Consumer Electronics Show 2014: Art’s Thoughts (Part 1)
This is sort of going to be a rambling blog here of what I saw at the International Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month is Las Vegas. I took a number of pictures of fun new gadgets in home theater (and beyond) that I want to walk you through. I figure we should do this in some sort of order, so let’s start from the beginning.
I arrived on Monday, the day before the show floor opens, because that’s Press Day. And my first event was dropping by the Mandalay Bay where a buddy of mine at Epson addressed what must have been close to 400 members of the press.
He was announcing Epson’s new line of wearable products, including two health bands–one was watch-like and one thinner–with all of the usual fancy reporting. Health bands offer very low power consumption, long term tracking of data. It looked very impressive, but I’m no expert on that. Epson already has a briefcase full of patents relating to wearable tech, which makes sense.
Epson’s big on bringing to market the technologies they develop, such as modern LCD technology that has made them the one truly dominant manufacturer of projectors, with far more market share than any other company. And as almost everyone remembers, they were almost a monopoly in dot matrix printing, (back in the day), with upward of 80% market share for that printing technology, if I recall correctly. So, expect Epson to be a serious new player into these types of wearable products. Of particular note, Epson claimed exceptional battery life, something you want in a wearable band, that tracks, so to speak, your every movement.
The other thing Epson showed was a new 2nd generation Moverio: We took a look at the original Moverio “Android-power interactive display,” and it had some issues at the time. It worked, but needed more work to be a really viable, popular product. The new version is dramatically improved in many areas. Basically, this is a set of glasses that has two projectors in it that project into the center of the two lenses so you can actually see computer information and video in front of you, but you can still see around and even through it. In some ways you can think of it as a heads up display.
One Moverio application demonstrated lets doctors and nurses wear the glasses, and see the veins under the skin clearly, ideal for injecting into veins, and just as effective as using it to inject when missing the veins is critical. Even more important, though, is it lets you see the flow, so that where flow conditions in veins are not normal, such as burned areas of skin, treatments can be better planned and better results achieved. The medical uses are many!
On a totally different note, one of our reviewers Tony, who flies small drones–the robo-helicopter type–used the first gen extensively. Very cool to have that drone view looking down at the earth. Anyway, Epson’s press conference was very informational overall. There was even a game you could play sort of space invaders, where you simply look at the target to fire at it. The line was too long for me to get to try that, but folks were impressed.
Speaking of wearables, Canon was showing their Vixia Mini X, a very tiny, full HD (1080p) cam corder with built in WiFi. And it was wearable… Tons of wearables at the show.
Okay, speaking of drone helicopters. My first day on the show floor I happened to start in South Hall, where there was a lot of stuff we’re going to talk about, but thinking of Tony–one of the first booths I passed was Parrot. They were showing a variety of robocopters. The smallest (“mini”) ones were about palm-sized. They were just flying around in a cage on the show floor.
LED lighting was clearly big throughout. A DJ works at a booth where smart LED lighting strips are wrapped around the table for effect. There was also a nice LED chandelier hanging in one of the rooms–smart programmable of course, although my camera did not capture the subtle greens within…
Ah! The cheapest thing I saw at the whole show was a mini boom box with LED lights… Perhaps the dumbest device, as well. But four colored LED lights and liquid and bubbles on this $25 wired small speaker. Cool for the young kids though, or so I suppose.
Ok, we’re just getting started. Check out the next few blogs for a whole lot more! Here’s Part 2 (Belkin and Home Automation) -art