Friday, January 11, 2013

Reflections on CES 2013 - part 2.

This year CES could be marked more by what was not there - than what was there. How many more years can you push 3D TV's? I have a 3D TV. I didn't buy it for that. But it is 3D capable. I believe there is only one 3D channel on Comcast. Even after all these years. And you have to switch out to a "black box" Comcast box to even receive those channels. I forget how much it costs now, but one for channel it's way too much.

So understandably, I don't even think I saw one 3D TV there. Never fear though, new TV's are arriving that your cable company won't have the bandwidth for either.

The Robotic zone was basically gone too. And for good reason. It's also a sector that failed to rise to expectations.

There was a company selling robotic mowers. But it was obviously they had never used this product in a real world environment. You know how I know? I have two of them sitting in my garage. Here and here. The company had managed to make their mower the worst of both worlds. You had to install a perimeter wire, and it had three tiny blades not much bigger than blender blades running the thing. I laughed inside when they turned it over. Mine had a normal blade, and even I am back to mowing the yard the old fashion way. Mowing in a "random" fashion (which is what they do) winds up taking a lot longer than it needs to, and misses spots all the time. It's just easier to do it the old fashion way.

I asked a lot of questions about containing the mower, and interactions with people. Because there is still some fear of this product. While there has never been an accident with these mowers, even I was always concerned that some hyper curious kid would walk up and try to touch it while it was running. People were exceedingly curious about our mower. Sometimes it almost was a spectacle. People would stop in the middle of the road to watch it.

After talking to the company for a little I could tell they had no concept of this running in a front yard. Which is weird for the US. We have both front and back yards. This became obvious after I asked if it had security bumpers that stop the mower when it encounters people.

Irobot was there with a much smaller booth. Those robotic vacuum's break down so much, I'm back to vacuuming the old way too. These items in the end turned out to be more of a hassle than they were worth. And to be quite honest, it is these two products alone that make me convinced that rechargeable cars are bullshit. The batteries pretty much fail every year or so. And they aren't cheap.

IRobot did have their remote presence bot, but even I find it chunky compared to other medical bots. Although not the worst I've seen by any measure.

The company that sold that Robotic seal was there. Which honestly made me completely lose hope. In 2008 I talked about this product in my post A Solution In Search of a Problem. I believe I first saw this product at Robonexus 2004. And the seal hasn't been updated in all that time. I honestly don't know how they are staying in business.

The only robotic company at CES that was of any interest was this one from muRata. And it wasn't because it was a robot, it was because it was able to roll on it's own and be perfectly balanced. The gentleman with the dark glasses was controlling it with that wand thing. That technology was pretty impressive.


No comments:

Post a Comment