Experience, Intel, Work, Writing

10: Stuff I Liked at CES 2018

January 17, 2018

The Consumer Electronics show is the largest industry showcase of upcoming consumer devices around. This year 180,000+ industry insiders converged on Las Vegas to show their wares, make business deals, and be inspired. I was there for the latter two this year.  This gallery will show the big themes at CES this year. I’ll post a few truly remarkable gems in a future post. Click through the gallery as you read through the descriptions.

  1. The Big Idea this year was Smart Home with a Voice.  I visited all of the major halls and each one was jam packed with the usual smart TVs and new laptops. A clear standout was the sheer number of flexible Organic LED displays everywhere. Each major vendor made a concerted effort to add smart devices (cameras, doorbells, lighting, appliance, even garage doors) with Alexa and Google Home integration. Google itself had an incredible tower in the middle of CES with voice controlled galleries and insane prize giveaways. There was literally so much smart home I didn’t even bother taking lots of pictures.
  2. So Many Wearables. Smart home was only eclipsed by the sheer number of wearables out there.  There were smart gloves, step counters, even wearables for tracking your dog.  The big notable, and CES award winner, was Siren socks. Diabetics suffer from severe foot problems caused by lack of sensation. Siren socks will detect swelling and temperature changes that cause injury and amputation.
  3. Trying to make VR / AR Happen. I was at CES looking for different ways of viewing content. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality both fit the bill. There hundreds of variation of headsets with integrated electronics, customized for one use case or another. On the flip side, there were a number of 3D content scanners and generators. My favorite (though I might be biased) was the VR Motion driver training simulator in the Intel booth. This company trains race car drivers, first responders, and police officers in a VR rig that looks like the best video game ever. It’s much more sophisticated- a physics simulator for emergency procedures- and will be rolling out with SkidCar this year.
  4. Connected and Self-Driving Vehicles.  So many tech companies with automated driving electronics. So many car companies trying to be tech companies and showing off driverless cars of the future. So many car audio companies trying to be tech and car companies. I love cars and CES didn’t disappoint. There was the pedestrian ranging from the slick Mercedes sports car to an electric work truck to a gorgeous Toyota EV.  There was a taste of the future in an automated NVidia race car (and a dual Tegra L5 automation platform), a drone taxi, and even they Hyperloop car!  The most remarkable? A 3D printed car called Olli made to serve people with disabilities that preclude them from driving themselves and relegate them to “accessible” taxis. Olli fits somewhere between public and private transportation and offers a wide variety of services powered by the IBM Watson machine learning platform. I’m watching this one close.
  5. The weird and wonderful. Netflix showcased a fictional company offering human “sleeves” which you can download your mind into for their upcoming series Altered Carbon. The actors in the booth stayed in character no matter what you asked. This felt like Black Mirror IRL.

As a bonus, I was on the show floor during the Blackout / power outage at CES.  One moment I was in a kaleidoscope of light, the next a haunted house. Makes me wonder if we saw the ghost in the machines?  The darkness was broken by a beautiful solo violin performance in the Intel Booth, which was a highlight of my CES.

Were you at CES 2018? Share your favorites!


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