The Human-Human Interface

Top Ten from This Year’s Consumer Electronics Show

Personal Infrastructure

Took me a while to write this up, but here you go. Technology for the Neurosphere, filtered through the emergent Darwinian soup of hyper-consumerism. You have been warned.

1. The PowerSquid

This year’s number one Consumer Electronics product, the PowerSquid powerstrip

Has 6 flexible outlets spreading out from the power cord in a, well, squid-like way. Also, it incorporates electromagnetic interference filtering technology they call Purestream – supposed to improve audio-video performance of your home theater system. Basically, I just love the way it looks.

2. Digital Video Eyewear

Icuiti offers Digital Video Eyewear, and implies the 3.5 ounce, one inch wide eyeglass frame delivers a picture equivalent to a 42-inch big screen. Offering a special adapter for the Video iPod, about which it has been legitimately asked, what is one going to watch on such a small screen?

3. Night Vision Wireless WebCams

I’m big on Web cams as building awareness of the world around us. This WirelessCam is weatherproof, which is cool enough, but add Night Vision capabilities to the camera, and you have 24/7 awareness. Okay, 24/7 surveillance at least, which is what they actually are selling, although there is a picture of toddlers being surveilled in the backyard pool while Mommy mixes a martini in the kitchen.

4. Homeland Integrated Security Systems

So the biometrics crowd went uptown to homeland security a few years ago; there’s no longer a biometrics pavilion at CES. Somehow, these guys didn’t get the word and reversed the flow. They sell:

CyberTracker – transponder attached to a vehicle or other “asset” and track anywhere, plus builtin alarms if the asset moves somewhere its not supposed to.

CyberNoze – detects trace amounts of most commercial and military explosives

Cyber Rad – detects radiation from such potential “dirtybomb” candidates as Cobalt 60, Cesium 137 and Iriducm 192.

Cyber Pass – some kind of component as part of a solution for systems under development for authorized access to American ports.

This whole set of stuff creeps me out – plus this industry has barely scratched the surface – we’ll be investing billions in this for the next fifty years as Islamic fundamentalists continue to breed like flies. Weird fact – these guys have offices not only in Wash D.C., but also new age-y Asheville NC, West Palm Beach, and Beirut. Wow.

5. Magellan Roadmate

GPS navigator with TrafficKit software, it sends live traffic reports directly to your portable Magellan receiver, and onscreen icons identify the location of traffic accidents. Different indicators specify road work, lane reductions, and slowdowns. Radio traffic reports never seem to have much granularity – this might be a breakthrough. The data comes from a company called NavTeq, who apparently have been running such a system in Europe.

But NavTeq has another, even more impressive product, Incorporating ACME’s ParkingCarma™ Real-Time Parking Space Availability Engine. And they say there’s no progress in the world.

6. H2O Audio

I’m an iPod slut. Apparently, iPod’s are yesterday’s news for my hip, scenester friends, but anyway, here’s the best iPod accessory I saw at this year’s show. Waterproof housing and sport armband for you iPod or other MP3 player. Your electronics and data can be anywhere in the world.

7. IQUA Smart Badge

Bluetooth-enabled wireless headset built into a holder for your corporate ID badge, so as to improve your productivity as you navigate from one meeting to the next inside your corporate campus. I think there’s also a need for productivity solutions for the company cafeteria.

8. LG Remote Monitoring Laundry System

LGE has a washers and dryers with digital inputs and remote monitoring capability – including ability to sense when clothes are dry, rather than at a set time. Another small step on the way to the Jetsons’ lifestyle.

9. Scooba

And another step… iRobot has followed up it’s famous Roomba automatic vacuum cleaner robot with the Scooba. It “Preps, Washes, Scrubs and Dries.” (There are already Roomba knockoffs – see the CleanMate QQ line;

10. Touchless, um, Toilet

And in an area the Jetsons couldn’t talk about, ITouchless offers a Tissue Free Computerized Smart Toilet Seat. It includes “top-of-the line fully computerized automatic bidet toilet systems with the unique Enema function control that would eliminate the painful Enema.” OK, it’s here in the top ten, but I really don’t wanna know about it.