Friday, January 8, 2010

CES Day 1

Before you arrive, everyone says, "CES is overwhelming, get ready." Well, I'm here to tell you, they are right. A friend who is with the press said there are about 110,00 people. That's bigger than many small towns. Bigger than many small towns put together. Wow.

Somehow, I managed to wander onto the right buses and into the right halls for speeches, badge pick up and exhibit shmoozing. Today's post will be an overview of interesting technologies and I hope to eventually go back and dig deeper into some of them.

Today's learnings:

Ford has come out with a technology called Sync. They worked with IDEO (so excited to hear design research cited in a keynote speech!) to design an in dash and on steering wheel system that connects to the internet. You can have your tweets read to you, make a call, get directions and play music at the touch of a digital interface. Pretty cool and they say it's smarter than the manual controls so you won't have your eyes off the road as long. I know how often I stare at my iPhone screen - I'm not convinced this won't cause more accidents instead of preventing them.

It's actually easier to take notes on the iPhone rather than pull out a laptop. I guess my texting has gotten more accurate.

I had a great meeting with a start up called RememberItNow! They are in Beta with a site that assists with medication compliance, one of my favorite topics and one where I have deep knowledge. We had a really rich conversation. Interested? You can try it now for free. The Jitterbug cell-phone, originally developed with a focus on the senior market is also adding a medication reminder call and a 24 hour nurse on call to their available services.

I was given a Zeo to test out which should be great. It's a device that you wear on your forehead and it connects to a bedside device and tracks your sleep. If you aren't sleeping well, it may be able to help you figure out why. One compelling feature allows you to set the alarm for a wake up time with a one hour window (within one hour of 6.30) and it will wait to wake you until you are in a light sleep, not a deep sleep so you don't end up suffering from that type of wake up for the rest of the day. It's now almost 1 a.m. and I'm too tired to set it up!

The folks at Wellcore are working on a fall-detection, motion capture device that hopes to surpass the Life Alert and other home safety systems. They claim an advanced accelerometer, reminders to put the device on (one of the biggest issues with similar systems) and a sleeker design. The technical pieces sound good, though my design degree doesn't allow me to say their design is at all more attractive than anything on the market. I talked to an employee about objects of desire and making the fall detection piece that seniors need to wear be more attractive - something I have a great interest in improving. He regaled me with a story about a collaboration with Cartier when he was working with a different company. They designed a beautiful device and only 10% of the customers (80% of whom were women) - purchased the beautifully designed reminder. So curious to know more about why that happened!

One final note: I noticed, with fascination and concern, that many larger exhibitors (Intel, Microsoft) were making use of what looked like live Facebook, Flickr and Twitter feeds. Whether or not they were live, it made me realize how very public and available our lives are. It's not just to our friends, but potentially anyone in the entire world. It's all out there. Seeing it on a 30 foot screen just makes it that much more frightening.

Other items of note: The Que - a reader for paperwork as well as digital media, very cool antique looking devices to transfer your LPs, CDs and cassettes to MP3s, a crazy ergonomic workstation and inductive, wireless charging by Fulton.

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