CES 2015

You should probably go to other tech websites for all the details but I’m using my own blog to jot down my thoughts. (I will update this post with each passing day of CES 2015)

Day 1

Apparently I stayed in the most boring area today, the first area of the convention center. This is only day 1 and I really think I need all 5 days to see everything. Here’s an Imgur album with pics I took with a potato

Mostly 4K TVs, cheap phones and tablets, none are very impressive, most didn’t even do 1080p. This would be the first time I tried any “Google Glass” competitors, and they are garbage, the images are too small for any general use, but might be good for specific situations, just not general life use.

Intel and Qualcomm had some really impressive stuff. Qualcomm impressed me a bit with the Snapdragon, demoing some gaming capabilities. Intel had some cool wireless charging demo that is supposedly better than the Qi that I am used to, supporting more than one device at a time with a huge charging surface. They also showed off their 3D camera technology (RealSense, it can do what a 3D scanner and Leap Motion does)that they are putting into consumer tablets, I really want one now, they demoed it with 3D printed stuff out of a Lulzbot TAZ 4.

Plenty of cameras all over the place. Polaroid is selling cameras with built-in printers. I learned an insane amount of stuff about lenses and stuff from the Nikon and Canon exhibits. Sony has really impressive image stabilization, no lag, and also an impressive autofocus (4D Focus) that tracks objects in 3D space and predicts its next position to preemptively autofocus to the object as it moves.

No-glasses 3D TVs seem like they are practical now, if you have the 3D content and money. I also tested out some game stream services to specifically test their lag and input prediction, and it feels pretty bad, the lag isn’t that bad but the prediction will be very noticeable.

I saw sooooo many “dancing water speakers” and I really want a set for my Aquarium PC, it would be the perfect match.

Nyko stole my idea, they are releasing a HDD dock for the PS4. I was going to 3D print my own after this trip. My boss told me that Nyko would be all over products like that.

There are also a lot of distributors that made me feel like walking into a live DealExtreme store, or even more accurately, some generic marketplace in China. Sooooo many generic headphones, phone chargers, HDMI switches…

IOGear has some really cool gaming devices coming up. I would totally trade my Logitech G700s for IOGear’s wired-wireless combo gaming mouse. They really do have some great product ideas.

I could’ve played some upcoming PS4 games but I really didn’t want to, I actually try to avoid spoilers for games. I didn’t even know that TLoU was a zombie game until the day I got it. But I am really excited for Until Dawn. Also I am definitely subscribing to Playstation Vue when it becomes available.

I paid attention to a lot of different remote controls. Sony’s got one that has really impressive voice command recognition, even in a noisy show floor, it uses Bluetooth and lasts a really long time using 3x AAA batteries. There was another Android media box with the remote stacked onto the box itself, it looked great and it featured a touchpad but they couldn’t bare the cost of adding a charging mechanism for it, which was a huge disappointment.

Day 2

Sooo much walking. I covered almost all of South Hall, and part of North Hall, and also a bit of the semiconductor booths outside.

Saw many drones today, and now I really want a Hubsan and Parrot. Also realized that Parrot (of the AR Drone fame) now makes flower pots. DJI was jam packed, showing off their new Inspire One. Qualcomm’s Octo-X-copter-tank wasn’t working when I saw it.

I really wanted to see G-Sync in action but Nvidia was busy showing off Tegra inside cars, and BenQ didn’t bring any G-Sync capable monitors. The DisplayPort booth had FreeSync on demo and I do notice a difference.

Razor is making cool stuff, although I like everything that involves wireless charging docks, and Razor is on top of that.

NXP’s security (as in, computer security) is really keeping up. They are behind Google’s USB multi-factor-authentication, which, in my own opinion, is better than Intel’s multi-factor implementation (TrueKey) that they are demoing.

The Monoprice 3D printer seemed pretty nice, dual extruder, full metal frame, heated bed, $1000.

Madcatz didn’t show off anything interesting like Nyko did. Disappointing. But a company called Snail is making something that looks like a PS Vita and has a 3D screen like the 3DS, and it adjusts the 3D depth using facial tracking, it was a nice device but a bit big and the shoulder buttons sucked.

The same company also has a beefy console, it was about the same size as the current gen consoles, built out of aluminum, had easily removable HDDs, and ran the same 3D games on 3D capable TVs. They have balls going with that product. Qualcomm Snapdragon is definitely leading the mobile gaming people (Nvidia was very focused on cars instead), if the games were AAA quality then I would probably try them out.

Razer showed off their open source virtual reality goggles, which was a lens, a phone screen (they don’t tell you it’s a phone screen but it is obvious), and a Leap Motion glued to the front of it. The demo ran at a low frame rate. In comparison, some no-name Chinese company was showing off a dirt cheap kit consisting of just the lenses and a phone holder, and demoed with a pre-rendered video, which ran at high frame rate, it was a much better demo experience.

The car audio area is LOUD.

The floating speaker still didn’t demo the speaker while floating, but when I asked whether or not floating affects sound quality, they claimed that it sounds better while floating.

There is a big war between three different wireless charging standards. Specifically, Qi vs A4WP (Rezence), with Qi defending single small coil and large-area-multiple-coil solutions, and A4WP defending large-area-single-coil solutions.

Day 3

I spent the whole day at the Sands. It’s the best! All the wacky stuff are there, like 3D printers, and weird technologies.

I spent a lot of time chatting with different 3D printer people, and it was great seeing some exotic filaments in action. I am really excited about the next 3Doodler. Proto-Pasta gave me a sample of their conductive filament. I am also excited about Voxel8 but it is way too expensive.

Various dual extrusion printers caught my eye but the most exciting is the machine that injected plain filament with colour dye as it prints, a much more elegant solution in my opinion, but it can’t do stuff like dissolvable filaments. (near the XYZprinting booth)

There are a lot of Chinese 3D printer companies targeting low cost huge build volume users. Print quality is crap, I don’t know why they even have their prints on display.

Form1+ and other SLA printers are cool to see but the prints are still really brittle.

3D printed food looks delicious.

I also spent time with various sensor companies, eye tracking, biometric security, and LiFi. Some of these companies shat bricks when they saw my Sony badge. There are a lot of BT low energy tracker stuff too, I even got a TrackR.

I got to touch the levitating speaker, once it falls off, it is almost impossible to get it levitating again. I swear there was a line up of people trying to put it back up.

There were some crazy HMI stuff. There was a demo (Ultrahaptics) with an array of 100 ultrasound transducers that was able to make you feel stuff while you hover your hand over them. Another cool thing was one of those pens that can draw in 3D, but it also featured very realistic force feedback, it is old tech but first time I’ve tried it. There was a mouse that had a tilt function but that didn’t feel too good to use.

A few companies were demoing electrical impulse detection on the muscles that can wiggle your ears (even if you cannot wiggle your ears, you can learn to control those muscles and send the signals), but the demo wasn’t working when I wanted to try them 🙁

Day 4

I woke up super early and used the fact that my “Exhibitor” badge to get in early. Intel has a demo of their RealSense camera and they will 3D scan your head and laser etch it into a crystal in 3D for free, they usually run out of crystals before lunch because it is so popular and slow, hence why I made sure I got there super early on the last day. I am really excited about RealSense, because soon I can basically buy a tablet with this camera that doubles as a 3D scanner.

Some friends came over to CES and I met up with them for lunch and checked out the show with them in the afternoon. I’ve already seen everything, but I still had fun. We played beer pong against a robotic arm and I actually scored a point for the human race.

Voltera won the TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield. It is a circuit board printer that prints conductive ink onto materials to form PCBs at home for rapid prototyping. My friend started that project as a fourth year design project, I’ve seen the printer in its very first stages and I’m very excited about how far it has come.


I gathered a lot of brochure and business cards. Here are the ones I didn’t throw away. Listed in no particular order, randomly drawn out of a large bag that I put them in.

Miraisens Inc. 3D Haptics Technology

I didn’t try this. Claims to give haptic feedback in 3D space, giving you feelings like force (squeezing, pulling, pinching), pressure (hard and soft objects), tactile (smooth and rough surfaces).

SPEC Sensors

Gas sensors for wearables. Can detect CO, H2S, No2, O3, SO2, and Ethanol. Dev kit discount, $175 for CES attendees.


Wireless (Bluetooth) proximity lock for computer log-in.

Paper Battery Co.

Not really paper, not really batteries, they make really thin supercapacitors. Not really flexible but can be manufactured to a specific bend.

Spark, Autodesk

Another “cloud” 3D printing platform.

They misspelled “Ultimaker” as “Ultimake” on their info card.

Probably heavily tied with Voxel8.

Hi WiFi

Apparently they can use WiFi signals to detect motion. They seemed to have a demo running but I couldn’t tell what the demo is actually showing me. Probably because there was too much motion at the show. I look forward to trying this out in a private environment.

Vixar Inc.

They make some sort of vertical laser LED on silicon that combines the advantages of laser diodes and plain LEDs. Narrow spectrum, Optical power from 50mW to >10W, High efficiency, Low speckle, 680 to 850nm wavelengths.


They demoed a rather large array of ultrasound transducers that was able to make me feel stuff on my hand. Could be a good replacement for vibration motors as haptic feedback in certain situations.

QuickLogic, ArcticLink and Sensor Hub

A chip that does fusion algorithms on a bunch of different compatible sensors (inertial, photonic, environmental, wellness, etc). Has a ARM core for the fusion engine, communicates with host via SPI. Has a programmable fabric.

eyetech Digital Systems, eye tracking on a chip

Eye tracking, I tried it, it works. Would buy if I had a use for it or if software support was wide.

Apollo, small Arduino thingy with a bunch of sensors and interfaces and screen

A shit-ton of sensors, WiFi, BT, GPS, uSD, batt-mgmnt, OLED 128×64 screen, trackball input, audio mic, runs ARM chip from the Arduino Due.

Their URL on the info card didn’t work…

Intel TrueKey

Multifactor authentication, claims to eliminate passwords. Subscription business model. Tied with McAfee. Involves facial recognition and other methods.

The facial recognition seems to be able to reject attempts to fool it during the demo but I am still skeptical. I had to ask specifically for the guy at the booth to try fooling it, and he didn’t put a lot of effort into the attack.

Early access URL: http://truekey.com/r/ces2015, 12 months premium free.

Not targetted towards people like me, somebody who prefers passwords and also uses pre-boot authentication on fully encrypted systems.

JP Sensor

They make sensors, advertising capacitive sensors, fingerprint sensors, etc. Seems to be focused on secure mobile payment systems.

Touch 3D stylus, 3DSYSTEMS

The demo is really good, and I mean really really good, it really feels like you are “sculpting” the object. I think a “virtual dremel” would be great.

From the people who make the Cube line of 3D printers. I don’t like the Cube, mainly because they use a proprietary filament cartridge that has a chip that tracks the filament so you cannot refill it yourself.

clio, invisible speaker, ClearView Audio

It works, looks nice. I want to see if I can make one myself.


Cube shaped power strip, some models have USB, some models can be securely mounted. They look nice. Seems like a good idea.


3D printing pen. Their second generation blows their first gen and other competitors out of the water. It is a preorder on Kickstarter at the moment.

DKTEK Innovations and Wave Chip Technologies (URL currently not working)

The guy who talked to me was super enthusiastic, telling me about “The Wave Chip”. “The Vibration Wave Charger is a revolutionary technology using proprietary vibration emissions with our compatible chipset to wirelessly charge. With a single vibration charger and compatible chipsets, up to 8 devices can be charged simultaneously supporting 35 watts per device at a range of 15 feet.”

No idea how it works.

Their mobile media server is a great idea, it has a power bank and WiFi repeater built-in. Seems like a great combo device.


“The Mark One is the world’s only composite 3D printer capable of reinforcing parts with continuous carbon fiber, Kevlar®, and fiberglass.”

The printed models were super strong.

Imprint Energy

Thin flexible rechargable zincPoly batteries


Energy harvesting from motion. It’s not MEMS, so the size is comparable to something in a self-winding watch.


Individual room temperature control, accomplished with multiple air vent covers, and multiple sensors.

Carbon Flyer

Paper airplane made of carbon fiber and can be remote controlled by Bluetooth and has video recording (not sure on live video feedback).

Currently on IndieGoGo. Partnered with Trident Design LLC, who seems to be a company specializing in crowdfunding… I’m not a fan of this trend.

Blocks Wearables LTD

Intelligent blocks that can connect together to make a customisable modular smartwatch. They were at the Intel booth where Intel was also showing off RealSense and 3D printing. I had a fun chat with them about the connectors and communcation between the blocks. Could be fun.

superMHL, MHL Consortium

Cable and signalling that can do 8K at 120 FPS using USB type-C with 48-bit colour depth.


Simply a block of several RGB squard LED matrix arrays, shows you stuff, metrics like number of notifications. Looks cool. Makers can definitely make their own, I only list them here to inspire makers.

3M ePrivacy Filter

Uses a webcam to detect people looking at your computer screen over your shoulder.

Linear Dimensions Semiconductor

Makes sensors. Some ECG and EEG stuff, sort of focused on the health/bio side of wearables. I should ask for a eval kit.

BLUEWIRE hands free call recording

Basically a Bluetooth headset that records phone calls from both parties. Simple idea, decent hardware. Will be on IndieGoGo

VKANSEE Technology Inc

Fingerprint sensors, thin (for phones) and harder to defeat. Seems to be able to output really high detailed images.

a bit more rambling

The Hoover Dam is pretty cool, but a 2 hour tour feels too short, if you go, get a tour longer than 2 hours if you like taking pictures and reading information.

The Blue Man Group has an amazing performance. Penn and Teller is also great, but they are better if you are not already a fan, because I’ve seen some of the same acts a few years ago on the internet.

The best songs at the fountain in front of the Bellagio are Michael Jackson songs, I feel that the water jets were choreographed much better because of Michael Jackson’s dance moves.

The Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay is VERY humid, don’t forget to bring a towel, you will sweat. I got a glow-in-the-dark glass octopus thingy from the gift shop to put in my Aquarium Computer.

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