xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Geek Speak: What was the best at CES?

As usual, CES showed us prototypes and concepts for a range of new and interesting products, some of which might not make it in the market at large. Even so, new ideas can spur new new ideas, and innovation is always a good thing, even if it flops. Here are some of the things I liked the most in this year's CES.

Ultra high definition: The display's the thing, in almost all of electronics. If you don't have a great display on a TV, smartphone, or tablet, frankly, who cares? This year's big display news was ultra high definition. UHD is twice the resolution of HD, which is 1920 by 1080. UHD is 3840 by 2160. That's a lot of pixels. At some point, we are going to surpass what the human eye can even see, and I suspect we will keep going, because that's what geeks do. Bigger numbers, brighter colors, higher frame rates. That's the display you want. Most of the major display vendors had versions of this, but we don't have a good idea what the price point will be yet. Expect it to be ... high.

Luminae keyboards: This might be my favorite thing from the show. I destroy keyboards. I play a lot of video games, and even when typing I hit the keys harder than I should. It's a problem, I know. And though I am extremely careful, I often eat or drink at my desk, and that doesn't always end well. These keyboard (and trackpads) are made of glass and have a smooth surface, so it is easy to clean, and I won't crush the keys. You can change the color and brightness of the displayed keys, and you can customize the setup to whatever you want. The trackpad can be used to move your cursor, and can also have keys put on it, for example a number pad. You can customize it pretty thoroughly and have any sort of setup you like. The only problem I can think of is touch typing, but if you type as much as I do, the muscle memory is likely ingrained to the point that that only matters so much.

Oculus Rift: Like I said, I play games. I also watched Star Trek as a kid, and I loved the holodeck. Now, even if we could come up with the technology, manipulating photons would be an energy-intensive affair, and so not practical for everyday use like in the shows. So we look to virtual reality. The Oculus Rift is a visor you wear that has a screen that simulates a normal field of view; it shows you what your eyes would see instead of a flat picture of something. It also senses your head move, and will move the displayed area as you do. So, when you play a game, you can see what is happening as if you were there in person. It will change everything in gaming in a few years, mark my words.

Faster, lighter processors: Avoiding too much technicality on the issue, progress in the arena of processors is a huge factor for technology. Faster processors with more cores that use less power govern how fast computers, tablets, and phones can be. They are probably the most important factor in computing, and certainly are with regard to speed and power. Intel especially showed some processors that remained as fast or faster, but that uses less power. This will be very good for laptops in the future, as one of the worst problems with them is battery life and the excess heat. These processors will cut that down in a big way, and we will continue toward a future of smaller, faster, lighter laptops, tables, and smartphones that last longer before needing a charge. It's a win for all of technology.

There was a great deal else at CES that was very interesting, but much of it was speculative or of limited usefulness, like a pretty cool "smart film" that you can cut out into the shape you want and paste over windows to control how much light gets in. Interesting technology, but I don't see a single situation in which Venetian blinds don't work better, and they don't need electricity. And there was ... this thing. It fixes jet lag? Or cures seasonal affective disorder? Something like that. I guess they can't all be winners.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement