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January 16, 2012 / Tom Monczka

CES 2012

More than 140,000 attendees were at the 4 day show covering 1.8 million plus square feet of space with over 3,100 exhibitors. Stakes are high with projections estimating $200 billion of CE gear will be sold in the U.S. during 2012, an increase of 3.7 percent over 2011. Celebrities at this year’s show included Tom Hanks, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Seacrest, Will Smith, LL Cool J and Kelly Clarkson.


A wall of 3D TVs dominated the Panasonic booth with stadium style seating for viewers to fully experience the latest 3D technology. Highlights from Panasonic’s booth space include: electric car technology and charging system, advanced Li-ion batteries, solar car, smart energy gateway for energy management and a live social network broadcast.

Taylor Outlines Panasonic’s Near Future (interview with CES Daily)

Joe Taylor, Chairman/CEO of Panasonic Corp. of North America, outlined the company’s strategy to expand beyond A/V business in the near future. Panasonic North America is expected to post a profit by the end of the fiscal year on March 31. CE sales are lower with higher sales on B-to-B segment (globally consumer sales are 50 percent of revenue). Short term focus in the next two to three years will be on the B-to-B side. Initial investments in cloud-based initiatives include healthcare to allow doctors and hospitals to interact with consumers at home. A reduction of smaller plasma sizes and increase in larger plasma and expansion in LCD are planned. Ninety percent of the lineup will feature 3D and 94 percent will include smart TVs.

Intel Ultrabook

Ultrabook laptops using Intel technology are under 5 pounds, less than 1” thick, take 7 seconds from sleep mode to up and sell for under $1000. Promotional campaign for the product includes an interactive display using Panasonic’s D-IMager 3D image sensor. Gesture control enabled by the D-IMager enables the user to virtually explore Ultrabook features using a menu driven system in an intuitive manner. Also on display was an augmented reality interface deployed in Lego stores using Intel technology.

Omek Interactive Software

Omek is a middleware partner for the Panasonic D-IMager and showcased 2 interactive software experiences: Intel Ultrabook and 3D car explorer. Intel’s Ultrabook software is based on Omek’s development platform and includes a menu driven system to explore the laptop’s features. 3D car explorer enables the user to virtually kick the tires on a car and start the engine, turn on the radio, and view the engine bay. Gesture enabled technology allows navigating the interface in an intuitive manner and is completely natural even for first time users. All 3 versions of the D-IMager were on display: EKL3104 (standard), EKL3105 (high accuracy) and EKL3106 (high ambient brightness).

Verizon 4G Kiosk

“Retail in the cloud” is a concept Verizon developed from commercially available components. POS system is designed for retail locations where the user initiates by tapping a smart card to load stored data from the cloud. For a clothing retailer the user can have an avatar stored under the account. High speed LTE (4G) allows others (say store assistance or a friend) to join by video, view the clothes and comment from a remote location. Going wireless simplifies the installation and allows the kiosk to easily be moved to another location if traffic is low in that spot. This is a perfect fit (pun intended) for 3D image sensors employing full body tracking and gesture control. Sensor enabled kiosks are expected in the near future and will allow a virtual dressing room experience.

Mercedes Dynamic and Intuitive Control Experience

This technology won’t be in production soon but is an indicator of the direction vehicle manufacturers are going. An autonomously controlled car frees up the driver to interact with the environment by way of a windshield projected display and gesture control. One possibility – traveling through a neighborhood where your friend sends you a message to meet at a local bar. Display will show an incoming message and proximity of the location on a translucent overlay for a section of the windshield. Using gesture control the driver can identify the location on a map and initiate a response (“10 minutes away – see you there”) using a voice recognition program to translate into text. System is designed to differentiate driver from passenger and there are endless options for the interface. A myriad of safety issues need to be resolved for this to make it into production and could take 5-10 years before aspects of this concept appear in vehicles.

Audi Heads Up Display

Audi showcased a heads up display concept using 2 time-of-flight sensors for gesture recognition. Displays are split into driver, passenger and center location on the windshield. One example is to project GPS turn signal information on the driver’s side view while the passenger can select a multimedia experience. Driver and passenger are not able to see the other’s view, most importantly protecting the driver from distraction. All controls are initiated using gesture control and production is to be determined.

Ford EVOS Cloud Vehicle and Focus EV

Ford displayed the EVOS concept car embodying the company’s new design direction and showcasing technology as a cloud connected vehicle. Enhancing driver health is also a goal using a heart rate monitor connected to the cloud that monitors the physical state of the driver and adjusts the driving experience accordingly. Focus EV was shown and incorporates a clever illuminated ring around the swiveling panel covering the charging socket. Charging status and battery level are shown in increments as the ring illuminates full circle. A Level 2 charger made by Leviton intended for the Focus EV was on display with an expected cost of $1500 including home installation at Best Buy.

HzO WaterBlock Technology

Revolutionizes the concept of guarding electronic devices from water using proprietary nanotechnology that blocks out moisture without interrupting electronics. Protects from splashes, humidity, spills and even immersion on a molecular scale. A chemical vapor deposition blankets vital electronic circuitry with a nano-thin film. As a result highly effective water-repelling properties can be applied to plastic, metal and ceramic. The finish is transparent and doesn’t change the look and feel of the device. Intended for use at the production level and compatible with any electronic device. HzO’s display included smart phones that underwent the process and submerged in a tank (and functioning underwater). This can be applied to any object – paper sheet or tissue for example – and shows no signs of moisture after removal from water submersion.

Duracell Powermat Inductive Charging

Inductive iPhone charging is debuting in the 2013 Chevy Volt. Inductive technology enables charging your phone by placing on a compartment in the center console. A receiver case snaps onto the back of the iPhone and enables wireless charging on any Powermat surface. Inductive charging is considered safe and the charging surface is indistinguishable from the plastic console. The charging area will have a cover similar to the center armrest console opening up to a storage bin. Possibility to expand into other vehicles in the GM lineup by 2015. Duracell will develop wireless charging stations for a variety of environments, including sports arenas. Jay-Z was recently signed on as the spokesperson and will become an investment partner in the company.



One Comment

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  1. Nosgoth1979 / Jan 17 2012 11:45 AM

    Audi’s new HUD was one of my favorite things that came out of CES this year. I have to admit I’m a bit partial since I drive an Audi and although it’s about ten years old, that little TT’s treated me very well. At the top of my list though, was DISH announcing the Hopper. Being that I’ve been a long-time subscriber, and more recently an employee, of DISH, I’ve been hoping for a whole home DVR from them for a while. Well it may have taken them a bit longer, but they’ve outdone themselves with this one. The PrimeTime Anytime feature (recording the four networks on a single tuner during primetime automatically) had me scratching my head until I started thinking about it. I realized that almost all of the scheduling conflicts I run into with my current DVR are caused by all these networks warring with each other to get their best shows on during the same timeslots. This will fix that, and I’m psyched to get one in my home.

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