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All Things Techie

The Consumer Electronics Show has been the face of the electronics industry for almost 50 years. Except for one year, I’ve attended the show continuously since 1980 first as an exhibitor for many years, next as an industry member and lately as part of the press.

CES is held each year in early January in Las Vegas. This makes traveling to CES a respite from the cold and snowy winter weather of my home base in Michigan. I walked many miles through the aisles and took in the breath of new gadgets that may make their way to our homes and businesses in the next months.

Along with 170,000 attendees, I was privy to see some 3,800 exhibitors that occupied 2.5 million square feet of floor space showing their products.

Here are a couple that caught my attention.


DXO One – iOS Camera

One of my first stops was at the DXO Labs booth where their rep Elodie Petiot demonstrated a small, standalone camera that melds seamlessly with the iPhone and iPad.

The DXO One has a high resolution 20MP sensor with a fast f/1.8 32mm equivalent lens and attaches directly to the iOS device through a Lighting connector thereby eliminating the need for a wifi connection. An iOS app provides control over all of the cameras’s features – focus, exposure, shutter speed, aperture setting, ISO setting, more. Captured images are immediately transferred to the iPhone for editing or sharing online.

The suggested price for the DXO One is $475. For more information please visit DXO.


Sony Alpha 7R II Mirrorless

I’ve been using Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras for the past four years, but Sony’s new full-frame a7r II has been on my radar scope since it became available late last year. With a whopping 42-megapixel sensor it should fits into my fondness for landscape photography. Its BSI (back sided illuminated) sensor enables Sony to pack more light gathering power onboard, thereby boosting sensitivity to 102,400. Autofocus speed is said to be 40% faster than the earlier a7R model. Other improvements include five-axis image stabilization and shutter dampening for less camera vibration.
What’s holding me back from purchasing this camera? I’d also have to shell out a big investment for a set of full-frame lenses.

The suggested price of the a7R II is $3200. For more information, please visit Sony.


 
 

Stay tuned for a look at a couple of 3D printers that caught my eye at CES 2016.

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 
 

The Consumer Electronics Show – Accessories for Photographers

 

I’ve been attending the Consumer Electronics Show for more than 30 years. This huge expo is the premier showcase for new and innovative products that are slated for homes and businesses this year.

 

While walking the several miles of aisles at the Las Vegas Convention Center, a couple of areas especially caught my attention: 3D printers and drones. You can read my show reports here: 3D Printing Technology and Drones.

 

But as someone who also has a keen interest in photography, here are a few of the photo accessories that stood out at the show.


Hisy and Halo Remotes

 

Here’s are two tiny little accessories for those of you who are fans of “selfies”.

 

Basically the Hisy and Halo are bluetooth shutter release for you smartphone. The Hisy is for iOS devices and the Halo is for Android devices.

To the right is the “selfie” of Jackie and myself that we took with her Android smartphone.

They also have the Wing – a selfie stick.

The suggested price of the Hisy and Halo is $24.99. The suggested price of the Wing is $29.95.

For more information, please visit HisyPix.

 



Nanuk Camera Cases

If you’re rough on your camera equipment, you may want to look at Nanuk’s cases. PlastiCase makes some very durable protective cases.

Below is one of their smaller cases. It’s made of a impact resistant plastic, has sure-lock latches, soft-grip handle and is waterproof. This 903 model easily accommodates one of my mirrorless cameras with an 18-200mm lens attached. I’ve removed the foam padding to show the spacing.

The Model 903 has a very affordable suggested price of $25.

 

PlastiCase makes about two dozen different cases in various sizes. For more info, please visit PlastiCase.

 



EnerPlex Solar

EnerPlex is a manufacturer of a variety of solar chargers.

If you’re shooting out in the field for any length of time and run out of juice, these solar chargers may prove invaluable. They are compact, foldable and ruggedized.

On the right, you can see solar chargers built into backpacks. EnerPlex has two backpack models: Packr Executive $130 and Packr Commuter $100.


Kickr IV+ on left produces 6 watts nx Kickr II in center produces 33 watts

Commander-XII produces 19 watts for laptops and tablets
For more info, please visit EnerPlex.

 



Thule Camera Bags

Thule is probably best known as the maker of the well-built and ergonomic car top carriers.

This Swedish company also has a stylish line of camera bags and backpacks.


I found their line of bags to be both attractive and practical.
Their new Legend GoPro Backpack was introduced at the show.

Designed and built for rugged outdoor use, you can mount two GoPro cameras directly to the backpack – one forward-facing the other backward-facing. The outermost compartment has die-cut foam insert for GoPro accessories. It’s lightweight and crushproof (EVA shell) and has several other padded compartments for safe transport of camera accessories, hydration reservoir and smartphone.

Thule tells me that the Legend GoPro Backpack will be available in May. Suggested price is $199.

For more info, please visit Thule.

 



Meikon Diving Equipment

For divers and shooters needing protection against water, Meikon had a large array of waterproof housings and accessories for many popular camera models.

On display were housings for Sony mirrorless, Nikon D7000, Canon 5D, Canon M, Canon T2i, T3i, T4i, T5i, Panasonic GF2, GF3, GF5 and GF6.

Meikon also has a nice selection lighting equipment and brackets.

For more info, please visit Meikon.

 



 
 

This concludes my reports from CES.

As usual, I’m excited when I return home from CES. Maybe a few of my finds will get added to my wish list for this year.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
Updated 02/20/2015
 
 


 

CES 2015 – The Drones

24th January 2015

The Consumer Electronics Show – Drones

 

For more than 30 years, I’ve started the New Year with a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show. CES is the premier showcase for new and innovative techie products that are in line to hit the store shelves.

This year I notice the proliferation of 3D printers and picture-taking drones at the show.

Earlier, I wrote a short article about 3D Printing Technology that I saw at CES.

There’s plenty of controversy surrounding the use drones for commercial purposes, manufacturers from around the world are gearing up for battle as they try to outdo each other on features, price, and speed to market. This article presents several of the picture-taking drones that I saw at the show.


Robotix Ghost+

This is the Ghost+ quadcopter.

Its payload is a GoPro camera mounted on a controllable gimbal and has a GPS receiver, gyroscopic controller for smooth flight, retractable landing skids and can stay airborne for 18 minutes.

The WiFi module lets you stream the video remotely to a smartphone and/or tablet.

The suggested price of the Ghost+ is $1300.

For more information about the Ghost+, please visit Thunder Tiger Group.

 


DJI Inspire 1

This is DJI’s newest model – Inspire 1. It has a bult-in gimbal-mounted 4K video camera that can be remotely positioned, real-time feed to the controller and automatic takeoff and landing.


while in the air, the landing pods fold into the “up” position for obstruction-free video recording
Price is $3400 with dual remotes – one for flight control and the other for camera control.

For more info, please visit DJI.

 


Proto-X FPV

The FPV quadcopter is equipped with a 1280 x 720p video camera.

Notice that the controller has a built-in video screen that displays the captured video in real time. It is gyro stabilized for steady movie.

The suggested price is $350.

For more info, please contact Hobbico 


Zano – the nano drone

Zano calls itself a “sophisticated nano drone”. It’s so small that it fits in the palm of your hand.

Your smartphone or tablet is the controller. Simply tilt your phone left, right, forward or backward and the Zano follows. Other onscreen icons control the altitude, rotation, capture, etc.

This is a prototype model and Zano tells me that production begins in July 2015. Price in UK Pounds £170.

For more information, please visit Zano.


 

As a former participant in the flight simulation industry, I’m in awe of the drone “landscape”.

As I watch these new models flying at CES, I am amazed at how quickly the technology surrounding drones has progressed. In addition to highly competitive prices, these devices are much easier to fly – many with auto takeoff and auto landing capability – and features such as gimbals, streaming and navigation are truly impressive.

Written by: Arnie Lee


 

CES 2015 – 3D Printers

22nd January 2015

The Consumer Electronics Show – 3D Tech

As I mentioned previously, I started this New Year flying from the cold and snowy Midwest to a warm and sunny Las Vegas to attend the CES 2015 industry event as I have been doing for thirty-something years.

I’ve participated at CES on both sides of the aisle. For many years we exhibited our computer software products. For the past several years, I’ve been attending as an industry member. Now I have the opportunity to find out what new gadgets are coming down the tech turnpike.

All things 3D have been progressing at an amazing clip for the past three or four years. An entire section of South Hall was devoted to the 3D technology.

Here’s a few of the neat items that I found at this year’s expo.


Artec Eva 3D Scanner


The 3D scanner is mounted next to a rotating disk on which the subject is standing. The lights fully illuminate the subject.

A couple of minutes later, the completed 3D scan of the subject is displayed on the monitor for everyone to admire. The result is a full body digitized model.
As I was asking the Artec representative questions about how the scanner works, he picks up the scanner and proceeds to give me a “face-on” demonstration. As I stand in place, he walks completely around me, all the time pointing the hand-held device at my head.

About 90 seconds later, my face pops up on the monitor.

This scanner is a high-end model with a high end price – $19,800 to be exact. For more information, please visit The Artec Group.


Innovative Printers from 3D Systems

3D Systems “invented” 3D printing in 1989. Their large booth had several remarkable and innovative products.

 


perhaps “on demand” shoes are in the near future

a full size handbag, 3D produced

Modeling a lengthy 3D garment

One of the 3D chefs

deserts “baked” with 3D printer

making music – guitar and drums made with 3D printer
To find out more about their many different 3D printing devices, please visit 3D Systems.

 


Several New and Lower Priced 3D Printers


MakerBot Replcator Mini – a smaller version of their well-known Replicator printer. This unit sell for $1375.

This model was produced with the Makerbot.

For more info, please contact MakerBot



This is the Robo 3D. Maximum object size is 10″x9″x8″. Sells for $799.

Dave holding a model produced with the Robo. For more info, please visit Robo 3D.


New Matter Mod-t is scheduled for Q3 release with suggested price of $400. For more info, please visit New Matter.

For those who believe that 3D printers are for plastic products, here I spotted a few “wooden” 3D objects.

 
 

Yes, 3D printing technology is advancing rapidly and I look forward to faster, better and less expensive products in the near future.

Stay tuned for a few more reports on other gadgets that I found of interest at this year’s CES. They are coming soon.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

CES 2015

19th January 2015

The Consumer Electronics Show

If you don’t count the time that my father took me to the CES in New York City during the 60’s, I’ve been consistently attending the annual Consumer Electronics Show each January. Other than the one or two shows that I’ve missed since 1982, I’ve been able to leave the cold and snow of Michigan to spend a few days in the warmth and sun of southern Nevada.

For most of these past 33 years I attended CES as an exhibitor. As a publisher in the computer industry, we used CES to promote and market our lines of software and books. Awhile back however, we sold our interests in computer publishing to follow other opportunities.

So for the last several years, I’ve attended CES as an industry member. I still have a deep interest in the myriad of new electronic gadgets. I want to stay current with the neat, innovative devices that are making their initial appearances.

The recession of 2007-2009 had a profound effect when attendance plummeted. Slowly, the electronics industry has recovered. Last year’s show 2014 was a record-breaking one with 160,000 visitors.

This year’s attendees (to the right) were just as anxious to visit the 3,600 exhibitors who occupied 2.2 million square feet of space.

CES reports that 2015 was another record-breaker with more than 170,000 attendees including 45,000 foreign visitors.

Many exhibitors spared little to promote their brand.


Cisco promoting “video” in the cloud

advertising satellite dish service DirectTV

a slew of curved screen televisions

curved screen, amazing surround video quality

prototype fuel cell powered engine

these robotic window cleaners “climb” the glass

attendee giving directions to a housecleaning robot

here you can clearly see curvature of the screen

 
 
In the next few days, I’ll be preparing several detailed articles covering some of the interesting products that exhibitors showed me during my visit to Consumer Electronics Show 2015.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

The Backorder Has Arrived

This past October, I was in NYC to cover PhotoExpo 2013. It’s a large trade show for the photographic industry where new equipment, accessories, services and the like are on display.

One of the nicest things about trade shows is that you can have some hands-on time using the new hardware and ask in- depth questions that the reps are able to field.


I was interested in a few new pieces of equipment including Nikon’s newly announced AW1. It’s based on the one year-old Nikon 1 series. These are compact, mirrorless models that have interchangeable lenses. They are small and lightweight but deliver high quality images.

But the kicker here is that the AW1 is also waterproof to 49 feet, temperature resistant to 14F degrees and shockproof to about 6 feet. I was attracted to this camera because of its ruggedness.


I spent about 30 minutes of touchie-feelie time with the AW1 at the Nikon booth. I also peppered Brian – the Nikon rep – with dozens of questions about the camera.

In the end, I came away satisfied that this new piece of equipment needed to become part of my arsenal.

When I returned home from New York, I placed an order for the AW1 with two waterproof lenses. Although the AW1 has been available for sale for about six weeks, the two lens kit was just made available.


However, due to the usual holiday confusion, I have yet to open the carton. In the next few days, I hope to try it out. Since it’s 10 degrees outdoors here in Grand Rapids, I think the underwater testing will have to wait unless I decide to try it out in the bathtub.

But with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) right around the corner (next week), I just might take it with me to Las Vegas and jump into one of the pools. I’ll fill you in when I have more to report.

 

 

Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

 

 

A Walk around CES – Part 2

14th February 2012

More “goodies” at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show

This article is a followup to Part 1 in which I describe a few of the photographic items that attracted my attention as I was scouring the venues of the Consumer Electronics Show. In this Part 2 article, I’ll show you some of the other items that I found interesting at this year’s record breaking CES.
I’m a geek at heart. And since I like touching, feeling and learning about devices and gadgets that perform some kind of magic, the miles of aisles taking up some 1.8 million square feet of exhibit space -are a playground for me. Apparently there are a few others that feel the same way; attendance at the show was north of 150,000.
My reporting covers both technology and photography. This year the Photographic Marketing Association chose to co-locate their annual convention at the Consumer Electronics Show. Since most of the major photo equipment manufacturers already exhibit at CES, it makes sense for the PMA to join forces. Having CES and PMA exhibitors at a single event makes it very convenient for reporters such as myself.

The CES management makes it easy for its exhibitors to get global press coverage by inviting hundreds of media reps to the show. As you can see here, the Press Room was teeming with throngs of reporters filing their articles.

 

OK, here goes Part 2 of the time spent at the Consumer Electronics Show.


Intel, the premier maker of microprocessors, is revving up the market for its ultrabook push. Intel supplies the chips that many computer manufacturers use to build their hardware.
When asked to define an ultrabook, one of the Intel reps described one as a thin and lightweight notebook with a long battery life which starts up (boots) very quickly. To save weight and conserve battery life, most of the ultrabooks have smaller screens (13″ to 15″) and use solid state had drives but without an optical (CD, DVD or BlueRay) drive. All of the new ultrabooks use Intel 2nd generation “Sandy Bridge” core processors.


a new Samsung ultrabook


a Toshiba ultrabook
To those of you familiar with Apple’s offering, the ultrabook most likely took its cue from the MacBook Air. In all, there were eight different manufacturers showing their own variations of the ultrabook at CES. Go here to find more information about Intel-based ultrabooks.

Another feature that will soon start appearing is dubbed WiDi – for wireless display. This new technology couples a computer to a monitor through a high speed wireless connection. At the Intel stand, a notebook computer was sending its display to a huge 52″ Samsung HD television with builit-in WiDi with no apparent delay. I found this to be pretty slick.


I was really intrigued by the Replicator. It sounds like it might be a creature from a monster movie, but it is in fact a 3D printer. A what? What’s a 3D printer?


The Replicator is a printer that spits out a plastic substance according to a pattern to create 3D objects.


Here’s a model car made by the Replicator. Note the intricate detail.


Michael Curry is holding one of the spools of plastic which are fed into the Replicator.


Here’s another very sophisticated model that was manufactured by the Replicator.
MakerBot Industries makes the Replicator. They have hundreds of free templates for making all sorts of models. Price is about $1800. O’Reilly Media features the MakerBot in a recent issue of Make Magazine in which it shows you how to make your own MakerBot.

For more information contact MakerBot Industries.


The AR.Drone 2.0 is another neat gizmo. Designed in France by Parrot, it’s a high tech hovering aircraft.


AR.Drone 2.0 is a slick remote controlled, battery powered helicopter-like aircraft. You control the AR.Drone with an iPhone. What’s unique about this craft is that it can take 720 HD, gyroscopically-damped videos. BTW, it’s fully repairable – parts are available online.


Here, representative Vanessa Loury is showing me a video taken above Paris with the AR.Drone 2.0. The price about $300.
To see some of the sample videos and more information, go to ardrone.com.

One of our companies has been involved with flight simulation for many years, so I made it over to Microsoft to see a demo of their soon to be released Flight product.


Flight starts you on the Big Island of Hawaii flying the Stearman biplane and ICON 5 sportplane. Here’s a virtual pilot approaching the airport for a landing.


The starter set will be free. Shortly, thereafter Microsoft will release reasonably priced aircraft, scenery and adventures to make Flight even more challenging.
Microsoft Flight will be available February 29 at Microsoft Games.

Another phrase that we’ve been hearing a lot about is “the cloud“. Basically, the cloud is a generic name for a secure, remote storage and data backup facility that gives you access to any of the data using various devices (e.g. computer, cell phone, tablet, etc.).

Microsoft’s entry for the cloud is called SkyDrive. Sign up for SkyDrive and you’ll receive FREE, a generous 25GB of storage.

You can backup or store files, documents and photos on SkyDrive. You can choose to share these items with others or keep them private.

Microsoft Office users can work collaboratively with SkyDrive. OneNote users can access files remotely with various mobile and desktop devices.

One limitation is that any file must be less than 100MB in size which rules out many videos.

To sign up for a free SkyDrive account from Microsoft, please go to SkyDrive.


As you can tell from both Part 1 and Part 2 of my walk around CES, I enjoyed peeking at a bunch of the new electronic gadgets that are lining up to meet the marketplace.
As far as the CES in concerned these many years, I’ve adhered to the James Taylor song “Never grow old and never die young”. I hope to report on it again in 2013.

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 


Neat Stuff at the CES

13th January 2011

The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show

You might think that after more than twenty-five years of attending the Consumer Electronics Show, I’d grow weary of the annual (CES used to take place twice a year) trek.
Showhow, there’s always lots of excitement in getting your hands on some of the new gadgets that will soon be making their way to the market.
This year some 126,000 members of the trade and press attended the show. Some 2700 exhibitors rented 1.6 million square feet of space at the Las Vegas Convention Center to show off their new products. The industry is hoping that this is a sign that the consumer electronics market is on a rebound.

Still recovering from the economic recession, Las Vegas and the casinos welcomed CES. In fact, I read that the Strip casinos were sold out on Thursday and Friday nights – the first time this has happened in many months.

Las Vegas was relatively cold – low 50’s during the day and 30’s during the evening. But the temperature at the convention center was definitely warmer and the halls overflowing with anxious showgoers.

First off, I headed over to the LVCC and made my way to the press room. I was surprised to see more than 50 internet-enabled computers and wireless routers available for press members.

It’s apparent that the electronics industry wants the CES show to receive maximum news and press coverage. No doubt, you’ve already seen products from CES on national television stations and newspapers.

As I walked through the aisles, one of the biggest attention grabbers was an onslaught of 3D televisions.

Among the television makers LG, Panasonic , Samsung, Sharp and Sony all had huge displays demonstrating their 3D capabilities. You’ll need those cool 3D shades to watch the new content which has been slowly making its way to Blu-ray DVDs and certain satellite and cable providers.

Panasonic is definitely taking steps to add content to 3D televisions. In March they plan to have a 3D lens set that fits on their Micro Four-Thirds cameras.

This has two separate lenses that produces a set of digital image that can be displayed directly on their 3D television.

The other big attention grabber was the tablet computers. As I approached the booths at Samsung and Panasonic I was amazed to see the number of visitors examining the new hardware and asking questions.

This unique Samsung Series 7 doubles as a tablet and a keyboard-equipped laptop. The keyboard slides out from the 10″ screen for easy typing tasks.


This is a prototype from Panasonic

This 7″ Samsung Galaxy drew three-deep crowds. It’s an Android device that competes with Apple’s iPad.
 

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the new or upcoming products that I found interesting.



This is Polaroid’s new “Lady Gaga” mobile printer. I’m told she loves the color gray. You can send your image to the printer via Bluetooth or USB cable. From Polaroid.


Here’s an attractive group of notebook and camera bags from Artisfront.


Joby, maker of the ubiquitous Gorillapods, introduced the “Ori for iPad”. It serves as a durable and protective cover and can hold your iPad in multiple positions for convenient use. From Joby.


The Eye-Fi is an “enhanced” SD card for digital cameras. It can send images directly to your computer while it’s still in the camera! I’m planning a review of the Eye-Fi soon. From Eye-Fi.


For commercial photographers, Metalight has several imaging boxes that provide constant, even lighting especially useful for product shots. From Medalight.


To keep your camera equipment dry in inclement weather DiCAPac has a waterproof “case” for your DSLR. Price is about $89. From DiCAPac.


Do you need a break from computer work? Use their missle launcher, webcam man, plasma ball – lots of fun “accessories” for a few minutes. From Satzuma..


It may look like a toy, but this remote controlled helicopter has a small camera mounted in the nose which can send digital images to your wi-fi network. Useful for taking photos from above. From Rotor Concept.


Underwater explorers can use these waterproof digital goggles with built-in 5MP still/video camera. This model costs $150 and is safe to 20 meters. From Liquid Image..


Liquid Image also makes these ski goggles with a ruggedized built-in camera. Again this has a 5MP still/video camera and sells for about $250. From Liquid Image.


Ecotricity introduced this portable solar power generator. This model is easily movable and provides power remote usage as well as home backup power and for emergencies. From Ecotricity.


For those times when you may have had too much fun and liquid refreshments you can use this convenient breathalyzer. It fits in your pocket and may come in handy. From BacTrack.


Dino-Lite showed me their digital microscope for photographing small items. From Dino-Lite.


This is a close-up taken with the Dino-Lite’s 5MP imager. You can see that the coin is free from shadows because of the built-in light and polarizing filter around the device’s imager. I am told that it’s especially popular with stamp and coin collectors. It has variable magnification from 10x – 50x, and optionally up to 220x.

I stopped at the Panasonic booth to have a look at the GF-2 Micro Four-Thirds camera which is scheduled to be available in March.

Since I wasn’t fond of composing and focusing through the LCD finder, I asked the CSR to attach the electronic viewfinder (not shown). With an EVF, a sleek body, light weight and fast response, I’m looking forward to testing out the GF-2 soon.


For the vain among you, you can use the QuikPod to capture your own picture with your digital camera. There are two models: one for smaller point-and-shoot cameras and other for DSLR cameras. Each is a handheld extendable tripod. Attach your camera, set it on self-timer, press the shutter and position the QuikPod for a self-portrait as you smile.

It’s also useful for handheld shots above the crowd. Comes with tripod legs for use as a conventional tripod. Price is $29 for point-and-shoot model and $49 for DSLR model. From QuikPod


In the next few weeks, I plan to review some of the products that you’ve seen here.

While the weather in Las Vegas wasn’t particularly warm, on the flight home I found myself stuck in Chicago for 7 additional hours because of snow. I guess I shouldn’t complain about the weather in Nevada.

 

Written by Arnie Lee