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Tag Archives: CES08

[CES 2008] Guitar Hero: Air Guitar Rocker

Guitar Hero Air Guitar

By Evan Ackerman

I’ve never played Guitar Hero (shocking, right?), but I play air guitar all the time… Mostly when I’m listening to really loud RATM on the BART. This behavior usually means that nobody sits next to me, which is understandable if it makes me look like the guy in the above pic. Anyway, the Air Guitar Rocker is a portable Guitar Hero system that uses a belt mounted speaker and buckle that you wave a guitar pick in front of, in sync to the music. Get it? No? Just watch the video, from the guys over at Gearlog:

Although you can control the tempo, nothing you do with your left hand is going to have any effect on the notes. The Air Guitar Rocker is going to be available in March for about $30. It’ll come with 10 songs in a swappable cartridge, including Black Sabbath (“Iron Man”), Deep Purple (“Smoke On The Water”), and my personal favorite, Boston (“More Than A Feeling”).

Guitar Hero Air Guitar

[ Guitar Hero Air Guitar Rocker ]

[CES 2008] Hands All Over The Optimus Maximus Keyboard

Optimus Maximus

By Evan Ackerman

Yes, it’s the Optimus Keyboard. If anything, it’s more beautiful in person than in all of the press releases (or maybe that’s just because we’re now sure that it actually exists). It works exactly as advertised. And believe it or not, Art Lebedev Studios had several 100% working versions in their booth at CES. Not vaporware anymore, baby… According to the booth dudes, they’ve got about 2,000 keyboards ready to go and are working on producing more.

Optimus Key

If you’re not familiar with this keyboard, every single key (in its most expensive configuration) contains a little 48×48 color OLED screen, which you can customize to show a letter, a picture, a movie, or even a widget that updates itself. The keyboard includes configuration software that lets you tweak each key to your heart’s content, and save custom configurations for different programs. We learned a little bit more about the keyboard itself, besides how eye-shatteringly cool and beautiful it is… It stores custom configs on an SD card, sucks down enough juice that it needs it own DC jack, and has 2 additional USB 2.0 ports in the back. The keys should last about 20,000 hours before they start to dim and are not susceptible to stuck pixels like conventional LCDs. Each keyboard includes a 1 year warranty (which extends to the keys themselves) and will come with 3 spare keys.


It’ll be available in gloss black or gloss white with anywhere from one OLED on the spacebar ($460) to a full 113 OLEDs (nearly $1600). But the good news is that the OLED keys are only 10 bucks each and you can plug them in yourself, so just get the base version, and then find 112 friends who’d each be willing to give you a $10 b-day present. They should (should) start shipping by the end of February, and I think it’s actually halfway likely to happen.

Pics of the retail packaging (if you’re interested), after the jump.Continue Reading

[CES 2008] Seen It All (Mostly)

CES See It All

By Evan Ackerman

This gigantic sign is part of an ad plastered across the exterior of the Las Vegas Convention Center. After four days, I don’t find its taunting message to be amusing in the least. It’s physically impossible for one person to experience all of CES, but I’ve come close. Damn close. I’m going to spend most of tomorrow posting articles (lots of articles), so stay tuned… But before I pass out, here’s a teaser pic which you might recognize:


Be excited. Be very excited.

[ CES ]

[CES 2008] Tiny Displays

By Evan Ackerman

When it comes to displays, bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes it is, but not when we’re talking about mobile devices. Hitachi is showcasing some of their very small, yet very bright high resolution (and, in some cases, touchscreen) displays, which we’ll start seeing in cellphones, portable media players, and even perhaps UMPCs in the near future:

2.4 inch QVGA (240×320) LCD; brightness 500 cd/m2, contrast 1000:1, less than 1mm thick

Hitachi VGA
2.98 inch VGA (640×320) LCD; brightness 500 cd/m2, contrast 500:1

Hitachi WXGA
5 inch WXGA (1366×768) LCD; brightness 350 cd/m2, contrast 500:1

[ Hitachi ]

[CES 2008] Versus Scoreboard – Your Own Portable Scoring System

Versus Scoreboard (Image courtesy Seventy 7 Inc.) By Andrew Liszewski

Whoever said “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but how you played the game” clearly never experienced how much fun it is to win. And while most of us will never have the chance to enjoy a victory in front of thousands of fans in a stadium, the Versus Scoreboard can at least bring some of that experience home. The Versus was created by Filip Ivanoski (a lifelong athlete and professional tennis instructor) who feels that listening to music can not only enhance an athlete’s ability, but also make the sport more fun.

So besides serving as a portable scoreboard and timer, the Versus also has an analog line-in connection and 10W speakers allowing you to connect an iPod or other audio device. And while your favorite music is playing in the background, the Versus also has a series of stadium and crowd sound effects that can be used to enhance the action in the game. It even includes a microphone allowing the non-athletes to serve as play-by-play or color commentators on the sideline.

[ Versus Scoreboard ]

[CES 2008] Oh No! Iomega’s Zip Drive Is Back!

Iomega Rev (Image courtesy CrunchGear)
By Andrew Liszewski

The Iomega Zip drive was a life saver when I was in University, since I was constantly shuffling around a lot of multimedia files for various projects or assignments. But like a good number of Zip drive users, I was horrified the day I encountered the infamous “Click of death.” Iomega did eventually repair my drive, but not before the problem damaged some of my disks, and the company’s reputation.

But Iomega has (somehow) managed to stick around, and at CES they’re showing their REV drive, which is basically the latest version of the Zip drive technology. But instead of 100MB, the removable cartridges now hold 70GB and are apparently pretty durable since the read and write heads are housed in the drive itself, with the cartridges containing the data platter.

Unfortunately at $599.99 for the REV external drive and $69 for a single 70GB disk, I can’t see how this can compete with the falling prices of Blu-ray burners. (Given a dual layer Blu-ray DVD can hold about 50GB.)

[ Iomega’s Zip Drive is back with a vengeance VIA CrunchGear ]

[CES 2008] Neonode Body Electronics Concepts (And A Touch Phone)

Body Electrics

By Evan Ackerman

It was this concept art that drew me into the Neonode exhibit, since (to be honest) I’d never heard of them before. But the art is pretty sweet, albeit (they insist) only a concept. If you’re not seeing anything out of the ordinary yet, look at her hand and his headphones. Convenient, right?

Neonode is also demoing a cellphone that they’re going to release commercially in summer of this year, called the N2. It’s smaller than a credit card and weighs only 60 grams. The interface is a 176×220 touchscreen (which is all the rage now, of course) but unlike the iPhone, the touchscreen of the N2 is not heat dependent, so it’ll work if you’ve got gloves on. Look for it this summer, but they’re not saying what network yet.

[ Neonode N2 ]

[CES 2008] Hands On With Microsoft Surface

Microsoft Surface

By Evan Ackerman

About an hour ago, I got a chance to play around with Microsoft Surface in a more or less personal demo, thanks to a miraculous feat of fast talking by Brian Westbrook (who’s covering CES for KATU, KOMO, and KXL) who got me in the door with him. Watch the demo video below, and then I’ll tell you what it’s like to play around with Surface, which I got to do for a few precious minutes afterward.

Surface is one of the most intuitive interfaces I’ve ever experienced. It works just like you think it’s supposed to, you don’t even have to concentrate. We played with Paint, using our fingers and hands as brushes, which was (for lack of a better expression) way, way fun. Surface is not touch sensitive; underneath the tabletop are five cameras, a projector, and a Vista computer. The cameras watch for user interaction on the surface, and then control the projection on the underside of the table. Surface identifies objects by looking for a tag, which is a specific combination of white dots on a black background (it’s like a bar code). No RFID involved. As the Microsoft guy says in the demo, it’ll first show up in retail locations here in Las Vegas in the spring, but in 3-5 years you should be able to buy your own… Likely for something over the current $10,000 commercial partner price (but I hope I’m wrong about that). Either way, it’s money well spent, if you ask me.

[ Microsoft Surface ]

[CES 2008] Eton Radios

Eton Radios

By Evan Ackerman

It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about radios. It’s easy not to think about them anymore, now that NPR is avilable on Podcast and I’ve, um, paid for and legally downloaded all of the music that I’m interested in. But last weekend, my house (in California) was hit by what I’m just going to go ahead and call a hurricane and we lost water and power. Needless to say, I completely lost my sanity.

What might have saved me would have been one of these colorful little radios by Eton. From the look of things, they’ll work just about wherever, whenever, and however. They recieve (in addition to AM and FM) NOAA weather reports and GMRS, and you can even transmit out to others. Most (if not all) of them are hand crank powered in addition to battery power and optionally solar power. They’ve got integrated lights, and they’ll charge your cellphone.

And, like I said, they’re colorful. Guaranteed to inform and brighten your life in the event of a disaster. Anywhere from $30 to a few hundred for all the hand-crank powered bells and whistles (literally).

[ Eton ]