Most futuristic technology from CES 2012
Every year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, tech vendors show off the products they plan to release to market in the year ahead. It’s like the Superbowl for tech geeks, and one place where the latest advancements in North America’s consumer-grade gadgetry is on display. But there are some products that go beyond one step advancment, that stop CES show-goers in their tracks as they walk by the booth to pick their jaws up off the floor. Here’s the most futuristic technology we came across at this year’s CES.
By Brian Jackson, images courtesy of IDG
Corning Gorilla Glass 2
Gorilla Glass 2 is 20 percent thinner than its predecessor, yet it doesn’t lose any of its strength. The new glass will pave the way for slimmer, thinner devices with brighter images and increased sensitivity to touch. Gorilla Glass first appeared in 2007, and Corning claimed that it’s the most widely used cover glass, deployed to more than 575 devices from more than 30 different companies. For instance, the material is commonly believed to be used in the iPhone, though Apple won’t disclose its suppliers.
HzO’s waterproof coating
Attendees at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show have been pulling up short at HzO’s demonstrations, which include a fully functional iPhone repeatedly submerged in water yet still playing music, and an iPad that works after it has been dunked, with pockets of water still visible under the touch screen. The company’s waterproofing process uses a vacuum chamber that sucks all of the air out, then pumps in a gas that seeps into the device. The gas includes a waterproof material that settles on all the device’s surfaces, giving it a protective coating that is “nanometers thick,” according to Peterson.
Samsung will launch a smart TV converter kit in April 2012, offering Skype connectivity and a limited number of Android apps, controlled by a small wireless keyboard remote. It resembles a Web camera and is designed to be perched atop standard TV sets, hooking into a household’s existing wireless Internet network. It will debut in the U.S. in April for $199.Its hardware includes a front-facing camera, dual microphone and HDMI output. A main focus of the software is its custom Skype interface, which is featured prominently and billed as hassle-free to set up.
OnStar’s LTE-connected entertainment network
In Verizon’s booth, OnStar showed off a prototype system built into a Chevrolet Volt that lets a driver control entertainment and home automation and find charging locations from a touchscreen on the dashboard.
The system featured two tablet computers hung in front of each of the rear seats. In a demonstration of the system, using the touchscreen on the dashboard, the driver chose a movie and sent it to one of the back-seat displays. The driver then set up a Skype video call and sent it to the other back-seat display, where a passenger there could have a video call. In a real-life situation, the movie could be streamed over Verizon’s LTE network from the driver’s home computer. The Skype call would also work over the LTE network.
Behringer iNuke speaker
Launched at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show the iNuke from Behringer measures a massive 8 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet and weighs 900 pounds, or about 408 kilograms.
The iNuke has dual 18-inch subwoofers at 3,000 watts each. “You can run this thing off two 15 amp residential circuits,” said Costa Lakoumentas with Behringer. To avoid blowing a fuse, when the iNuke is turned on it powers up the components in a sequence. There’s also a switch on the back of the unit to add 12 decibels of extra power. It costs about $30,000.
Lenovo IdeaCentre A720
The worldís slimmest 27-inch all-in-one, the IdeaCentre A720, with Windows 7, uniquely combines a frameless display supporting 10-point multitouch for greater accuracy with a widely adjustable screen angle (from -5 degrees to 90 degrees) that allows comfortable use in any position.
Lenovo Smart TV
Lenovo’s K91 Smart TV will run on Android 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich, to offer couch potatos video-on-demand, 3D display, multi-panel viewing, games, voice recognition and more. Users will be able to speak commands to search for content. The TV will be shipping only to China for the time being.
OLPC’s sub-$100 tablet
The One Laptop Per Child organization’s latest effort to produce a cheap tablet for children in the developing world is impressive for what it can execute for under $100, if not for its performance compared to other more costly tablets. The XO 3.0 tablet is powered by a Marvell PXA618 ARM system-on-a-chip and also uses Marvell Avastar Wi-Fi technology.
When this tablet runs out of battery, a hand crank operated for six minutes will keep it running for an hour. Or a solar panel cover can generate power passively. But the device may not be manufacted as the organization still lacks a sponsor to do so.
Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock
Thunderbolt is a new type of interface port being used by Apple and makers of Intel’s Ultrabooks. For $299, the dock takes advantage of this super-fast connection to offer multiple USB connections, connect with gigabit ethernet, a Firewire 800 port, HDMI out, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and another Thunderbolt out for daisy-chaining purposes. It’s the ultimate swiss army knife of computer peripheral connectivity.
Spotted at the iHip booth, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of Jersey Shore fame. Somehow the company agreed to let her design some headphones, and she explained her inspiration for the sparkle-covered design to MTV: “I like to be tacky and I like to be gaudy,” she says. “When you think of animal print, don’t you think of me?”
Clearly this is not a human, but some sort of advanced robot designed for reality TV existence alone.