Consumer Electronics Show celebrates 50th year
Jan. 9, 2017
by Mark Ollig

The Consumer Technology Association hosted its 50th Consumer Electronics Show last week in Las Vegas, NV.

Ten years ago this week, I wrote about the 40th Consumer Electronics Show.

“CES attendees will see firsthand this evolution of convergence with products such as flash drives and storage devices increasing in size – reaching 8-16 GB [Gigabyte],” I said in the January 2007 column.

That same year, computer and software company Newegg was selling a 16GB flash drive storage device for $125.

Today, one electronic store known for their “best buys” has a 16GB USB flash drive stick you can pick up for just $6.

As we enter 2017, with the increasing amount of video and other data we accumulate, having more TB (Terabyte) than GB storage is becoming the norm.

The good news is external, flash, and internal hard drive storage prices keep coming down while their storage capacity increases.

And yes, cloud storage is an option, too.

A 2TB portable, external storage hard drive can be bought today in the electronic store I previously mentioned for only $180.

Commercially, two terabytes equals 2,000 gigabytes, which means if we could have bought a 2TB flash storage drive in 2007, it would have cost us $1,565.

The first CES took place June 24, 1967, at the Americana and Hilton hotels in New York City.

It featured some 200 exhibitors showcasing transistor radios, color televisions, and high-fidelity (Hi-Fi) stereo systems to the 17,500 people attending this event.

The CES summer show moved to Chicago in 1971, with their winter show relocating there in 1973.

In 1978, the winter CES moved to Las Vegas.

The summer CES was canceled in 1998.

For 2017, the Las Vegas CES display floors held over 2.6 million square feet of products and services being showcased by approximately 3,800 exhibitors. An estimated 175,000 people; mostly consisting of buyers, sellers, and members of the press, attended.

CES 2017 required three separate Las Vegas building locations: Tech East, Tech West, and Tech South.

Smart cities, connected homes, 3D printers, robotics, autonomously driven cars, artificial intelligence, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) were some of the technologies showcased.

LucidCam introduced a 3D VR camera with a 180-degree field of view for creating content that “makes people feel like they are right there with you.”

The camera includes two lenses and two speakers, and lets you shoot and instantly upload video.

The LucidCam 3D VR camera costs about $400.

Mota Group presented their flying drone called JETJAT ULTRA, which can be held in the palm of your hand.

It includes protective propeller guard rails, and embedded red and blue lights.

This flying drone’s built-in camera sends live-streaming video to your smartphone’s screen, and hovers in mid-air for taking stationary photos and selfies.

The drone’s hand-held controller connects with a smartphone using the JETJAT ULTRA app, which is also able to control the drone.

The controller includes a storage compartment for securing the drone during non-use.

It’s advertised as a good learning drone, and costs around $100.

The company’s website is https://www.mota.com/ultra.

Intel Corp. announced their new Intel® GOTM automotive solution, which takes advantage of the future 5G mobile network platform technology we will be seeing within the next three to four years.

According to Intel, 5G networks will take “autonomous and automated driving to new levels.”

Beddit Ltd. displayed sleep tracking technology using ultra-thin sensors placed under the person to be monitored; interfacing with an app on a smartphone.

The Beddit 3 Sleep Tracker monitors breathing, snoring, heart rate, environment, and sleep quality and length.

This sleep tracker currently works with the iPhone; however, an Android-compatible app will be available by March.

This year’s CES included 27 robotic exhibitors.

Ozobot makes a “smart and social” robotic platform combining entertaining gaming along with educational content for teaching kids how to code.

Looking like a miniature R2D2 out of “Star Wars,” Evo is an autonomous behaving robot which can fit in the palm of your hand.

It independently travels across a table or floor, engaging and entertaining kids (and adults) with its blinking lights, variety of sounds, and unpredicted actions.

Evo avoids bumping into physical obstacles using its built-in proximity sensing technology.

OzoBlockly, a software coding program, allows kids to create code for controlling Evo’s features; such as playing games, changing its lighting patterns, and more by dragging and dropping blocks of programmed code to form logical expressions.

The new code is wirelessly downloaded into the Evo robot.

The Ozobot Evo app is available for a tablet or smartphone, and includes the OzoChat program for messaging with friends.

The Ozobot Evo robot is recommended for kids age 8 and up, and costs $99.

A video describing Evo is available on Ozobot’s YouTube channel, http://bit.ly/2iavjWZ.

In the Jan. 15, 2007 “40th anniversary for Consumer Electronics Show” column, I interviewed Sarah Szabo, Public Relations Event Manager for the Consumer Electronics Association.

She said CES 2007 attendees would “see and feel the convergence of new technologies, products, and services.”

Technology’s convergence continues into 2017, as the era of IoT (Internet of Things); connected smart devices and electronic sensors, begins to become woven into the fabric of our daily lives.

The CES website is located at: http://www.ces.tech.

Follow me at @bitsandbytes on Twitter.

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