CHANGE, OF COURSE, is a constant in electronics, and at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, our editors found evidence aplenty of the shifts under way in CE. Here are 10 technologies that we’re betting will alter the consumer electronics landscape this year.
Motion processors harness microelectromechanical system sensors to ascertain not only the orientation of a device, but also its heading and absolute location in three-dimensional space. Fusing the data streams from accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers (compasses) and altimeters (barometric pressure sensors) allows almost anything to be tracked. Gestures thus can control hardware (from game consoles to vehicle navigation systems) or inform software (from security protocols to location-based services, or LBS).
Once the domain of suitcase-sized, spinning gimbaled tops like those used to keep spacecraft and naval vessels on-course, MEMS inertial sensors are now small enough, inexpensive enough and low-power enough for deployment in even the tiniest mobile devices.
Almost overnight, MEMS inertial sensors have become standard issue for everything from drop detection (to lock up a hard drive before it impacts the floor, for example) to gesture recognition (such to activate Siri by merely bringing the iPhone 4S to your ear). Smart TVs are also upgrading to MEMS-laden remotes that more accurately control on-screen cursors by virtue of motion-processing algorithms licensed from Hillcrest Labs and Movea.
In 2012, mobile device makers will begin integrating complete inertial navigation units housing pre-calibrated accelerometers, gyros and magnetometers. Invensense recently announced a complete INU in a single, 4-mm-square package, enabling almost any mobile device to offer LBS, augmented reality and asset tracking. — R. Colin Johnson
@NSK: I feel tempted to say neither one! Both aren't open systems -we know iOS isn't but Android isn't either, contrary to the claims! Google controls it but allows the source to be downloaded.
What is truly open is the up & coming Boot-2-Gecko (B2G) from Mozilla. When I met its CEO Gary Kovacs last year, one question I posed to him was-what is the future of browsers in the world of ubiquitous computing? Do they become irrelevant? Each mobile device has its own browser...
His answer was -well, wait and see. I saw a presentation yesterday, at the Stanford Faculty club where some B2G developers showed what it can do.
I hope B2G enjoys the same success as FireFox.
I generally like the list, at least for technology sake... but I think many are solutions looking for problems. One thing is sure, we are networking the heck out of anything and everything! And losing privacy fast!
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.