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CES Unveiled: Toys, Fitness, Surveillance & IoT

Serious toys go beyond 'gadget'
1/7/2014 08:35 AM EST
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Caleb Kraft
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toys!
Caleb Kraft   1/7/2014 12:10:21 PM
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I have a Parrot AR Drone and love it. I'm sure they have probably done an even better job with the new mini drone. I'd love to get my hands on one to play with it.

rick merritt
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Re: toys!
rick merritt   1/7/2014 2:05:02 PM
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As a huge fan of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots in my childhood, I liked the BeeWi toy robots best.

zewde yeraswork
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Re: toys!
zewde yeraswork   1/7/2014 6:15:50 PM
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Some of these "toys" defy the limits of the definition of that term. I don't know if childhood is merely implied or explicitly denoted in the usage of the term "toy," but each of these gadgets and gizmos has an appeal beyond functionality. Or it could be that once something is functional beyond being merely a source of idle pleasure, it loses its toy-ness. Kids are known for appreciating things that have no real use.

junko.yoshida
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Re: toys!
junko.yoshida   1/11/2014 10:08:38 AM
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@caleb, i hear you. These Parrot's guys are amazing. This year, they had a big booth inside the convention center (last year, they did it outdoors). At the booth there was this huge netted cage, in which several mini drones were flying around in lock step, in a choreagraphed manner, against the background of booming music. It sure was a crowd pleaser.

Caleb Kraft
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Re: toys!
Caleb Kraft   1/13/2014 9:24:34 AM
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I'm curious how rugged those little guys are. My AR Drone 2.0 has survived much more than I would have expected. I've crashed that thing so many times and haven't even had to replace my blades yet.

RichQ
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DropCam security
RichQ   1/7/2014 1:33:30 PM
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My first thought when I saw the DropCam item in this list was "what do they do to secure your video?" I looked over the company website and found no answer. I did find that the software for the system was open source, which left me feeling less secure. Hackers get a leg up when the source code is available (although white hatters also get a leg up and so could beat the black hatters to any vulnerability).

Given what happened with the FTC last year, I would think that the security of information would be something the company would want to make customers understand, but I didn't see anything on it during my look-see. Perhaps the less on will have to be repeated several times before companies offering such intimate monitoring systems learn to make data security a priority.

LarryM99
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Re: DropCam security
LarryM99   1/7/2014 7:00:28 PM
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My guess would be "not much", based on this story ( http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/12/flying-hacker-contraption-hunts-other-drones-turns-them-into-zombies/ 

The Parrot drones could be turned into flying botnets based on their slack wireless security. On the other hand, since these are just "toys" it could be excused, at least until someone takes advantage of them.

junko.yoshida
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Re: DropCam security
junko.yoshida   1/7/2014 8:01:03 PM
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I think questions from RichQ and LarryM's answers present an interesting thread for me to follow. 

Where you draw the line between toys and non-toys?

Where do you draw the line between clinical devices and home health devices?

By calling many of those products "gadgets," we may be getting too lax about regulatory guidelins and social responsibilites such devices otherwise need to meet with.

LarryM99
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Re: DropCam security
LarryM99   1/7/2014 9:49:55 PM
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Recently I fixed my 12 year-old nephew's xbox with kinect, which is in his bedroom. My parting comment was "Now we can keep an eye on you again". He got a strange look on his face. and then half-smiled, like he wasn't quite sure whether I was kidding or not...

Yeah, I can be a jerk (trust me, he gives as good as he gets) but it is closer to the truth than I am sometimes comfortable with. Read the recent set of leaks about NSA surveillance ( http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/12/inside-the-nsas-leaked-catalog-of-surveillance-magic/ ) devices if you doubt that. Devices do what they can do whether we consider them to be toys, diagnostic devices, or doorstops. I don't think that I am overly paranoid, but I do tend to think about what technology around me might know about me and who can access that information.

junko.yoshida
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Re: DropCam security
junko.yoshida   1/11/2014 10:13:41 AM
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@LarryM99, you wrote:

I do tend to think about what technology around me might know about me and who can access that information.


That sure is a great habit to keep. I read in a recent report by Accenture that young people have already gotten over the privacy issues. That may be so. But I suspect that such an attitude come sfrom the lack of knowledge or the lack of education -- rather than these kids having thought about this long and hard and decided that these are minor details.

zewde yeraswork
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Re: DropCam security
zewde yeraswork   1/8/2014 10:46:56 AM
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That's true. Just because these items are labeled a certain way does not mean we should take them lightly or ignore their significance as far as regulation is concerned.

Caleb Kraft
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Re: DropCam security
Caleb Kraft   1/8/2014 11:12:54 AM
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I don't think it is too much of a concern since they only have a range of about 100 feet from the controller. If someone took control of your drone, they aren't going to get far.

Susan Rambo
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Classy speaker design
Susan Rambo   1/7/2014 5:20:45 PM
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The invisible speakers on page 2 are genius. I don't know how innovative they are, but they look elegant.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Classy speaker design
junko.yoshida   1/7/2014 7:53:11 PM
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I agree. I like it too. I think this so-called "dipole speaker" is inteteresting. I did have a chance to listen to it on the show floor where everything was so noisy...it held up on its own, but of course, I wouldn't know how it really sounds in my quiet living room...

Caleb Kraft
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Re: Classy speaker design
Caleb Kraft   1/8/2014 11:13:45 AM
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I'm really curious to hear these as well. I think they look pretty good, but I have a hard time imagining a full sound coming from them.

junko.yoshida
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My personal favorite -- smoke detector that won't beep
junko.yoshida   1/9/2014 9:42:09 AM
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My personal favorite -- in terms of a little chat I enjoyed very much at CES Unveiled -- was Arrayent enables "device virtualization" for IoT on page 5. 

The CEO was enthusiastic, and his pitch about "Let the device bet a device" made a lot of sense to me. Just because you can put a real time clock inside a smoke detector doesn't mean that you have to. 

Instead of sounding off a strange beeping noise, a smoke detector -- connected to the cloud -- should send me a text message that its battery is getting low. No?  

junko.yoshida
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obsessed with sleep pattern!
junko.yoshida   1/11/2014 10:21:18 AM
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Another thing that amazed me at this year's CES was the display of rows and rows of beds, mattresses on the show floor!

People are obviously obsessed with sleep -- the lack of sleep or their sleep pattern, or whatever.

Paris-based Withings' "smart sleep system" is just one example to mine that obsession.  (see slide 6)

For me, personally, I am not sure if I want to monitor my "sleep experience" so much...

 

betajet
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Re: obsessed with sleep pattern!
betajet   1/11/2014 1:50:24 PM
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What kind of embedded processors are embedded in all these beds?  :-)

junko.yoshida
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Re: obsessed with sleep pattern!
junko.yoshida   1/14/2014 1:49:26 AM
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@betajet, yeah, that's a good question. I should have stopped and asked those bed companies -- but I was in a hurry to go from one appointment and another! (but the sight of all those beds on the show floor just shocked me!)

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