Eureka Park at CES features a number of innovative startups offered complimentary booth space at the show. The caveat is that this section of the show is far from the hype and dazzle of LVCC Central Hall, lodged on a random floor in the Venetian -- and this year, it’s fragmented into three rooms (such that some visitors are oblivious of the other two).
Back again from previous years are Innovega’s AR contact lenses -- just like last year, they show you a case of delicious-looking contact lenses, but won’t let you demo -- or touch.
Across was a booth consisting of several startups from Italy. One Italian startup, 2WIN offered a portable binocular-sized vision analyzer. The readings it gave were surprisingly accurate, even though it’s supposed to work best under dim lighting. At $3000, it costs less than my retina macbook, and could save so much time in lieu of having to visit the eye-doctor for something I’m surprised my webcam can’t do already. However, they weren’t sure when it’d be available for sale.
Displair showed a vivid screen that also offered finger-interaction. Unlike the time-of-flight cameras, such as Leap Motion, coming out this year, Displair’s finger-gesture interaction works in sunlight. The air-moisture-based screen was shown playing Fruit Ninja, as well as basic Windows commands, with multi-touch support.
3DeWitt showed a form of gestural interface that's based on an LED-ring on your finger, commodity webcams, and an inexpensive diffraction grating. While this current configuration seems limited to “single touch,” it does make the field of view much larger.
A breath of fresh air from LiquiPel’s small-minded “proprietary secret” answer, Integrated Surface Technologies goes in-depth to explain the chemical processes before, during, and after the coating procedures, and seems to be pretty open with telling you the chemical composition behind their solution. The main idea is that the formula makes the surface “truly water-resistant”, to the extent where water molecules nearly bounce off with virtually no residue remaining. The booth product featured Blue Lantern Nano -- a $10,000 machine that lets anyone start their own 1-hour instant phone-waterproofing service, fitting for a stand or store in a shopping mall. I instantly whipped out an old phone, okay-casualty, and asked for a live demo -- “Coat my phone!” -- but it was already 4:40 PM on Friday, the last day of the show, and there wasn’t time.
Elsewhere in the Venetian, in their own unlisted private suite at the end of the hallway, Oculus Rift has been demonstrating their immersive virtual reality visor for the entire week to select media and zealous fans. The field of view was -- surprisingly -- as wide and immersive as marketed, and the latency on head-tracking barely noticeable -- as you turn your head sharply, there’s just that barest hint of that drunk-walk, from an old fever-dream. The unit was surprisingly light-weight, velvety against the forehead, no tiny-nose weight-strain even after about five minutes. Palmer, the inventor, apparently wears it 8+ hours a day.