By Jacqueline Monahan
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Small is Big at Consumer Electronics Show

The Consumer Electronics Show plugged itself into the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Hilton and Venetian Hotels and the Sands Expo Center from January 8 – 11.  The annual technology extravaganza was a finger on the pulse of “current” events, whether an outlet was needed or not.  Wireless and mobile components continue to be huge this year, although video screens seem to be shrinking.

Industry trends favored a “bigger is better” mindset for years, with 55” video monitors and giant home theater components dominating the market.  Steadily, the trend seems to be reversing itself; good things are truly coming in smaller packages with mini-media overtaking its big brother counterparts (pun intended).  Wireless, portable, even wearable sounds and images are now all the rage in the race for super-small superiority.

Two wearable entertainment items featured eyeglasses that perform a variety of functions for the consumer, having less to do with sun protection than with audio, video and mobile phone capabilities.  One can be used to summon a taxi; another can literally wrap your favorite film around your forehead.



Tri-specs, Inc.

With the tag line, “Where high tech meets high fashion,” Tri-specs, Inc. blends high fashion sunglasses with stereo headphones and Bluetooth headset functionality.  It features an acoustically enhanced Bluetooth headset for phone calls, and high fidelity stereo headphones for music.  There are button controls on the arms of the glasses and the pair can be connected to mobile phones and music players, making Tri-specs a wireless fashion accessory.  Advanced software is able to tell the difference between the wearer's voice and other sounds and noises, preserving the natural fidelity of the voice and producing near-perfect voice recognition performance and noise cancellation.  The high-tech sunglasses offer voice prompts and voice dialing for easy, hands-free use, and MP3 control buttons on the arms of each pair.   Tri-specs are available with a variety of features, styles, and colors, so one can look like a super-cool spy while completing a weekly call to mom.


MyVu Personal Media Viewers

MyVu features personal media viewers which offer a big screen feeling in a pair of eyeglasses.  Consumers can watch video with stereo sound while lying on their back, leaning against a wall, or standing on their head.  The viewers are ideal for travel by plane, train, or long unexpected waits in a terminal.  The eyeglasses maintain peripheral vision and are USB chargeable (lasts up to four hours).  There is a Myvu clip-on lens available to accommodate eyeglass wearers (you can’t keep your own on while wearing a MyVu set). The field of view isn’t stretched so a clear, crisp image is maintained and the effect is one of watching a large screen.  The only drawback is that one can become too comfortable in a prone position and lapse into dreamland easily, no matter how sleepless they might be in Seattle.  One can be instantly mesmerized upon first viewing the image, a type of audio/video seduction that can be habit-forming.

With screens coming this close to the eye, can contact lens versions be far behind?  Ear implants for audio transmission?  Stay tuned to this column for future CES innovations and trend forecasts.  In the foreseeable future, at least, it’s apparent that in the field of electronics, the eyes (and ears) have it.

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