturer but we’ll soon be seeing these on the high street… or at least on their website, for on-line ordering.

There you go… my top 3 from the CES this year.

Usually, Vegas is sunny and lovely during Jan… I know, i’ve been… but this year, there’s been rain! – That’s right.. the Gods above us, have showered Vegas with some droplets… which have caused blackouts… parts of CES being closed, and therefore – people missing presentations and meetings.

It’s put a little ‘damper’ on the whole event… but with that out of the way, there’s plenty of great stuff going on… even having Alexa sing… ‘I can see clearly now… the rain has gone….’

Children and Technology…

We take a number of ‘actions’ as normal, and assume (never assume…) that it’ll be housing the latest technology.

For example, we now expect all screens to be touchscreens. Be able to interact with them, pinch and zoom the content on the screen, etc…

Children, moreso… take this as the norm! They’re more ‘digital savvy’ than most folk… with the ability to swipe on a smart phone screen to unlock it from the age of 1, to when they’re putting their games and apps into their own folder a few years later, on your tablet.

The speed at which children can pick up and understand tech is becoming quicker and quicker… and this is down the simplicity. Technology is making everything easier to understand and explore.

Google, earlier on in the year were able to do a program around the UK, where they invited schools to participate in exploring cities around the World using Google Cardboard.

Imagine, seeing all the wonders of Rome… without actually being in Rome! – It’s a great start to exploring the city.

And so… there’s various other programmes that encourage children to get involved with technology. Apple were providing some free classes to teach children how to code in their stores. There’s a number of apps and programmes available that you can download… learn the basics and begin to code your own game.

Understanding how to code, why to code… and most importantly, what can be delivered by coding… is great learning. For the children, they can use their imagination to create the most wonderful games!

Back in my day… I used to be on my Raleigh Grifter – (for those who don’t know what one of those is… it’s like a BMX bike)…. and indoors, I used to enjoy playing with my Lego.

That’s right – constructing all sorts of buildings, objects and items from various pieces of Lego. As a company – they’re still going strong… and recently, I noticed, they’re embracing the whole ‘Kids in Technology’ scene.

Now, there you go… even your Lego builds are becoming ‘smart’.

Why just build? – go one step ahead… code and then play! That’s right, build something… maybe a robot? – then code it, using your parents tablet/smart device… and watch it do things you want it to do… and play with it.

Wonder if you could connect your Lego build… to your Echo… and then by using voice commands… have the build perform an action!

Because, as children learn coding, become more aware of technology and take, recent hand and motion gestures which we’ve become accustomed to over the past few years, as the norm… the world is fast changing… and if children can learn… by play… then that’s only a good thing!

Embracing Technology with… Netball!

Recently, I had a great catch up with an old friend, Nav… whom I mainly see from her social media posts, travelling around the world and doing a lot of sporting activities.

I asked her to share an insight into her work… and she kindly offered to write a blog post about embracing technology by playing…. Netball.

As a practitioner in the world of sport for social change, finding creative ways to weave in educational messages through sport is critical to engaging young people.


Essentially, I’ve created a programme that encourages young people to embrace technology (particularly, the use of social media) by not using technology…. but sport instead!


So, I designed Netball 4 Change, a programme that uses the game of Netball to teach marginalised girls and young women how to stay safe on social media and take control of their social graph.


We read about it all the time; the increase in mental health issues particularly depression and anxiety among girls and so much of it linked to body image issues and low self-esteem which is too often connected to what they read/see on social media. I read this article a little while ago in the Guardian that talks about the pressure girls can often feel to keep up with others on social media:


Netball 4 Change targets these girls and teaches them simple messages such as, shutting down apps after being online for 3 hours and go have a physical conversation with someone and how the clickbait culture affects our belief system if we only agree with what is sensationalised.


Netball 4 Change delivers and teaches techniques to help young women evaluate their social media behaviour through a series of netball drills that help start the conversation. Girls stay active and before they know it, they’ve been away from their phones for two hours and their worlds have not fallen apart! Refreshing right! So they’re talking about their social network but away from it. It’s gets them thinking. So when they return to their tech devices they are more informed, a little refreshed having played sport and generally have a new and positive experience to share…probably online…but still…inspiring others to think about their social graph.


In my day community meant my neighbours, the local temple, the local shop, the local youth club or the local park. Today, for young people community is their social network. Whose online? What have they posted? How many likes did I get? My idea of community to them is an after thought. There are benefits in both definitions, so rather than be tempted to say ‘kids these days, always on their phones…’ let’s move past that (aren’t we all), let’s embrace both! Let’s help young people be more aware without focussing on what they shouldn’t do online but what they should do online! Encourage them to be physically active in their community and to share real and positive stories with their community online as well!


If you want to know more, get in touch:

Twitter – @NavSira


There you have it folks… I have to admit, it’s very interesting and a great way to engage the younger folk.

I’d like to thank Nav for taking time out and writing the above, and also – I’ve shared her details if you’d like to get in touch directly.

Heated Seats… what a luxury!

This morning, I had the opportunity to review some of the latest news stories from over the past few days on BBC Radio Nottingham.

One of the news stories were about ‘autonomous vehicles’, and how they’ll be introduced in a few years benefiting disabled and the elderly.

Firstly, this time-line is tooooo soon. Yes – we have much of the technology available in the Tesla cars, and some other manufacturers are testing, but I feel, it won’t be that easy with the small, winding, countryside roads we have here in the UK. On long motorways, yes – great idea.

Then there was a story about the iPhone X… and how I referred to my recent blog post, if you should buy one of not… (I’m still leaning to the BMW 328 with beige interior). And reading a recent article, there was a great argument over why you should stick with your iPhone 6S… i’ll have to find it and share it with you. Yes the latest phones are quicker, and have better cameras, and a lot more tech packed into them, but are you really going to use Augmented Reality on a daily basis? – no, didn’t think so.

But then… if you’re taking alot of photo’s for your Instagram account, then good idea to upgrade, but saying that, photo’s on the iPhone 6S aren’t too bad… (@mrbalbansal on Instagram).

There were a few other stories, but we touched on the one (not so tech related), about some of the recent inappropriate behavior that’s been taking place in Westminster… people touching people which is unacceptable. I’m in total agreement, that there’s boundaries and lines you do not cross. I also believe you should state it very clearly if you a) do not agree with certain behaviors and actions and b) if someone has acted in-appropriately, you let them know immediately and if it carries on, inform someone who can ensure the corrective action is taken.

But with all these stories coming out, we spoke about… when do you know it’s okay to hug… or do you just give a handshake? –

Do men think twice now, before hugging or putting their arm around someone? – what if a lady acts inappropriately to a young male… and why haven’t we heard of those stories?

Well… I could’ve shared more detail and the other stories, but I think it’s only fair that you go visit BBC Radio Nottingham, and find Mark’s morning show for the 6th October and have a listen… hope you enjoy it!

Oh… but what about the heated seats Bal? – ah yes.. the heated seats…. well, you’ll just have to listen.