The Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, gets underway in Las Vegas. The week-long show brings together about 175,000 companies demonstrating their latest gadgets, many of which aren't available to the public yet.
I've been covering it for 6 years and every year I walk away from nearly every booth saying "I didn't know I wanted something like that". This year robots and home entertainment are in the spotlight.
"Buddy" is an entertainment and assistance for the home. He's about 2 feet tall and acts as a robotic butler. Jean-Michel Mourier of the company Blue-Frog worked on the concept for 3 years.
"It will go online and answer questions. The kids can play with the robot, for instance red-light-green-light." He says the robot can keep the kids entertained for hours and even learns their name and what they look like. "Thanks to the wheels and the head, he can go find someone in the house," he said.
So if you're wondering if your kid really did clean his room, you can say "Go find (your child's name) and buddy will roll to wherever he is and you can see the room through one of Buddy's cameras on your smartphone. He isn't available in the U.S right now but when he is later this year it'll cost around $1,500.
I was also blown away by a home entertainment system called MirraViz. It's a highly technical video screen for projectors.
"It's 100-200 times brighter than a standard projector screen," says inventor David Jiang. "It's called multi-view. It allows multiple people looking at one screen; entirely different content on the same surface."
Jiang demonstrated by having me stand behind one projector and looking at the screen. I was watching a DVD of a program about flowers, but when I moved a few feet away and stood behind another projector I was watching the movie "Toy Story". On the same screen! It was amazing.
The magic is in the screen but the company sells projectors as well. A 55-inch MirraViz screen is available now and costs $500. Jiang told me you can buy one up to 95-inches.
The 55-inch screen I saw can handle up to 6 projectors, more than enough for most families to watch whatever everyone wants to watch whether it's the same show or not. No more fighting over the remote.
CES officially begins Tuesday but there are invitation-only shows for sneak peeks at some of the products. That's how I'll be spending the week; seeing things I didn't know I needed.
- CES Day 1: Robo-butlers and multi-view displays
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