Gary Shapiro, poobah of the Consumer Electronics Association, likes to call the International CES, held last week in Las Vegas, "the greatest show on earth." With more than 150,000 people in attendance, he's certainly entitled to a measure of grandiosity. It's the only show on the planet that brings together a decidely eclectic audience drawn from the consumer electronics, mobile, PC, healthcare, semiconductor, and software industries.
And a lot of bloggers.
What follows is a sample of both the small and big things we found on the CES show floor that might well alter the consumer electronics landscape in 2013.
Click on the image below to start the slideshow.
HD video cameras have become smaller and wireless. They can be mounted on bike helmets, embedded in goggles, worn on a vest by war correspondents, harnessed on a dog (shown in Sony's booth), or mounted on a wall without drilling holes (like Netgears's VueZone wireless camera). Shown is Ambarella's wearable HD camera reference design that can stream video to smartphones.
I agree. I saw a lot of TIDSU (Technology In Desperate Search of a Use) in those slides, like the voice command feature in my Honda Pilot that I've never used. I would like to have that wearable HD camera in slide 1. I can think of many uses, like while I'm flying.
This rush to create products to solve minimalist problems seems to be great portal into bankruptsy. Using RF networks to eliminate the need for unsighly wires or for folks who cannot plug the green plug into the green socket, will make life a bit easier for the dumbed down consumer. But those wireless speakers will either plow through a lot of batteries or will still have a power cord running around the room to the nearest outlet which is never where you need it. :-)
I don't get the trend towards the virtual dashboard. In an aircraft the glass cockpit has sufficient redundancy, pilot and co-pilot displays. But putting virtually all of a vehicle's entertainment, climate control, safety alerts into one LCD panel is a waiting single point of failure.
And if that isn't foolish enough, a large touch screen replacement for tactile mechanical controls is the road to automotive accident hell. Drivers spend little enough time engaged with what's out in front on the road without major distractions. The virtual touchscreen dashboard may someday have its place when vehicles can drive themselves autonomously. Till then, please do not make it more difficult to keep eyes on the road.
Cabe, I believe the FLORA came out four months ago but don't quote me. Thanks for suggesting the feature article. I look forward in doing it. I got a couple of wearable concepts sketched out and will chose one to develop. I'll definitely keep you posted.
Cabe, I agree. New technologies sometimes warrant standards that drive design unification practices. I'll be watching the developments closely of wearable devices for this year. Also, I'll be getting a hands on view of wearable electronics as I experiment with the Adafruit Flora kit.
Looks like the trend is all about new was to use and interface with our technology. It is 2013 after all, it should be easier to do work. Look how a different HMI let people that used to be afraid to use a computer, seemingly master the smartphone. Unification of all tech has to be the next big usability trend.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
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Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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