The Consumer Electronics Association will present its choices of Best of Innovations Design and Engineering Award honorees at the upcoming 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The awards comprise outstanding design and engineering advancements across 32 consumer electronics product categories.
The CEA judges make their selection of the honorees in 32 categories based on overall engineering qualities and design qualities, the product’s intended use and function, unique features and how the design and innovation of the product compares to others in the marketplace.
EE Times has chosen its Top 10 based on a pure gut feeling that the gadgets and devices will make a difference in the consumer's appreciation of how technology was applied in a friendly-user manner.
Following are the EE Times Top 10 CE gadgets from the 32 categories, in no particular order:
Lytro Light Field Camera has an 8X optical zoom, f/2 aperture lens. The Light Field Engine processes the light ray data captured by the sensor. The user refocuses pictures right on the camera, on a desktop and online. It takes out the worry that the image was properly adjusted or focused when taken.
Did you know that the judges for the Innovations awards don't even get a hands-on with the product? They simply send over spec sheets and the judges have to basically "guess" what products will be great for 2012. If you ask me, it's an absolute joke.
Thus, consumer disasters like the Google TV somehow snuck into the mix.
Perhaps I'm just an old, cranky engineer, fixed (or rusted?) into my ways, but I couldn't work up more than a yawn for all but two of these goodies. The Lytro camera is interesting from a technology standpoint, but I am not sure just how widespread it will become. Certainly, the bulk of photos are "just" snapshots, and no one gives a hoot about changing their focus: you just shoot the thing again. Of course, there are applications where after the fact focus would be important, but why not just focus the whole image? That's not always artistic, but it's more economic than dinking about after you snap the shutter. I like the technology, though, and Ng's thesis is a neat read.
The other device that I can see of some practical value are the Sennheiser wireless headsets. I could use that... I sometimes want to watch a movie after the kids are in bed, and I don't always want to turn the volume down into the noise.
The other items: well, they are nifty, or neat, or cool, but not for me. Overall, it would be interesting to see which of these make it to this point next year.