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.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.