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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > NanoMuse > Review of CES 2015

Tammy Gordin

Abstract:
In January I was able to attend the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). I was looking for Nanotechnology presence and was only able to find "Quantum Dots" which are used in Ultra HD Televisions and would like to encourage Nanotechnology presence in the high tech, consumer electronics world.

February 22nd, 2015

Review of CES 2015

Although normally I write a poetry column, this month, I shall divert from my customary, chimerical, clever, cultured, creations to encourage our readers to think forwardly in terms of consumers and technology.

In January 2015, I attended the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV. Since nanotechnology is primarily in the research phase, a bit in the development phase and hardly at all in a marketing phase, there was almost no nanotechnology presence at CES. For those who contemplate consumer applications in the nanotechnology field, the CES experience may impress you with the global high tech market and introduce you to investors and corporations who seek innovative building blocks for their products.

CES is a professional, "non public event" and is a "showcase for manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content and technology delivery systems." In other words, you may not attend as a tourist. You may attend as a developer, designer, student, or venture capitalist/entrepreneur/investor that has an interest in consumer technology. If your research fits into these categories, consider bringing a booth to CES.

If you think you are too small and can't afford a booth, don't worry, it will not be necessary to get floor space comparable to that of as Samsung, Intel, Nikon etc. This year, start ups were exhibited at Sands, Level 2, Eureka Park Marketplace where there was a unique opportunity to exhibit and launch new products, services or ideas. There were lectures such as Crowdfunding: Changing The Way Products Are Made and Bringing Innovation to Life: Leveraging Smart Marketing to Bring Technology to Life. There were pitch competitions for topics such as 3D Printing, Sensors, Wearable and Lifestyle Startups. So, if you don't know how to pitch, you could observe how others do it and learn.

In your planning, you should bring enough people to man your booth so that one of your team members explores the other venues and networks your ideas. For example, Samsung, LG, Sony, Vizio and others companies are utilizing nanotechnology in their Ultra High Definition, 4K televisions. Currently quantum dots is the way to go. Perhaps you have a better Quantum Dot or you have an alternate. If you present yourself to the right people, and market yourself the right way, you could be a developer for a big company like Samsung, but first, you have to make the contact. CES is a great place to makes these contacts.

The first time you go to CES will be a learning experience. You will make so many mistakes and you will learn from them. Part of your planning should be that you will not go through with that planning. One mistake you don't want to make is footwear. I heard that one walks anywhere between 5-10 miles a day during CES. The Sands, where you would probably exhibit, is 1.5 miles from the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). There are shuttle buses, but the lines are very long. The LVCC has two big buildings, North and South and also a Central Building. The best exhibits of CES are in the central section, between North and South. You could easily spend an entire day there. In fact, you could spend an entire day at the Intel event alone. Intel® had game technology that would blow anyone's mind, including Intel® RealSense™ Technology—Depth Technologies and 3D technology which mesmerized and ensnared a non-gamer like me.

Author playing Intel's RealSense Fire Power Space Shoot 'em up Game with fingers being read by a 3D camera as a controller


Intel presented the winners of their challenge contests. My two favorites were robot spiders which can be used for search and rescue and the 3D fabricated Spider Dress.
Intel Spider Dress
This design integrated fashion, 3D modeling and emotional recognition in one super-futuristic gadget. Intel has lectures, contests to win products, and if all that is not enough, they had people walking around giving your private demos of Dell, Lenovo, Acer or Toshiba tablets, 2-in-1's and laptops (driven by Intel micro-chips, of course) or people offering you freebees for doing their surveys.

That was just Intel. Since I was afraid I would not see anything else, I ran away to see LG, Samsung, Casio, Panasonic and I can't count how many more amazing exhibits located in the central hall. Samsung had a small movie studio set up with a 4K camera, the NX1, and every top-level professional accessory possible at the fingertips of the cinematographer. This display demonstrated that shooting a movie is on the threshold of great change for now filmmakers may extract close ups from longer shots and still get a picture chock full of richly colored pixels while using 4K formats.

At Panasonic, I sat at a smart mirror which made me up in seconds, finding the perfect eye shadow color that took me over ten years to find otherwise. It also showed me how I would look in a Goatee, Short Boxed Beard, and Van Dyke: I didn't like any.

Go-pro had a BMW M1 Procar set up at their exhibit so you could see the placement of their cameras during a race. Nikon had a 360 display of every camera they sell and also had exhibits of all their lenses.
Nikon's 3D display
Casio had their Casio G-Shock Atomic Solar GPS Watches on display.
Casio G-Shock Atomic Solar GPS Watches


The North hall displayed the cars. This year's CES was nicknamed the car show because today's cars are furnished with navigation computers, engine computers, human-comfort system computers, but are anywhere from semi-autonomous (self-parking, in-vehicle sensing technology in the dashboard, lane-keeping systems etc.) to the Mercedes-Benz fully autonomous F-015 showcase vehicle.
Mercedes_Benz F-015 Fully Autonomous Car
And even Intel collaborated with the Jaguar Land Rover to display their driver attention monitoring system.

A crucial phrase at CES is disruptive technology or disruptive innovation. An example of this would be the CD player which switched several industries from Vinyl, Cassettes and 8-Tracks, to the CDs we are learning to not use today because of MP3 players which lead to…well, you get the idea. My projection for this year's disruptive technology would have to be wireless charging. Intel offered a big public lecture on their plans for infrastructure changes in the wireless charging realms; in the coming year, plan to see end-table like structures at airports, Starbucks, hotels etc. These tables will be wireless charge ports, which means, if you do go to CES next year, you might not have to take along a plethora of USB charging ports to charge your phone, laptop, tablet, camera, video recorder and sound equipment.

Some of the technologies I found most interesting might interface with your research. 3D printing easily fits with nanotechnology because atomically precise manufacturing can produce materials for 3D printers, and 3D printers can produce parts for atomic and molecular fabrication. Nanotechnology will lead to precision in structuring matter. 3D printing will lead to precision in structuring parts. The range of technologies for either 3D printing or nanotechnology is agreeably beyond our imaginations and is in the hands of future generations. But we can give them a good foundation. And on that note, sustainable energy and general electronics innovations could shift from scarce to common materials or new easily accessible materials if these materials could be made with nanotechnology and/or 3D.
Micro Gears Fabricated by a 3D printer


Virtual Reality is how I was introduced into nanotechnology back 1990 when I learned that future students could develop chemistry skills by manipulating atoms and molecules in a virtual reality world interfaced with a nano-manipulator. Robotics also fit in well with Nanotechnology because Nanobots are a noteworthy topic in any generalized nanotechnology discussion. The applications range from medicine to toys/gaming to self-repairing electronics.

In terms of Medical Technology, nanoscale, atomically precise devices could be used to read and synthesize DNA. There are cancer treatments using nanotechnology and CES start ups had several physicians touting their ideas. Nanotechnology could be used in any of computer systems or other electronic devices of autonomous vehicles or unprecedented composites could be designed with nano-manipulators.

Planning tools.

Based on my experiences, I would like to give some advice as to how to plan:

• Register several months before the actual event so you can plan way ahead, research and ask as many questions before you actually attend...which leads to…
• …80% of your plans being for naught at your first year of attendance. You cannot possibly conceive how big CES is and how being one of 100,000 people will impact your plans. However some plans are better than no plans.
• Bring business cards. If you can afford it, have information kits that might include some thumb drives to distribute that have your presentations or videos. You can also post online, and put your URL on your business cards. If you don't have a website, you should have a website before you go to CES.
• I recommend you try to stay at one venue per day and not waste your valuable time traveling between venues. Bring snacks that you can carry, like bars; you probably won't want to stop to eat. Eat a hearty early Breakfast, and get ready not to eat till dinner time. Remember, you will be in Las Vegas where the variety, quality and quantity of food cannot be exceeded, but you will not have access to this during the CES day.
• Don't assume you will learn a lot of science and technical details at CES for much of the questions you will want to ask will be proprietary. The big companies do not send their scientists and engineers. The best you can find is an Engineer/Program Manager. The start-ups will have their coders and developers there. Some of the medical start-ups have the doctors who conceptualized their products. Be prepared to be part of their marketing research.
• Government entities have a presence, including but not limited to FCC, FAA, TSA, FBI etc. I just read a BBC article about the FAA declarations on current drone technology, and I had heard all of this at CES.

If this article does generate interest in CES, I would be happy to answer any other questions in the Fall or early Winter, and potentially write another pre-CES article that would address all the answers and concerns for those who might attend CES in 2016.

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