The annual Consumer Electronics Show is taking over Las Vegas from 6 to 9 January and The Institute will be there to cover it. Throughout the week, the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and nearby hotels and conference centers will be jam-packed with the latest in home entertainment, digital health, wearable, and connected-vehicle technology, to name a few. People on the cutting edge of consumer electronics, including CEOs of well-known companies as well as start-ups, will be there to discuss both the current state and future of the industry. And amidst all of this excitement will, of course, be IEEE.
This year’s theme is “Thinking Forward,” drawing attention to the fact that several IEEE members have made possible many of the latest gadgets on display, and several are already developing technology that will be featured at CES decades from now. The IEEE exhibit (located at booth #30646 in the South Hall of LVCC) boasts a number of activities to attract attendees.
“Thinking” is the operative word for one feature at the booth—a two-player mind-controlled game in which participants can race cars about the size of a shoebox around a track with their minds by just simply concentrating on accelerating them. Players will wear headsets embedded with sensors that record electrical activity along their scalps to analyze brain waves. Racers’ times will be added to a leaderboard and all participants will be entered to win a US $500 gift card.
The headsets were developed by Emotiv, an Australian electronics company that develops brain-computer interfaces. IEEE Fellow Neil Weste cofounded the company and was responsible for chip design. Wearing the headset, players can practice alternating between a “neural” state, which involves not thinking about anything, and a “push” state in which the person actively thinks about moving the car forward. When they are ready to begin, players must focus their attention on the racetrack, wait for the countdown, and move the cars down the track as quickly as possible.
Attendees as well as those who can’t be there can experiment with the IEEE Game Changer, a new app that can be used either on a tablet computer at the booth, or downloaded on a computer or mobile device. Players will be asked to invent something that will change the face of consumer electronics. The goal is to create a new technology that scores the highest in a number of categories including efficiency, reliability, and benefit to humanity. First, players must answer a series of questions about design, manufacturing, and marketing. Next, they name their gadget and use the app to design what it will look like before submitting their idea. Other users can view the submissions and rate them using the app’s Marketplace feature.
MEET THE MAKERS
Several IEEE members who pioneered the technology that continues to evolve and that many of us can’t live without today will be at CES. They include IEEE Life Fellow Martin Cooper, who developed the first handheld cellphone in the 1970s when he was general manager of Motorola, and IEEE Senior Member Charles Hull, who is known as the “father of 3-D printing.” In the early 1980s, Hull printed a small cup using ultraviolet light and a vat of plastic goop using a process he invented called stereolithography. His company, 3D Systems, will have an exhibit in booth #72225 at the Sands Convention Center.
I will also be attending, checking out demos of new products and listening to talks from experts on many of the technologies The Institute will be covering this year, including smart homes, wearable health-monitoring devices, and more. I will also be donning a headset and taking a shot at IEEE’s mind-control racing game. You can root for me on Twitter at @anicole_dee and keep an eye on our IEEE Roundup blog for my coverage of CES. You can also follow @IEEEorg for updates throughout the show.
What consumer electronics are you most excited about this year? What kinds of gadgets would you like to see on display at future shows or in your home? Share your thoughts in the comments section.