CES 2016: Looking for the weird and wonderful

As CES 2016 begins, attendees are looking toward the latest in automotive technology, virtual reality and smart home gadgets. But what are the smaller and more experimental vendors showing?


Tech journalism, these days, is the art of covering a topic (or a product) the moment it occurs -- or even before it occurs. This isn’t anything new -- if you’ve seen any old black-and-white films that deals with newspapers, you know the images of reporters pushing each other aside to cover a story before anyone else, and newsboys screaming, “Extra! Extra!” as they tout the latest headlines.

So I wasn’t surprised that headlines from the CES trade show in Las Vegas have already hit, covering products by companies whose staffers are, even as I write, still working to get their booths ready for the opening of the show floor on Wednesday, or practicing for press presentations that they will present today and tomorrow. Anyone attending the show will have been hit by a flurry of PR notices, urging attention to the latest virtual reality, automotive, smart home, fitness and other products that will be shown during this week. (Right now, those four topics appear to be at the top of the CES news heap.)

Computerworld is no different. We, and our sister publications here at IDG, will be working hard to present you with the latest information on the new and upcoming technologies being shown in Las Vegas this week. 

But while we will be covering all the announcements from the major manufacturers, I’m also going to do my best to bypass the bigger vendors and see what’s happening among the startups and the smaller companies. One of my favorite parts of CES recently has been what is called Eureka Park, where the startups are. Last year, for example, I saw vendors who were producing cables that, they said, were less likely to break, and others who were showing systems, still at least a couple of years from practical application, that would let you feel objects in mid-air -- even though they weren’t actually there.

So I’m hoping that I’ll be again be able to report on a variety of new and interesting products from less-well-publicized companies, ranging from the small and practical to the barely possible. Stay tuned.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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