CES: The View From Here

parrotIt may seem like the whole AllThingsD.com crew is in Las Vegas reveling in the nightlife/nerdlife, but some of us actually stayed behind to take advantage of reliable connectivity, good coffee and natural daylight. Oh, and also to hold down the fort in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster. Now that’s some good thinking.

Walt, Katie, Swisher, Kafka and Paczkowski, reporting from the floor of the show and from D’s own mini-conference, have what seem to be the major themes of the show–tablets/e-readers, 3-D and Natural User Interface–all covered. But there are bound to be a few other interesting things going on. Based on the first day and a half of coverage, here’s a short list of gadgets and apps that would be welcome back at ATD HQ, just to take them for a spin:

The Parrot AR.Drone

These videos have been all over the web for the past day or so–and with good reason. This thing looks incredible, and a little creepy, too. It’s controlled via an iPhone app, and live video from the drone’s onboard camera streams directly to the controller’s screen. The device’s AR capabilities could make it a real contender in the (expensive) gaming space, but its potential for real-world shenanigans are obviously interesting as well. As long as you’re the one flying the drone.

Immerz KOR-fx

Sometimes it’s not enough to just play the game or watch the movie. That’s the premise for the KOR-fx from Immerz. It sits over your shoulders and sends vibrations into your chest cavity based on the sound from your audio output and new “acousto-haptic technology” to create an immersive experience. Supposedly, for gamers, this can provide a “seventh sense”–and the edge needed to prevail in competitive gaming situations. Or, it could cause a panic attack. Video courtesy of Immerz.

Z Corporation’s Z printer 650

3dShapeways, which utilizes Z Corporation’s “3-D” printers for its unique 3-D printing services, has been around for a while, but this year the company announced the new full-color capability of the Z printer 650. You can send a digital 3-D model file to Shapeways and they’ll print it into a solid model made of the Full Color Sandstone that the printer puts out. Then they’ll ship it to you anywhere in the world within 10 days. Not everybody has 3-D modeling software lying around, so it’s mostly useful to product designers, architects and 3-D modelers of all stripes. But after watching this video (warning: takes a while to load) of the printer in action, I think there should be a Z printer 650 at AllThingsD headquarters.
[correction: a previous version of this post erroneously stated that Shapeways manufactures the Z printer 650.]

Sanyo’s eneloop hybrid bike

It’s cooler than a moped, not as cool as motorcycle–but greener than both. Sanyo’s eneloop hybrid bicycle uses loop charging to charge its battery while you pedal, and two-wheel drive for a more stable ride. It’s not necessarily for those who ride a traditional bicycle regularly, but it offers a real option for folks who want to cut down on driving. Plus, it’s pretty nice-looking. Video interview courtesy of Treehugger.

Samsung’s transparent laptop

I don’t know what the appeal of Samsung’s 14-inch transparent laptop is, other than its obvious visual ties to the futuristic hardware shown in movies like Minority Report and Avatar. Must be hard to focus on your work, and who’d want to do their online banking using a transparent screen? What it needs is a two-way mirror screen. Then it might actually come in handy. Video courtesy of Engadget.


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When AllThingsD began, we told readers we were aiming to present a fusion of new-media timeliness and energy with old-media standards for quality and ethics. And we hope you agree that we’ve done that.

— Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, in their farewell D post