2016 CES doesn't disappoint
Jan. 11, 2016
by Mark Ollig

Chatter over the online social networks was constant; thousands of folks were posting tweets to the Twitter hashtag #CES2016.

The eyes of the tech world were keenly focused on the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) recently held in Las Vegas, NV.

Over 150,000 excited tech-enthusiasts (and geeks) attended this event to see what new gadgets and technologies will be available for the new year.

Those attending got a close-up look at some interesting technology.

This year’s CES was, in a word, huge.

Covering over 2.4 million net square feet (about 50 football fields), this showcase extended across Las Vegas and was contained within three separate venue locations: Tech East, Tech West, and Tech South.

Over 3,600 exhibitors from around the world introduced and demonstrated some 20,000 new products, technologies, and services to the multitudes of people thirsting to discover what the latest and greatest would be for 2016.

This event was well covered by the media, as there were over 1,200 members of the press in attendance.

I downloaded the 2016 CES web software app (application) onto my Android smartphone, so I was able to stay up-to-date with the latest news and information while on the go.

This year’s CES demonstrated enhanced augmented VR (virtual reality) technology being used with immersive-gaming console systems.

This year’s showcase demonstrated the simple, but ingenious, Google Cardboard VR viewer you can easily make (yes, out of cardboard) and use with software apps on your Android or iPhone.

VR rendering software has become a practical use in real-world medical applications for generating 3D images for study and analysis of human internal organs and systems.

Coincidently, the Google Cardboard VR viewer was recently used by a doctor in Miami to save the life of a baby.

Using the cardboard VR viewer to see 3D virtual reality images of the baby’s heart, the doctor was able to diagram an operation that saved the baby’s life.

Learn more about the Google Cardboard VR viewer at: https://www.google.com/get/cardboard.

Much attention was given at this year’s CES to the various models of unpiloted, flying aero systems; or as we commonly call them: flying drones.

Some 26 exhibitors presented a variety of flying aero systems, most of which are controlled via a smartphone app.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was also at CES, and had a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) information booth for answering drone enthusiasts’ questions.

Most flying drones have a video camera attached. In addition to being a lot of fun recording the landscape venue from the air, drones provide very useful services.

Camera and microphone equipped drones are being used in search and rescue situations, and in disaster relief environments by law enforcement.

Commercial real estate companies are beginning to use them for showing how properties look from the air.

We’re seeing drones flying overhead during sporting events, as they are able to provide unique aerial viewing angles of the action.

People traveling are recording scenic locations and outback locales using drones.

Of course, one needs to be aware of the local, state, and federal laws when it comes to flying a drone.

We’ll also need to register our drone or UAS, with the FAA registration system.

There are three types of UAS classifications:

• Public Operations (Governmental).

• Civil Operations (Non-Governmental).

• Model Aircraft (Hobby or Recreation only).

Register your drone online with the FAA here: www.faa.gov/uas/registration.

The FAA’s government website: Unmanned Aircraft Systems provides answers about the legalities of drone usage: http://www.faa.gov/uas.

Robotic technology was also popular at this year’s CES.

The LEGO Company presented their LEGO’s WeDo 2.0 robotics kit, designed for students involved with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses in school.

Students, using 280 different building elements, learn basic robotic engineering, programing, and building skills.

“Drag-and-drop” software applications are available for creating and connecting a wireless Bluetooth hub with the LEGO robot’s enhanced motors, and various motion sensors.

Programming is accomplished using software apps installed on an iPad, other smartdevice, or desktop computer which sync with the student’s robot.

With 17 separate building projects, and a design library to use for ideas and reference, students learn how to build robotic solutions, analyze data, and share their discoveries.

LEGO Education US recently uploaded “Introducing WeDo 2.0” video to YouTube at http://tinyurl.com/byteswedo.

More information about LEGO’s WeDo 2.0 robotics kit can be found at LEGO’s education website: http://tinyurl.com/bytesLEGO.

Sept. 1, 2008, yours truly wrote a column titled “Students will need ‘STEM’ for their future careers.” This column can be read at: http://tinyurl.com/bytesSTEM.

This year’s CES also focused on creating a more “digitally connected” home linked to the Internet that we can monitor and control from a central location: such as our smartphone, via software apps.

Yours truly foresees anything electronic: vehicles, appliances, machines, gadgets, and apparatuses of the future, evolving towards a complete digital conversion as IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and thus become immersed inside an ever-growing cloud we call the Internet.

Highlights from this year’s CES can be seen on their official YouTube channel: http://tinyurl.com/bytes-ces1.

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