I had the privilege of walking miles and miles of show floor at CES 2013 in Las Vegas this past week, looking for solutions for Northwest University as well as ideas to share in my Tech Roadshow sessions and classes. Some impressions follow:
This was a pretty decent show: better than the previous year or two. TVs have been big for a while (in multiple senses of the word). 3D is still on display, but not as much as previous years. The stress now seems to be on quality: OLED, and UltraHD (4K etc.). Impressive, but probably not of great importance to me/us, at least until it trickles down into affordable territory.
Something else that was pretty prevalent was the whole 3D printing scene: many vendors and options here. Makerbot, one of the pioneers in terms of "affordable" printing, was well represented (http://www.makerbot.com/) and the Replicator 2x looked great. I was impressed with the 3D Systems CubeX printer (http://cubify.com/cube/) which starts at about $1300. I expect these to change many aspects of our lives, especially as prices decrease and materials improve. I think we're going to see a major revolution in years to come, as we print many items ourselves instead of running to the store to buy them.
A lot of stuff was happening in the wireless and home automation world. Besides the Belkin WeMo (http://www.belkin.com/us/wemo), which I spotted at Costco recently, the Iris system available from Lowe's (http://www.lowes.com/cd_Iris_239939199_) was impressive. Some real potential for affordable energy efficiency and remote monitoring and control of home systems.
The items of greatest potential impact I spotted were the new Fujitsu ix500 ScanSnap (http://scanners.fcpa.fujitsu.com/scansnap11/iX500.html) and the Improv Electronics Boogie Board Sync (press release info at http://www.improvelectronics.com/us/en/CES2013/media.html, otherwise not yet on their website, but google search for boogie board sync). The Fujitsu scanner has internal processing to output pdf files, and can do this wirelessly to your iOS or Android device. It is superb in being a quick (25 pages/minute, double-sided) scanner which handles a lot of different sizes and formats without complex setup. I'm excited to see how this could assist us in moving to a paperless system - maybe I can get my office cleared! (For some ideas on how to do this, using EverNote as an engine and repository, check out http://lifehacker.com/5973033/how-i-turned-three-years-of-paper-into-a-highly-organized-searchable-document-database-in-two-days. This article uses the Doxie scanners, but the Fujitsu would do even better.)
I think that the Boogie Board Sync has phenomenal potential for our classrooms, and probably for a number of other contexts. This is a very light and easy to use LCD pad, which can function in the classroom like a wireless affordable Smart Board/ whiteboard alternative, at a cost of about $100. This is one of those things that I could probably describe at length to no great avail, but when you try it for yourself you'll see its potential. Very excited about this. I love my iPad, but for handling note taking and projection of such, this is incredible.
There was all sorts of other stuff, and as I process the sensory overload I may add more info. In the meantime, though, I'm excited about getting this stuff working for us.