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Glimpse future tech at CES

1/16/2013

Car enthusiasts have auto shows; geeks have the Consumer Electronics Show. CES is an annual convention held in Las Vegas to showcase vendors, products and services. It’s where the prototypes of future products get revealed, and all the crazy gadgets get seen… and never heard from again. CES 2013 took place last week, and there were some serious show-stoppers, as well as a few head-scratchers.                

CES originates from the computer/electronics enthusiasts clubs of the 1970s, but it wasn’t until about 10 years ago when it became about making you want to buy gadgets. Similar to the past few years, the focus of CES is mobile and TV. Replacing Microsoft as the keynote speaker was Qualcomm’s CEO, accompanied by an insane two-hour address that had little relevance to electronics and more to do with advertising Qualcomm. Aside from the usual suspects, there were some seriously interesting products. The Occulus Rift virtual reality headset and Pebble smartwatch highlighted the boom in crowd-funded products that have gained more mindshare than many major companies.                

Products that were showcased, but are years from ever being available, were in full force. Qualcomm drove all electric Bentley on stage and boasted its ability to wirelessly recharge itself while parked over an in-ground charging base, and Audi used a smartphone to have a car start itself and drive itself through the convention center’s parking lot to meet the press. Keep in mind, these were all controlled environments that were prepared — still very futuristic, though. Like car shows, there are crazy ideas that combine two unrelated concepts together and try to generate buzz. Some of the crazies from this year’s CES were a “smart fork” that helped you track your eating, an Android-powered oven and a 1,600-pound, driveable spider mecha (not for sale, just to ride). CV

Robert Anhalt is Director of Content at Geek Speak Forum and contributes to Cityview.

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