One of the fun parts about living here in Las Vegas is the fact that just about every trade and industry has an annual trade show here in town. With out a doubt the Consumer Electronics Show is the largest convention of the year. It's so big that it generates over 150 million dollars in non-gaming revenue for the city, and this year attracted over 3,000 companies, 153,000 attendees, and launched over 20,000 new products.
I spent a day and a half traversing the halls of the show which took up the same space as 30 football fields, over a million square feet! I stopped by a few booths to chat with company's that I knew were using SolidWorks, and ended up running into lots more customers who as soon as they saw my SolidWorks shirt proceeded to tell me how much they love using SolidWorks, and explaining to me how they used it to design their product. Here are a few of the cool tech items I saw at the show, some of which I wouldn't mind having in my own home!
The MakerBot Replicator by MakerBot
3D Printers have been around for years but in the last few years the push has been to make them more affordable so that everyone can buy one. The MakerBot is a cool little printer that is extremely affordable and stands out from it's competitors in the DIY market with one huge advantage, it can print dual colors! MakerBot debuted their 'Dualstrusion' version at CES and pretty much captivated the 3D printer industry part of the show. The dual color printing is what sets their product apart from the other printers in this range of the market. These guys have used SolidWorks to design many of the parts of their product, and chatting with them you simply get the feeling these guys love what they do! You can check them out here: MakerBot Industries
Urban Green Energy
A few years ago at SolidWorks World there was a similar device on display that allows a house to generate energy via wind. These guys have brought to market a system that you can custom order and then have installed at your house to generate electricity from wind. You can either choose a battery type of system that stores energy, or a system that will power your house and sell extra energy back to the power company. I didn't know this company used SolidWorks, but when I stopped to chat with them the first thing they mentioned was SolidWorks and how they used it to optimise the shape of the fins, and to also study the structural integrity of the system as well. I briefly chatted with them about SolidWorks Sustainability and they were pretty excited to look into it so they could find out of they could make their green product, even greener! You can check them out here: Urban Green Energy
Car companies are getting more and more into tech these days. Smartphones have paved the way for smart cars now. One of the big trends at the show on the automotive side was 'apps for cars'. No they don't mean playing angry birds on the windshield of the car, that might get a bit distracting! Mercedes was showing off a prototype system that is basically a windshield size heads up display. As you drive past a business you simply make a hand swiping motion and on the display an information window will come up showing reviews of the place, menus, and it will also allow you to make a reservation. Of course one of the on lookers asked how distracting that will be to the driver, and the BMW rep simply replied, by the time this is out on the marker, cars will be driving themselves! Here is another picture of their concept car:
There is so much mobile industry products at CES it's easy to get overwhelmed. One of the stand out company's was Case Mate who was launching a new iPhone case called the Phantom. The case is a two material injection molded cover that is designed to make your iPhone pretty much destruction proof. The idea was to create a case that's both durable and affordable. Case Mate had so much confidence in the case that one of their sales guys spent 4 days at the show repeatedly dropping his phone over and over to show how sturdy the case was. And yes, they use SolidWorks to design their products as well. I was speaking with one of the design engineers who told me they use a sketch program to mock up the design of a new case, and then when they are ready to make a final design that works, they put sketch pictures into SolidWorks and design away. Pretty cool stuff from a company that loves their products. Find out more about them here: Case Mate
3D Tv's have been at CES for some years now, but this year seems to be a break out year for them. With glasses free 3D Tv's being displayed by Sony, and passive 3D Tv's being displayed by everyone, there simply was no way to avoid them! LG seems to have stole the show with their awesome display at their booth:
And you thought your dual 30" monitors were cool huh? I have a 3D Tv in my house and it uses the active shutter glasses which require batteries. The passive system is the same thing you would encounter when you go see a 3D movie in a theatre. The Tv companies seem to have figured it out quite well, and I would say that 3D Tv's are pretty much ready for prime time!
Of course if having a 3D Tv simply isnt cutting edge enough for you, then OLED is for you! How about a 55" Tv that is 4mm thick (A little less then 3/16 of an inch) and weighs 16 pounds?
Here are some pictures of the Samsung model:
Can you spot the Tv in this side shot?
Rumored price tag is said to be around $10,000, but once you see the picture you'll want one. And who wouldn't want a tv you could hang on your wall with velcro!
The CES show is an industry show only meaning it's closed to the general public. But if you have connections into the industry this is definitely a show to attend some day. You'll simply be amazed at whats out there!