Image courtesy: InteraXon
Image courtesy: InteraXon

Use your mind to control devices, track lost luggage: gadgets galore at the CES

By Sorab Ghaswalla

Mumbai, January 12, 2013

While net surfing these days, you may have often come across the acronym – CES. If you did not dig deep, and if you are a digital world aficionado, you don’t know what you are missing (I would say even if you are not a tech-freak, you could do well by reading up on CES). 

The international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 has started, and at the time of the writing of this column, we are right in the midst of it.
Actually, the CES has grown far beyond the world of electronics; it’s become a venue where almost anything goes – electronics, hardware, software, and then the downright bizarre. 
Technology across all sectors virtually – from consumer goods to health to gaming to cars. Held in Los Angeles, USA, since the late 1960s, this is the event to go to if (a) you are an electronics/ IT/tech company (b) if you are a consumer (c) if you are a retailer (d) if you are into tech research (e) if you are simply plain nuts about everything D (digital).
The International CES is owned by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), a trade association promoting growth in the US $195 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. It has over 2,000 companies as its members including those that are into legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships.
So what if you can’t fly all the way to LA, there are thousands of websites and new sites that track developments at the CES, every minute. I have been reporting on some unique products that will surface at the on-going CES 2013 on my blog Always Above The Fold, for example. And believe you me when I say this, I am not using the word ‘unique’ loosely here.
The CES is a place where companies launch their products after years, even decades of research and development. Most are on the cutting edge of technology, and will disrupt our day to day lives in the years to come. That’s what makes the CES so special.
Everything about the CES is big. Take the 2013 edition that started on January 8. There are more than 3,250 exhibitors across 1.9 million net square feet of exhibit space, and over 20,000 products will be launching during the five days of the exhibition. Over 350,000 people would have gone through its four gigantic exhibition halls by the end of those five days.
Big or small, every company in the digital world, from Samsung to LG to Razer to the smaller ones have set up stalls at the CES or launch their products from this platform. Why? Because it means instant publicity around the world.
So what’s up at the CES 2013? Obviously I can’t report on all the 20,000 products but I can certainly talk of a few that have grabbed my attention, to tantalise you enough to go look for more yourself, what say mate?
‘Read your brain’ headband
This gadget is mind blowing (sorry for the pun). And the guys behind this gadget drew my personal attention to it, thank god for that or I would have missed it in the clutter.
InteraXon is a Toronto, Canada based tech company that has shown off the Muse, described as a “Brain Sensing Headband”, at the CES in the Digital Health Zone.
What does this gadget do? Eventually, it will help control all your devices with your mind, that’s what.
It's a sleek, four-sensor headband that seems right out of a Star Trek movie, and for now allows you to control games, reduce stress and improve memory and concentration.
Muse measures your brainwaves in real-time. It sends those brainwaves to your smart phone or tablet showing you how well your brain is performing; and also translates your brainwaves into instructions to interact with content on your iOS or Android device.
Track your luggage
A company called GlobaTrac is hoping to literally cash in on the fact that airlines are regularly misplacing passenger luggage.
GlobaTrac, based in Los Angeles, is showing off the Trakdot at the CES 2013. This is a small, battery-powered device that sits in your suitcase and tracks your luggage. The device works using GSM and sends messages directly to your cell phone. So if you're flying to New York but your luggage instead makes its way to New Delhi, you'll get a message on your phone telling you what has happened.
One gigantic, flat TV
Both, Samsung and Panasonic showcased their plasma TVs this year. Panasonic showboated its TC-PZT60 series, available in, hold your breath, two sizes: 65 and 60 inches.
The company said this flagship product has the thinnest gas layer yet seen in any Plasma TV, which the company says will remove dim and double images. There's a newly developed red phosphor, and it offers faster switching than ever, THX certification for both 2D and 3D, and improved 3D performance.
Spectacles go ‘Smart’
The Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses is a wearable Bluetooth/Wi-Fi headpiece with a built-in HD camera and movable eyepiece display. These run on Android and later also on the Apple iOS and be available by summer 2013.
Previous columns by Sorab Ghaswalla

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