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CES 2014 - Unveiled!

This year's show kicks off with a chance for some of the smaller manufacturers to shine

by Steve Withers Jan 6, 2014

  • Tech Article


    CES 2014 - Unveiled!
    Whilst the real show doesn’t start until the Monday when all the majors hold their press conferences, some of the smaller manufacturers got their moment in the spotlight on the Sunday evening.
    CES Unveiled, which is held in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, kicks things off in style with a host of companies lining up to show off their latest innovations. Although with so many stands and just about every journalist in town crammed into one of the hotel’s many ballrooms, space was at a premium. The range of products on show gives you a good idea of just how many different technologies are represented at CES and is a reminder of the sheer number of companies that flock to Las Vegas in the first week of January.
    CES Unveiled gives you a good idea of just how many different technologies are represented at the show

    It’s certainly a great opportunity to see a number of technological innovations that will undoubtedly be filtering into other products in the near future. A good example of this was Novasentis who were demonstrating their latest award-winning touch feedback actuator and sensor technology. Novasentis are the creator of the world’s thinnest Electro-Mechanical Polymer (EMP) which is used to create actuators. When used in electronic devices, these actuators can bring the interface alive by providing tactile feedback to users. This combination of tactile and auditory effects helps bridge the gap between the users senses and the devices themselves taking electronics into the ‘Neo-Sensory Age’. Novasentis’ technology is initially being implemented in keyboards but the possibilities are endless and can be extended to wearable tech, clothing and even health care.
    These tactile effects help bridge the gap between the users senses and the device

    Brookstone were demonstrating their iTOi hardware and iOS app which is designed for face-to-face video productions. The hardware allows you to look at the screen of your iPad whilst simultaneously looking directly into the camera, so when video conferencing the experience is genuinely face-to-face. The combination of the hardware and the app also allows you to use your iPad as a tele-prompter whilst simultaneously filming yourself. The app itself helps you create your script which you can then read from whilst facing the camera directly. The app also allows you to include photos and other images which can be included in your video using an auto montage feature. The combination of the iTOi hardware and app will allow anyone to produce professional looking videos so YouTube may never be the same again.

    Moving onto the audio side of things and Clear View had their new Clio speaker on show and the clue to this product’s unique selling point is in the name of the company. This wireless 2.1 system uses a new transducer made from ultra thin, slightly curved and optically clear acrylic. This design disperses sound waves in multiple directions, filling a room with audio whilst allowing the speaker to be placed anywhere. The 2.1 system uses stereo dipole speakers and a 2” subwoofer and includes a wireless Bluetooth connection and a 3.5mm mini-jack. With its transparent design, the Clio is also practically invisible, so no more black boxes to annoy the other half.
    With its transparent design, the Clio is practically invisible, so no more black boxes to annoy the other half

    Slightly more old school but equally as flexible is Dream’s new omni-directional active speaker. The company has taken this familiar technology and applied it at a more affordable price. As a result their new speaker eliminates the problems of a sweet spot, enabling you to fill your room with audio that should sound the same from wherever you’re standing. This striking looking speaker comes in an attractive gloss black finish and is genuinely wireless. You can connect with the Dream via Bluetooth, WiFi, DLNA or AirPlay, so the only cable you have to worry about is the one to the power socket.

    It would seem that everyone is going wireless these days and Yurbuds latest in-ear sport headphones might be ideal for the more active amongst you. By wirelessly connecting to your music device via Bluetooth, there’s no cable to strangle yourself with during a vigorous workout. The Yurbuds have been designed in consolation with sports professionals and include comfort-fit ear buds, audible and visual battery indicators and microphone/call/track/volume control. They are also water and sweat resistant, have a dedicated pairing button and a battery that lasts up to six hours. Although six minutes of exercise would probably be enough for us.
    If you’re in the habit of misplacing your keys or wallet then Phone Halo might have the solution

    If you’re in the habit of misplacing your keys or wallet then Phone Halo might have the solution. Their new TrackR device and app allows you to easily find any misplaced items by emitting an audible signal. They currently have two models - the StickR TrackR which can be attached to a multitude of different personal effects and the the Wallet TrackR which is obviously designed to go inside your wallet. The StickR version has a battery that lasts a year, whilst the wallet version has a battery that lasts 2 years. Your phone can handle up to 10 devices via the app and Phone Halo plan to launch the TrackR in Europe this year in conjunction with Orange. Mind you if your wallet gets pinched the limited range of Bluetooth might be an issue and if you lose your phone you’re stuffed!

    Finally Parrot are always a hit at CES Unveiled with their wireless peripherals and this year they were demonstrating to new devices. There was the Jumping Sumo, a robot insect with a built-in camera that’s controlled via WiFi 5GHz using a smartphone or tablet. It moves around, jumps 80cm into the air and spins 90 degrees, although despite the novelty value of the Jumping Sumo, we’re not sure what it’s actual purpose is? Parrot also had their MiniDrone, which is piloted using low energy Bluetooth via a smartphone or tablet. It rolls and it flies, so perhaps we should use it to help us cover the CES show floor when it opens tomorrow?

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