John and I are prowling the floors at CES 2009 this afternoon and we’ve managed to bump into some interesting technologies as well as more than a few clever marketing pitches. The Hoover Reports economic analyst folks have a great looking Robot roaming the floors, but it turned out it is controlled by a human operator standing nearby and appears to have no to very limited autonomy. One of last year’s incredible technologies was the Darpa Autonomous Vehicle which drives itself, dodging pedestrians and traffic based on the software with no human control – not sure if Darpa is here this year or not.
A vehicle technology that really impressed us today was the Simcraft full motion simulator. John tested it out and we’ll have pictures soon, but Simcraft’s simulator offers 3 degrees of freedom thanks to a strong steel frame system combined with electric servo motors. Three monitors on the front provide a wrap around visual of the track and John was very impressed with the realism. At $44,000 this is not the best Anniversary gift for your wife but for the very high end consumer market and (I think far more importantly) military and training markets this represents a lot of potential cost savings over real vehicles. We spoke with Simcraft’s CTO Sean MacDonald who indicated they are now working with Dept of Defense on training projects for combat vehicles. More and pictures later….
Also impressive was a new slim format notebook coming up from ASUS with a raised keyboard that allows low/no fan thanks to increased air flow between the keys and the CPU. The unit was the most stylish of all the netbooks I’ve seen so far. We spoke with Daniel Alenquer of the Asus design team who should be very proud of bringing low cost form to the high function of the many new ASUS models. Engadget has a good report on what most will probably agree is the most stylish notebook design of the show: http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/10/video-asus-airo-laptop-with-amazing-sliding-keyboard/