[Image above] Credit: Corning Incorporated; YouTube

The 2017 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) wrapped up its annual exhibition showcasing all the latest consumer electronics and technology this past weekend in Las Vegas.

The show’s expansive 43 football fields worth of tech displayed that our world is getting altogether smarter, brighter, more virtual, more connected, and entirely robotic.

But if you couldn’t be there, don’t dismay—you can still get a 360º-view.

As expected, the show featured tons of winning tech that promises to integrate and accelerate our lives. A handful of my personal favorites that I’ve seen from show reports are speakers that levitate with magnetic materials, wallet-slim wall chargers, a teched-out solar sunshade for those (like me) who burn uber easily, and a rugged heartrate-monitoring Garmin watch designed with female runners (like me) in mind.

Beyond my personal interests, however, virtual reality and the Internet of Things—where seemingly everything will connect to an Amazon Alexa—were overall prominent themes of the show.

But past the dizzying amount of useful and useless tech products, let’s not forget the materials that make all that possible.

For instance, glass giant Corning was at the show debuting its concept for a glass-enabled, connected car.

Although we already knew that Gorilla Glass was going the way of windshields, Corning has much bigger ideas for how tomorrow’s vehicles use glass—including integration into sunroofs, lights, connected dashboards, and windshield-embedded displays. See for yourself:

Credit: Corning Incorporated; YouTube


And Corning wasn’t the only company with innovative glass for tomorrow’s vehicles—Tellus Power also was at CES 2017 to showcase solar automotive glass roofs. “The solar roofs are designed to charge electric vehicle’s batteries and provide power to the HVAC blower while the vehicle is parked, cutting interior heat build-up by 50% without draining the vehicle’s battery,” according to an article on www.glassbytes.com.

Speaking of electric vehicles, Faraday Future revealed its first production vehicle, the FF 91, just ahead of CES 2017. Faraday Future is often compared to electric vehicle leader Tesla, promising to revolutionize the future of fossil fuel-less vehicles through its stylish battery-charged cars. While the future for Faraday Future is still somewhat uncertain, however, the new car does feature some pretty sweet touch-enabled glass-dimming technology, in addition to a host of other swanky futuristic features like pop-up LIDAR in the hood.

In addition to automobile tech, one of the big buzzes at CES 2017 was a slew of all-new impressive TVs. And while your next TV might not quite be invisible yet, CES 2017 made clear that your next TV will most likely be ridiculously thin.

LG’s new incredibly thin W7 OLED TV—just 0.15-inch-thick, about the thickness of a house key—is more of a thick piece of wall art than a TV. And Sony’s new not-quite-as-thin OLED TV uses its glass front to double as a built-in speaker, vibrating for audio. So although they’re not yet invisible, today’s TVs are using the latest materials to change the way we think about this familiar piece of tech.

And let’s not forget 3-D printing.

We’ve seen signs recently that ceramics are making strong inroads into commercial additive manufacturing, and now 3-D-printed ceramics might soon make their way out of home printers, too.

Formlabs showed off its ceramic-particle-embedded resin for conventional additive manufacturing at CES 2017, demonstrating how a standard 3-D printer can fabricate creations that, after firing, become fully ceramic. So far it’s only a demo, but the company is reportedly working towards a more widespread offering later this year.

With all this new tech incorporating some of the best materials, and with trending directions for new materials research, the future is looking promising.