by Dot Cannon
“Lots of cool (stuff) down here, huh?” remarked one Eureka Park™ visitor, during CES® 2017.
Then again, CES® 2017’s fiftieth-anniversary show, January 5th through 8th in Las Vegas, had lots of cool stuff everywhere.
In the Las Vegas Convention Center, virtual reality and augmented reality were two of the stars of this year’s CES®.
For Intel, 360-degree virtual reality took center stage in South Hall.
“They’re getting a virtual tour of Thailand,” a staffer told us as we ventured further into the VR area.
This tour was so immersive, she continued, that these virtual-reality viewers even looked inside a barrel at one point!
(We also had the opportunity to experience Intel’s 360-degree virtual reality. They placed us onstage in a stadium, with cheering crowds, a virtual technician who seemed to brush past us–and a grand finale, with confetti cascading from the rafters!)
Past milestones, future vision
As CES® 2017 celebrated fifty years of innovation, the focus was very much on the future.
“What we’re at the cusp of, is having smart devices (that allow) humans to be more effective,” commented Accenture Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Paul Daugherty, during Thursday’s panel on “The Challenges Facing an Artificially Intelligent World”.
This panel, which Techonomy CEO David Kirkpatrick moderated, went on to explore the issues of ethical use of AI in medicine, transportation and industry.
“The world doesn’t get better just because we add AI to it,” commented Socos Founder and Executive Chair Dr. Vivienne Ming. “…How do we make technology that is complementary to what people do, (where) you’re not displacing (workers), you’re really augmenting individuals?”
“There’s this ethical side in programming autonomous vehicles,” Kirkpatrick said. “We have to decide, when a crash is imminent, does the software choose (to protect passengers or avoid people) on the sidewalk?”
One major question that arose, during the panel: who owns medical data? At this point, the answer doesn’t seem to be, “the patient”.
“Data rights and data ownership are going to be a continued evolution,” said IBM Watson General Manager Chris O’Connor. “We see an industry trend, that if you own (a machine), that data is yours.”
Since its inception in New York in June, 1967, CES® has exploded. That original show featured 117 exhibitors, according to CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. The 1967 exhibits covered 100,000 net square feet and included just three types of technology: radios, television sets and phonographs.
Fast-forward to 2017–where exhibits covered twenty-five different product areas.
The area of the show itself? More than 2.6 million net square feet of exhibit space.
“We estimate that about 700-thousand products have been introduced at CES®,” Shapiro said, during his opening keynote.
Here are just a few of the 2017 products we especially liked, this time around.
This is UBTECH Robotics’ Lynx humanoid robot. Besides facial and voice recognition, it does event reminders and live streams feeds of what’s going on at home when you’re away. The Lynx is Amazon Alexa-powered, so it can place orders for Amazon Prime products, through voice command.
On the subject of cool automatons, this is Abilix’ “Oculus” robot, which collects dust and teaches kids to program.
And “Oculus” was just one of Abilix’s many educational offerings on display.
This “woodcarving” is actually 3D printed–and was part of Shining 3D®’s display…
…as was the “carved” seahorse!
Now, do these look like USB drives? They’re actually much more innovative than that.
Say hi to Wistiki–France-based creators of two smart devices that can make misplaced items a thing of the past.
PR Manager Olivia Bianchi is holding up the “Voila!” tracker. The way it works: the user downloads an app, which is a Bluetooth tracker. Then, Olivia says, you localize whatever item you tend to lose on a regular basis. The app will show you the missing item on a map–or make it ring, with “this really funny ring tone”.
And Wistiki is taking that idea a step further, in the next few months.
Here is the “Aha!” tracking device, which ships around the beginning of March. This one, Olivia says, has an “electronic leash”–which warns you if you’ve forgotten your phone, keys, wallet or whatever!
Music, light–and flight
Further along the show floor, we made our musical debut–thanks to The One.
This smart piano had us playing “Fur Elise”, by shining a blue light over the note to be played next!
But, we still wish we had the musical talent of…
…professional violinist and mechanical engineer Laurent Bernadac, who created the “3Dvarius” 3D printed electric concert violin.
“How’s the sound?” is a question we heard when talking about this afterwards.
The answer? Sweet! Laurent said he spent three years developing the “3Dvarius”, and designed it to be light, as a classical violin is, for a professional and beautiful sound. (And congratulations to him–he launched his “3Dvarius” in Europe in 2016, and made his first U.S. sales during the first day of CES® 2017!)
Windmills from the wall? No–holograms, courtesy of London-based high-tech company Kino-mo! They create high-resolution 3D visuals that had everyone crowding around their Eureka Park™ Marketplace exhibit!
Another Eureka Park™ favorite? Pilot and PowerUp® Toys CEO and owner Shai Goitein’s creation! He’s combined the traditional paper airplane with twenty-first century technology. The result: a paper airplane drone with smartphone control.
“You can make your own paper airplane and fly aloft it, using a Google Cardboard to control it,” explained Shai.
Shai’s latest model, the “PowerUp” FPV, is a CES® 2017 Innovation Award winner. “It actually lets you experience flight as if you’re on the airplane, and you see the point of view of the airplane,” he explained.
Virtual reality, smart trackers, robots, artificial intelligence were all in the spotlight as CES® 2017 celebrated fifty years of “making people go, ‘Whoa!'”
However, the real mind-blower? Thinking back to the 1960s, when color TV and transistor radios were cutting-edge technology. And then, thinking ahead.
Imagine, in 2067, CES® attendees are likely to call VR, AR, 3D holograms and drones “the good old days”.