Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gadgets and Gizmos A Plenty

As a writer whose favorite entertainment is a blank page and trekking into the wilderness as far from cellular service as possible, I gotta tell you – I think technology rocks it.

Whenever possible I attend the International CES show in Las Vegas. It’s a mega tradeshow with the latest and greatest in consumer electronics. It’s an enormous, loud, busy, and exhausting week of capitalist consumerism. Yet what I enjoy most about the show is that it absolutely crushes stereotypes and stretches the imagination of this fantasy fiction writer.

If you think you can peg any trait to any nationality you absolutely must add this show to your bucket list. When you funnel the whole world into one place you realize we’re all just one fascinating, whacky, crazy-smart, often annoying species.

You also realize genius and crazy dance on the head of the same pin. If you think that the world has changed since you were a kid, buckle your seatbelt, buddy, because you ain’t seen nothing yet.

I’m not going to judge what technologies are good or bad, although sometimes it is tempting. Besides, a free market system gives us the power to vote by what we purchase anyway. The following are some of the most intriguing gadgets I saw. They're not all that high-tech. They're what I found interesting/useful.

  • Here’s a handy little gadget. It’s called an iRing. It sticks to the back of your phone and makes where you put your phone a whole lot handier. You can hook it on anything and it comes with a separate self-sticking hook. The ring does come on and off (with a lot of effort) so you can re-position it. I've never removed mine because I don't trust it will stick as well, although the vendors assured me it would. I use mine all the time. I especially like being able to hook my phone on the dashboard when I'm driving. It's convenient if you're a runner too, and I know some moms use a carabiner to attach it to baby strollers. 

  • The robots were wicked cool as always. My personal favorite had world domination mode. The internal gyroscopes amaze me. There were robots on bikes that could balance completely still and in place without tipping. Now that's something humans haven't mastered, of course our bikes rarely have gyroscopes.
  • Self-driving cars. I can barely wait for these. For people with physical limitations (disabled, vision problems, etc.) this will ensure freedom most of us take for granted.
  • The ability to waterproof electronics once again won the show for me. My personal favorite was a company called Liquipel – and not just because they gave me a coupon for a discount and a free impact resistant case. Liquipel isn’t a case or a coating. It’s a nanotechnology that is basically baked onto your gadget and you can't even see or feel it. Their display included a waterfall full of phones and tablets that had been waterproofed. The cost for a cell phone waterproof is in the neighborhood of $60. Recently I upgraded my phone and FINALLY had it Liquipeled. I'll let you know how it works out for me, because I'm certainly not going to TEST it. But sooner or later fate will.
 Check out this European ad for the same technology. Think about it, what’s the first thing you say when your phone hits liquid? Right?
  • The ShutterBall will allow us to take even more selfies. Yay. Sigh.

  • Health and fitness monitors. If you saw it on Star Trek or the Jetsons, it’s either here or coming.
  • 3-D Printers. These can create not only objects, but candy. When I think about how frustrating it is to get a decent copy out of a copy machine, I can’t help but be cynical. The ones I saw were amazing though. I’m still holding out for food replicators, but I’ll be honest, I won’t trust them.

  • Smarthouse. Take the above Star Trek Jetsons reference and add Back to the Future to it. I'm holding off on this technology until the vacuum cleaner runs itself, and I'm not talking a Roomba. You know those suckers strangle on a sock before they make it through a single room. 

The gizmos and gadgets I've featured in this blog might seem so LAST YEAR because I actually wrote this post over a year ago. 

I dug it out of my archives because I'm really jazzed about finally getting a phone waterproofed with Liquipel. They made quite an impression on me when they put the super thin impact resistant case on my phone. That's because when they did it they used my phone in a demo and dropped a huge metal ball onto it from about three feet in the air. I had no idea they were going to do it until the ball was heading for the screen. It was FINE, but I still haven't gotten over it. 

If you're interested in any of these products hit me up for websites and I'll help if I can. While we're on the subject though, what's your favorite technology? I think mine is going to be waterproofed electronics.

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