CES: Day 3
About six years ago, CES introduced what they called Eureka Park. This was a small area set off for start-ups and entrepreneurs, some with products that maybe would one day hit the market though most wouldn’t get much farther than Eureka Park. It was laid out across three small rooms. Today, it’s a huge part of the exhibition at the Sands Expo, the facility that complements the main Las Vegas Convention Center, taking over much of the lower level. It feels a bit like a flea market, with narrow aisles, crowds trying to jam their way through, and vendors hawking their wares trying to get your attention. It’s also a lot of fun. It’s also grown to include contingents from countries around the world. While most of the companies still won’t see the light of day, many of the foreign contingents feature vendors who have a footprint back at home and are trying to expand, and I’ve come across some of the others in the marketplace. (Every once in a while, a few will show up on the TV show Shark Tahnk, and even get a deal.)
I decided to spend a a bit more time at Eureka Park this year than in the past. I didn’t make it all the way through on my first trip there, dividing time between it and the largest “main room” upstairs — which is massive and dwarfs Eureka Park. (By the way, not only is this main room massive — though very congenial with especially-wide aisles and fewer people — but it’s got the most convoluted layout in which I regularly get lost and struggle to find my way back to the exit doors. Really. It’s sometimes taken me 15-20 minutes to orient myself and find my way out. But this year I had a brilliant idea. And I swear this is true. I brought my compass from my days as it regular wilderness hiker and working for the California Park Service! This let me set my bearings on arrival and made it a breeze to find my way out. Honest. Was it necessary? Of course not. Did it make things easier and more fun. Absolutely.)
As always, in no special order, here are some of the products that caught my interest at Eureka Park.
Heat box is from Holland, and at heart it’s a lunch box. But it’s a self-heating lunch box which allows you to warm up your food and have a hot lunch! It’s wireless, and you add water to the lower area, which you then cover with a metal plate. The water is heater, and essentially you’re steaming the food. So, the only kind of food they don’t recommend it for are things that would normally be crispy. They expect to be in production in Mark.
Younglingz is basically carry-on luggage on wheels, meant for families with small children. The luggage is sort of L-shaped, which creates a sitting area you little kid can sit on, as you wheel it along. Sort of a combination stroller-suitcase. They expect to have them for sale in April-May, and will sell them for $150.
CodeIllusion is a remarkable, very mature product to teach children computer coding (or adults who want to learn). But this isn’t intended to pique a child’s interest, but for those who really seem to love this sort of thing already, because it’s very expensive, around $1,900. But it’s tremendous. The Japanese company has partnered with Disney, and it uses the library of Disney animated films to guide the user through 125 half-hour lessons. Movies like Frozen, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pinocchio and many, many more. It’s elegantly designed and it walks the student through with clips, provides the code for that sequence and then and then explains what it wants you to change. Seriously impressive, seriously expensive.
PeriPage is a tiny portable, inkless printer. About the size of two packs of cigarettes. It uses small rolls of thermal paper and lets you print out photos, documents and labels, The results aren’t laser printer-clear, but fine for its purposes. And being thermal paper, this isn’t meant for things intended as keepsakes, since the results will only last about 10 years, but that’s likely more than long enough for most purposes, which is that you’re away from home and want something printed out right away.
Beyond Eureka Park, I also made it to Showstoppers, which is the other of my two favorite evening events. Lots of vendors there, filling up the ballroom. A couple of companies particularly struck my interest --
The product from Tanvas isn't intended for consumer sale, but is intended for manufacturers. They make "tactile" software (using what's know as haptics) that companies can use in their own products. What I found most interesting is an application they're developing for cars. With most new cars moving away from buttons and dials and onto touchscreen dashboards, that makes it difficult for drivers to know exactly what they're accessing without looking over, which is not always a great thing when driving. However, by giving the dashboard icons a "tactile" feel, a driver will be able to sense what icons they're accessing without checking it out.
I can't tell you if ResQ works as they claim. That's out of my expertise, and the product was only released this week. But if it does work as they insist, it's wonderful. The intent is to allow a user to immediately regain use of their computer after getting hit by a damaging virus or when your system has been blocked by ransonware. The way that ResQ owners described their product, you hit the "Protect" button on their device (connected to your computer), it downloads an image of your computer hard drive while knowing to avoid any virus/ransomware there), and you can them boot your system from this now-external drive. And you can then upload this clean version back onto your computer hard drive. If it works as promised, it's a great thing.
Still more to come from Eureka Park, the Sands and did the Las Vegas Convention Center, but that requires more rambling and note taking, so...onward....
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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