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This year Showstoppers hosted two events in conjunction with CES, the first was a “Shark Tank”-like event entitled “Launch It.” Note that Mark Cuban was at CES, but that was at the Samsung press event and he had nothing to do with "Launch It." The event's mission is to try to find the most investment-worthy new startups. It was an interesting event, following is the announcement regarding the winners. After listening to the various presentations, I have to agree that these were perhaps the most exciting. They are:
- First place: Touchjet - A precise touch-enabled pico projector, with a built-in Android OS that transforms any empty wall into interactive 80-inch tablet.
- Second place: FINsix - A laptop adapter that is four times smaller and six times lighter than today's technology
- Third place: Chromation - The smallest, cheapest way to add reliable color measurement to your device.
If you want more information on this event, the winners, or other entries, visit www.showstoppers.com.
At the Showstoppers press event itself many exhibitors and interesting innovations were on display. Those I found to be most interesting include a full range of new laptop and tablet offerings by Lenovo and a number of decent wireless headphones. Just as with CES overall, I do not have the space to cover each of them here, but there were three that stood out: One very science fiction-like product, one piece of software, and a very simple product that you would'nt think would have a place in this list.
Let’s start with my #3: It's just a simple phone cleaner--a simple spray can of cleaner and sterilizer with a unique package that holds and dries the cleaning cloth. Too simple to cover here? Perhaps, but it works amazingly well. Check out Screen Dr. Professional.
My #2, is the latest version of the only all-in-one computer clean up and fix software I would ever use or recommend, iolo technologies System Mechanic PC optimizing software. You have all seen the advertisements on TV for various all-in-one solutions for corrupted or junked up computers. I can tell you that many of them can do more harm than good and none are really free. System Mechanic is one I have personally tested and found to work as well as having a qualified computer technician spend hours working on cleaning and optimizing your computer. The company has introduced version 12.5 which has been optimized for Windows versions up to and including 8.1. System Mechanic is widely available and I will be testing the new version soon and writing a separate review on it.
My personal #1 at Showstoppers is a very futuristic looking robot. It looks like it comes directly from an Isaac Asimov book and it is very personable and animated. As you can imagine, it got a great deal of attention. I am not sure what it will evolve into, but of all the robotic devices this is the one that got your attention.
I am now going to jump ahead and give you my pick for the CES product most likely to be the "next big thing." It is not a new phone or tablet, but a true 3D TV without glasses, and, in the near future I expect, glasses free 3D computing.
Yes, it now exists: Glasses free 3D that's spot on--excellent 3D, with no glasses, a good angle of view, no small sweet spot, the level of 3D can be controlled, and you can watch any 2D channel in 3D or DVDs, Blu-ray, or 3D Blu-ray with excellent quality.
There were a few glasses free 4K 3D or 1080p glasses free 3D technologies being shown and all of them are quantum levels better than what was out there just a year ago, but one from Stream TV Networks was absolutely amazing. I also suspect that the way it works would not require a lot of additional horsepower from a computer GPU and there seems to be no loss of brightness. There were some other impressive, but not quite ready, glasses-free offerings, but the one that is, in my opinion, ready for prime time is the one from Stream TV Networks. The company tells me their technology also works with computer monitors and with virtually any input standard--DVI, VGA, HDMI, Display Port, etc. I feel they are talking with the big GPU guys so I expect some very exciting computer-related announcements in the future. Think about watching virtually anything you wish on TV, or on your computer, from broadcast stations, streaming video, from a DVD, in movie-theater-quality 3D in bright light with no glasses, being able to increase or reduce the 3D effect as easily as you can turn audio volume up or down, or even turn off the 3D effect and then have perfect 2D if you wish, with no blur or focus issues. Do you think I was impressed? Hell yes! You can be sure I will be following this and I will keep you apprised.
In the picture to the left you can see me taking a photo of my image being shown in 3D. Of course, you can't see the 3D effect here, but I assure you it was there.
In my next column I will cover the other technologies on display and advances in 3D printing. More on robots, the Valve Steambox and what it may mean to the future of console gaming, and portable power supplies for the ever-increasing devices we carry and wear and more.
I strongly suggest that our own IPC consider having a place at the table with the CEA and have a presence at CES perhaps next year. What do you think? Let me know.