The latest edition of the Consumer Electronics Show kicked off this week in Las Vegas, and there is no shortage of gadgets to get excited about. LG unveiled a 65-inch 4K TV that can literally roll up like a newspaper, while Lenovo announced it has teamed up with Google to create a new virtual reality headset that will hit store shelves later this year. And the innovation doesn’t stop there. Sony showed off its new robotic pet dog, while the expo also presented a mini-drone for taking selfies (is that still technically a selfie?) and a talking toilet. Only a few days into 2018, the year’s biggest tech trade show has not disappointed.
While much of the CES news this week focused on fancy new product debuts and presentations, Nvidia drew some attention for announcing it was partnering with ride-hailing service Uber and carmaker Volkswagen and to develop technology for self-driving vehicles. CEO Jensen Huang said Uber was using Nvidia graphics chips to help its driverless cars perceive the world around them, while VW was employing Nvidia’s AI technology in its Drive IX platform to create “intelligent co-pilot” capabilities. When it comes to driverless cars and Nvidia, it seems all the big players want in.
With the right tools, the internet can find the perfect match for anyone. And when it comes to loans, one Berlin-based startup appears to have created the perfect tool. Smava uses its marketplace platform to pair those who need a loan with those who want to fund one. Users can search its portal, which provides important data like credit-worthiness, to find the right monetary match. Smava originally started with small private loans, but now includes banks. With the $65 million it landed in fresh funding this week, the company says its next move is to take its services outside of Germany and expand throughout Europe
As Airbnb continues to corner the vacation apartment rental market, there is no shortage of side services trying to cut out their own slice of the profit pie. An innovative idea from British startup CityStasher has provided a solution to a problem that plagues many on-the-go travelers: Where to store your bags before or after you check-in to your rental? CityStasher pairs tourists with local businesses who will safely store luggage for a small fee - just use the company’s app to find the nearest location. It’s a popular and clearly quite useful idea. This week CityStasher announced it had secured 1.1 million pounds in funding. With locations across the UK and France, an expansion across mainland Europe is just over the horizon
When it comes to finding a hotel in Africa, cheaper options are rarely plugged into booking apps and search engines. That means the high prices often cater to foreign travelers and turn away would-be tourists from Africa. Now web startup hotels.ng is aiming to bring affordable tourism to the masses. The booking service partners with local hotels and airlines to make cheaper reservations more readily available. To kick off the new year, the company just announced it is expanding from its initial base of operations in Nigeria to the whole of the continent. CEO Mark Essien called the move “part of the masterplan to dominate travel in Africa.”