CES Report 2012: A Glimpse of the Future

Posted: February 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

In previous Friday Emails we’ve talked about augmented reality, facial recognition and a variety of other technologies that can enhance advertising and retail. Whenever we talk about these kinds of gadgets, we can’t help but think of Minority Report but just how far away are we from seeing Spielberg’s dark vision of 2054 become a reality? We decided to compare some of the blockbuster’s most iconic technology to some of today’s latest and greatest pieces of tech unveiled at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show. If you want to know a bit more with regards to what CES is all about, check out this infographic.

Multi-Touch Displays:


Tom Cruise flicking screens images across screens without touching anything is surely one of the most iconic moments in Minority Report.

The iPhone put this power into anyone’s hands, allowing just about everybody with fingers to flick images about a screen just like Tom. If the iPhone seems a little low-tech compared to the screens from the blockbuster, a group of MIT students managed to recreate the screen’s palm and finger detecting capabilities using a Kinect gaming peripheral back in 2010, check out the video – even Spielberg would be impressed!

With the new line of TV’s LG unveiled at this year’s CES, soon we’ll all be using gesture control for pedestrian tasks like turning up the TV.

Augmented Reality:
Again, mobile devices and their apps have put this power into the hands of the masses (as anyone with a smartphone who visited a Starbucks last Christmas would know).

Soon, we’ll be able to enjoy this technology (as it helps keep us safer) in our cars. Pioneer exhibited their new augmented reality Head’s Up Display at CES – a system that will soon be used to simplify navigation and keep us all safer on the roads.

Retina Scanners:


A sci-fi staple, used for opening doors, starting cars and identifying individuals.

Although it may be some time yet before we can all open our front doors with a wink and a smile, the military are currently using hand-held retina scanners to create digital signatures of terrorism suspects as unique as fingerprints that can quickly and easily be accessed and checked across databases.

Having said that, eye-tracking technology  can now be implemented in simple gaming, it won’t be long till we’re typing and moving mouse pointers with nothing more than our eyes.

Intelligent Billboards:
Used in another stand-out scene from the thriller, Cruise walks through a shopping mall and is hounded by intelligent billboards enquiring whether he’s satisfied with a recent purchase of some tank-tops or if he wants to buy an umbrella.

We’ve already talked about the Japanese intelligent vending machines in a previous Friday Email. These machines can suggest products based upon users’ age and sex as well as the time of day and even the temperature.

Finally, one of the most astounding and futuristic products to be shown at this year’s CES was Samsung’s Smart Window. It’s a window, a web browser, a TV, a recipe book, all rolled into one, you can even tweet from it – whilst this may not sound all that impressive, it has incredible potential when combined with some other emerging technologies.

Picture this: You’re walking down the street and stop to look in a shop window, you spot a t-shirt you like. Without your knowledge, eye-mapping software detects where your retinas are pointed and sends a signal to a body-scanning  camera. Suddenly what you thought was just a piece of glass displays an augmented reality image of yourself wearing that same snazzy t-shirt so you can see exactly how it fits. A few taps and pokes of the wonder-glass later and your t-shirt will be waiting for you when you get home. Window shopping redefined.

Who knows what you’ll be reading the Friday Email on by next year’s CES or what we’ll be writing it on – probably a slab of intelligent concrete or a smart cereal box. It feels like we’re catching up to 2054 faster than Cruise himself could run.

All the best for the weekend,

Happy Friday

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