I got back from CES with an eye infection and some sort of stomach bug. There’s a cost when testing out VR/AR in a public environment with PR people who don’t wipe everything down every time with alcohol. I tested a decent amount of VR and it’s getting really good, and pinkeye-y.

Got back to 17 degrees, snow and ice, daycare not bothering to inform me they no longer have space for my 4yo during school-out situations, and that’s where we’re writing at today.

So… CES can probably be best summed up as everything from last year plus Alexa or Google Assistant integration. I had a couple of wow moments, but most of the products I saw were last year’s stuff plus something slightly better. That’s kind of disheartening.

Some of the stuff that was amazing

Ultra D by streamTV

A company (Ultra D?) has made a glasses-free 3D TV that looks right. I’ve been massively unimpressed with most of these offerings, but the Ultra D by streamTV demo looked like I was looking into a box that was about six feet deep, and I did not notice zones that I had to keep my head in.

Don’t know what it costs, but this is something I’d plunk money down on if I wanted a 3D box.

I saw other 3D TVs that were touting higher resolution/FPS/etc but they all had zones I had to keep my head in.

myCharge

While it may sounds like I’m a shill for myCharge, I genuinely dig the chargers. They last, I give them away, I don’t have weird problems with them, and myCharge has fed me before.

MyCharge all powerful

While the idea of a portable wireless charger seems a bit silly to me still, they’re releasing a portable wireless charger that recharges wirelessly and you can also charge a device on top of it while it’s wireless charging. I’d make an Inception reference except that’s layers and this is in series so more Human Centipede.

They also have a 20,000mAh charger they call the All Powerful coming out. I believe there’s a version currently, but this one has wireless, 120 volt AC out off of the battery, 1xUSB-C 2xUSB-A and a display to tell you what’s charging.

I don’t recall the wattage, but it seemed sufficient for gaming/TVs if I remember correctly.

Wireless charging in general

Introduced and thought of by many as a gimmick, it’s a gimmick with some price tag savings these days as no more broken charging ports, fewer chances for water entry, etc. I forget what sold me on it, seriously this was a long and tiring trip, but it’s time for it one everything.

Skip assembly, call it STEM

I saw several do-it yourself kits aimed at kids to build your own Pi/Arduino entertainment system. One was press in, the other involved soldering, both seemed to be something that if you were to that level probably the games you were going to be playing would seem backwards.

Let’s shut off that water remotely now

There’re several $700-900 (including professional install) water shutoff, and smart flow monitors out there. Most require a plumber or someone willing to wire something in and then a yearly subscription to a low-data-use cell service. Now there’s a google-integrated version that uses a sensor you clip on a pipe and a small battery-powered motor to close most standard shutoff valves for under $200. Can I point you to that company? Sadly no.

Touchpad entry

Yeah it’s been around a while, manufacturers figured that since you can usually tell what 4 keys were pressed  just by looking at the dirt to set up a thing where you unlock the keypad by pressing some random numbers that light up.

Truly wireless earbuds

My favorite earbuds got bought out by Will.i.am while I was inbound. He evidently has the same taste in audio hardware. I was looking forward to playing with the M2s pre-release, but meh. Another time.

Brands I was impressed by

iHome had a lot of small things I liked. Check out their site and I think you’ll see a few “oh, that’s probably awesome”  things soon enough.

TCL’s new line of TVs was amazing. I really don’t know how to describe their QLED offerings this year except looks great and I think they attached an assistant which is cool but the picture, man it was amazing. Like throw away all my scruples and shill as hard as possible for them level of amazing looking. No really TCL, send me some of that.

Aflac. They’ve got a robot duck companion for kids with cancer. Not really consumer electronic, not really related, just was impressed at what they’ve done even if it’s a duck furby.

Full sized electric helicopter/drone thingies for two passengers.

Things that left me… uhhhhh

Empty booth with poster “want to get pregnant? Try me.mum” – no, I’ll skip your mum…

There was a booth that claimed to be saving trees by eliminating post-it-notes with an electronic version aimed at the elderly. This was about the size of two post-its, connected so you could send messages to it, lasted about two months on a charge, and had to have a wireless contract that was paid for by a $50 a year subscription to the thing. Large print on it was still pretty small. System had to be set up with a computer or smartphone.

While that product wasn’t terrible it was just all over the place (it’s not going to save a tree due to the energy required to produce it, the work being wasted to pay for it, etc)

I went to a blockchain and VR industry event. I was thinking those two things went together like peanut butter and a 76 Buick roadmaster. I was not wrong. There was a brief presentation that left me confused even more as to why someone put the two together. Both were good buzzwords I guess.

Everything seems to be claiming it was AI… most weren’t.

Things… I’m not sure about

A company called iQiyi, which is the Chinese Netflix evidently, showed me an 8K dual-screen VR headset. Not sure about this as pretty sure the source was no more than 720p viewable at any point.

Some of the reports I read indicated that heavy rain was present. Coming from Tennessee I never saw rain past “meh, don’t want to be in that”. I think the main issue is Vegas just can’t handle the rain. I was getting rained on in the convention center on a fairly regular basis. I walked around with a hat and my shoulders got a little wet but meh.

More later