9 Greatest Videos Of CES 2012

We captured many cool gadgets and technologies in action at CES 2012, but check out our favorites, from an envy-inspiring Porsche to a spinning phone charger.

Fritz Nelson, Vice President, Editorial Director InformationWeek Business Technology Network

January 13, 2012

6 Min Read

My favorite thing from CES was…well, really everything. Along with standouts like stunning OLED TVs from the likes of Samsung and LG, our CES team saw an abundance of new phones and tablets. We found a wealth of practical gadgets and fascinating technology at CES, some of it hiding in the crevices along the backsides of forgotten hotel ballrooms.

Technology is now forcing its way into every aspect of our lives. Patients are getting wiser about their ailments, and also about their wellness, thanks to a slew of online and mobile app references. But the sudden emergence of gadgets that can attach to the phone and monitor heart rates and blood-oxygen levels, sleep, and exercise is, if you'll forgive the expression, heart-stopping.

Those people who feel as if technology has become too invasive--for example, in the case of distracted driving—should consider the developments from companies like RIM's QNX and Ford, both of which want drivers keeping their hands on steering wheels and their eyes on the road. Ford has even created ways to alert distracted drivers. Future cars will come with the ability to monitor a driver's attention and wellness to enhance driving safety.

But the real "aha" moments at CES came from a few unexpected places. Aurasma's augmented reality browser was incredible fun, but the practical applications for it seem endless. DarbeeVision's HD video enhancement box impressed. nVolutions stood out as one of the most promising device recharging solutions (and there were many). We also found out that Apple's signal bars on the iPhone were questionable.

There's video of all of this, and more, for you to explore. Just visit our CES Special Report page for all of the coverage. But for now, check out our favorite tech demonstrations from CES 2012.

1. Voxlinc AfterShokz Bone-Conduction Headphones

It was difficult to walk the CES show floor without tripping on a pair of headphones. We even saw a company (Sonomax) with DIY custom-fit earbuds (called Eers.) But AfterShokz uses bone-conduction. The headphones sit in front of a listener's ears. The advantages: first, no more blasting your ears with sound; second, you can hear what's going on around you. And I tried them out--the sound quality is pretty darn good, especially for $59.99!

2. RIM QNX Concept Porsche

I'm a sucker for a Porsche, but one that's decked out in technology…well that's a whole new level. The center console turns into what essentially looks like a PlayBook interface. There were PlayBooks mounted behind the front seat headrests (controlled from the center console,) NFC-Bluetooth pairing for BlackBerry phones, and a dynamic instrumentation cluster personalized for the driving experience. Take a look for yourself in our video below.

3. Rocstor Amphibious Hard Drive

No, this isn't a hard drive that can swim. It's a secure hard drive, meant for those situations that cannot withstand misplacement or loss. There are no visible screws or entry points for gaining easy access to the actual disk drive. But the Rocsafe's most notable features are the numeric keypad on its glassy surface and a smartcard slot. Without an authorized smartcard and self-selected PIN code, the drive cannot be mounted by a PC or Mac. See the demonstration in our video below.

4. Faraday Cage Shows Apple iPhone Fib

In Las Vegas, there was plenty of anecdotal evidence about the gap between the actual connectivity that AT&T delivered at a trade show crawling with 160,000 people and the connectivity Apple displayed on its iPhone (in the form of signal bars.) But Larry Seltzer, during a visit to Wilson Electronic's booth, stuck his iPhone into a Faraday cage and discovered something rather interesting. Take a look in our video.

5. Aurasma's Augmented Reality Browser

Aurasma is an Autonomy company (which is, in turn, an HP company)-- known mostly for its enterprise search and content management technology. But it's actually a treasure chest of interesting tools that aim to make sense of unstructured data. Aurasma is one such treasure. It's loads of fun, and a great way to experience rich content using your phone. Take a look at what it can do with real-world images in our video.

6. DarbeeVision Darblet Improves Hi-Def Video

This $249 box takes an HDMI signal and enhances the quality. The video can come from any source (cable box, Apple TV, game console, or whatever). It's that simple. This device takes the digital signal bits and manipulates them in real time. And it really does make the result better. See for yourself in the video.

7. CSI GlobalVCard's Image Based MasterCards

A GlobalVCard is essentially a virtual credit card. That is, it's an image-based credit card that can be used from a mobile device. But more importantly, issuers can customize the card, specifying the amount of money, the timeframe for use, and even the merchant category for use; thus, the account holder can apply restrictions on the card. See it in action in the video below.

8. nVolution's nVolt Spins Up A Recharge

Of all the smartphone recharging solutions that we saw, nVolution's was the most intriguing. Just attach it to your mobile phone and spin. That's it. The nVolt uses kinetic energy to supply a trickle charge. As users sit idly on conference calls, they can simple spin the phone to recharge. For a demonstration and explanation of how this works, watch the video below.

9. VMWare Virtualizes the Smartphone

As end users bring devices into the enterprise, IT managers worry about securing and managing those devices and the applications and data that run on them. Mobile device management companies attempt to solve this issue, but VMWare's solution is to create Android-based virtual machines, which will allow organizations and individuals to partition work-related applications and data from personal ones. VMware demonstrates it for us in the video below.

About the Author(s)

Fritz Nelson

Vice President, Editorial Director InformationWeek Business Technology Network

Fritz Nelson is a former senior VP and editorial director of the InformationWeek Business Technology Network.

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