A Consumer Electronics Show with technology design engineers can appreciate? The 2012 International CES, coming to Las Vegas in January, has it, and we've got the pictures to prove it.
I went to the CES press preview in New York on November 8. In years past, the focus was tilted heavily toward 3D televisions -- cool, but a tough sale sans decent programming -- and tricked out-laptops -- not cool, no matter how colorful the chassis.
So I was happily surprised to see a surfeit of products in the Design News sweet spot. Some of those gadgets even snagged honors in the CES "Best of Innovations" awards. Winners included the Nest Learning Thermostat, LG's blast-chilling refrigerator technology, and a wearable heart rate monitor.
Click the image below to view a slideshow of these images and more from the 2012 International CES preview:
The Nest Learning Thermostat learns your preferences and adjusts its program accordingly. It also provides a guide to energy savings. It won a CES "Best of Innovations" award in the eco-design and sustainable technologies category.
CES is almost upon us. It will take place the week of Jan. 9 and I'll be there covering it for Design News. Please send me any ideas or areas of interest and I'll see if I can check it out on site. Write to email@example.com
Re Jim's comment, personal-sized health monitors are now a major category, much less an innovation that's emerged suddenly. It will be interesting to see at CES itself the kind of mindshare some of the non-3DTV, non-game technology gets. My contention is that this will be perhaps the most diverse CES ever, product wise. We'll soon see if that's the case.
Couple more thoughts about the CES slideshow; Slide 6, the health monitors winning a “Best of Innovations”is surprising because that concept was shown at least 7 years ago in ‘05.Still a good idea, and overdue to become fully commercialized, but it’s not “brand-new”,,, Same goes for the Home monitoring system shown on Slide 8.This idea has numerous instances of prior art, but now that the extremely pervasive iPad runs the APP, it gets a brighter spotlight.(Steve Jobs is still getting his well-deserved limelight!)
Regarding Jim's point about innovative thinking, I have the definite sense that we're passed some kind of tipping point where vendors are thinking less about "I have to cram a bunch of screens into my product" and more "what can I do to make something useful." In other words, they're designing stuff instead of just assembling components. I hope that sense will be borne out further by what I see on the show floor at CES in January.
A couple of you have already commented about previous CES offerings; particularly Alex’s comment of the heavy focus on Phone/Laptop/TV ,,,, In years past it was referred to as the 3 screens, and APP developers were challenged how to get their wares fully functional on all 3, considering the differences in screen aspect ratios, processing power, etc. Now, Its wonderfully refreshing to see our electronics culture slowly crawling out of the box and adapting emerging technologies to familiar products. Such as the sensing ski goggles; taking automotive sensing technologies which we’ve recently discussed and applying it to other fast-moving entities, such as a down-hill skier. That’s innovative thinking.
I was gratified to see that many of the products at the CES preview had more to them then just the usual phone/TV/computer thing going on. There seems to be a real movement this year to plumb new areas of design and come up with original applications. One way to look at it is embedded is going consumer, as we see with the NEST thermostat.
I once interfaced a $10 LED Calculator in 1977 to a momentary lever micro-switch for stationary running and then 4 large LED digits . Each step would do the equivalent of pressing the Equal key "=" after the jogger would enter +1 or an initial calorie count and then from an exercise table -0.035 or whatever for counting down calories. then start jogging with waist high steps ( great calorie burner) bounce = bounce = bounce on the foam supported wooden board = = = = = = = = = = = = count them calories down
Not bad for $30 in parts with charger in the late 70's with 1" big 7 segment LED digits.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.