10 Weird, Wacky And Wonderful Things To See At CES 20121:00 PM EST Mon. Jan. 09, 2012
CES 2012, known officially as the 2012 International CES, is the largest tech show in the U.S. and a spectacle that has to be seen to be believed. First of all, CES is massive, with exhibit space that covers more than 35 American football fields. Not impressed? Well, try this: CES is held in Las Vegas, easily one of the world's most bizarre -- and therefore fascinating -- cities.
CES also attracts attendees from countries all over the world -- as can be surmised from the olfactory onslaught of attendees' colognes and perfumes on encounters while strolling through the show floor. And then there's the noise: CES administrators enforce a maximum noise level of 85 dB on the exhibit floor. The rules are looser in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, a.k.a. the cool car audio pavilion, where demos can run up to 95 dB during the last hour the floor is open. Talk about a sensory onslaught. We've collected some of the weirdest, wackiest, and intriguing products and events happening at CES, and we're presenting them here.
Remember that Apple TV commercial in which an electric guitar player is shown tuning into an amplifier interface on an iPad? That's AmpliTube iRig, a product from IK Multimedia, an Italy-based company that'll be showing off its musician focused wares at CES.
IK Multimedia's CES booth -- #3732 in the North Hall/iLounge Pavilion -- will also feature live performances by Lady Gaga and Elton John… impersonators. "If you think we have some new & exciting music gear to continue offering the “cool factor” for musicians using iOS devices, well, then you’re right," the company says in its CES promotional e-mail.
CES typically features appearances by Hollywood and music industry glitterati, and this year is no different. Pop star Justin Bieber will be appearing at the booth of TOSY Robotics, a Vietnam-based company that it's safe to say very few attendees are familiar with. He’ll be at TOSY's booths 21964 through 21968, in the LVCC South Hall Ground Level on Wednesday, January 11 between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi of "Jersey Shore" fame will be signing autographs and doing what she does at the booth of iHip, a maker of headphones and mobile accessories. She presumably was able to move a couple of her scheduled Mensa meetings around in order to fit CES into her schedule, and will be appearing at iHip's South Hall Booth #21920 on Tuesday, January 10 from 2 p.m to 4 p.m.
Other notable CES celebrity appearances include former NBA star Dennis Rodman, TV fitness guru Jillian Michaels, rappers LL Cool J and 50 Cent, actress Eliza Dushku and actor Greg Grunberg.
A company called Headcase, whose URL Beaheadcase.com may be the best ever conceived for an organization, apparently doesn't think iPhones cram enough functionality into their shiny little cases. For example, they can't open beer bottles. But now they can!
Headcase's iPhone beer opener is made of stainless steel and hard plastic, so mobile users won't have to risk scratching their precious devices when needing to open a beer bottle in a pinch. This product comes in American flag or camouflage versions, and parents will be happy to know that it's also available with U.S. college logos. You know, so that junior can crack open a beer in between library visits.
Trek 2000 International, a Singapore-based firm that sells anti-piracy, compression and the thumb drive encryption devices, will be launching a new Wi-Fi SD card that lets users transfer photos and videos between a camera and a PC or another device. The company is partnering with Toshiba to distribute the product.
It sounds great, but there's just one problem: The product is called FluCard Pro. Really? That’s the name they went with? It just seems like a tough sell to name your product after a nasty wintertime affliction, even more so because we're in the midst of flu season here in the U.S.
Trek 2000 International is also launching Ai-Ball, which it's billing as the world’s smallest portable Wi-Fi remote video camera, at 1.4 inches. It's designed for use with smart phones, tablets and laptops. Check it out at CES Booth 49024 in the Las Vegas Hilton.
Are you the sort of hard core gamer who'd like nothing more than to shut out the world around you, completely, except for a steady flow of oxygen? Well, you might want to check out Sensics’ Natalia, a set of 3D goggles that features 360-degree tracking of the head and hands and the ability to run powerful applications, all wirelessly without an external PC.
Our world is getting more like Minority Report by the day, and products like the Natalia are a big reason why. It comes with a 1.2 GHz, dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM, runs Android 4.0, and includes a graphics and 3D accelerator. Who says tablets are taking over the world?
Seems like a person can't get away from the inane -- and often mindless -- chatter of others these days, and that's true both inside and outside the workplace.
Israel-based Silentium believes it has an answer to this problem: Its new Quiet Bubble technology is designed to establish "zones of quiet" around users, cancelling out ambient noise and enabling deeper concentration for users. Interestingly, the technology works with headsets and without headsets. The company's QB1 product is designed for headsets, and its QB2 product is designed for seating. Both use Silentium's Active Noise Reduction (ANR) system, which consist of a DSP-based controller that communicates directly with loudspeakers and microphones.
Obviously this has a ton of use cases, and Silentium says it's ideal for leisure, commercial and military aerospace and industrial applications.
Soundmatters, a Reno, Nev.-based company, founded in 1998 by former NASA engineer Dr. Godehard Guenther, will be showing off foxLO, a palm-sized subwoofer whose size belies its booming audio performance.
foxLO features Soundmatters' patented Linear Magnetic Drive woofer technology, as well as a proprietary passive radiator system and 25-watt amplification, to achieve the kind of resonant bass that makes people turn their heads wondering who's blasting their stereo. The best part is, foxLO is so small that no one can tell where the tunes are coming from. And at $149, it fits within the budget of smartphone and tablet owners who are looking for beefier audio from their devices.
We all find ourselves needing an electric outlet to charge our smartphones from time to time, and it's pretty annoying. But what if you could get all elemental and do it with a substance that's found pretty much everywhere in abundance? That's the idea behind PowerTrekk, a product from Swedish fuel cell developer myFC, which uses water to generate power for mobile device charging.
PowerTrekk converts hydrogen to electricity and enables its users to stay connected, even when they're not connected to the grid. It's a prime example of clean energy and probably something that's keeping executives from battery companies up at night.
TheBlu is, in some ways, a bit hard to pin down -- it’s not a social media site, nor is a game, or the latest cool trendy app that everyone's using to show how technologically savvy and creative they are. The Blu is an effort to recreate the ocean using the talents of digital artists combined with the acumen of scientists. It's a Web app made by and for ocean lovers that uses social media to draw folks in and get them interacting and talking about issues relating to the conservation of the world's oceans.
TheBlu is currently in beta, but Wemo Media, the company that’s spearheading the project, has big dreams about what it will ultimately become. They're at CES talking about their creation. Amid the buzzing and beeping halls crammed full of gadgets and wide-eyed CES attendees, TheBlu is focusing on something much more important -- and something that doesn't need batteries.
Qualcomm's CES keynote address begins at the ungodly (by Vegas standards) hour of 8:30 a.m. But even narcoleptic attendees won’t have any trouble staying awake because Jabbawockeez, the all-male hip-hop dance team that rose to fame five years ago after winning MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew," will take the stage before the keynote.
Looking for more CES coverage? Check out CRN's picks for the 25 Must-See Products At CES 2012.