Welcome to the future! A review of 2014

No longer does NPR stand for the National Public Radio nor does SAT stand for the Scholastic Assessment Test. In the same vein, CES no longer stands for the Consumer Electronics Show. The acronym has been gutted and left to dry on the streets of Las Vegas but the (trade) show must (and does) go on. The glitz and glamor have not been gutted: booth babes roving around the halls of the convention center waiting to pounce on unsuspecting nerds, giant screens flashing epileptic images and speakers that cause multiple organs to explode. After you wade through all those distractions, the hope is that the confusion brought on by total sensory overload would allow the attendants and journalists to be more susceptible to the same pitch that every booth has. The pitch is quite simple: the future.

The various pieces of consumer technology and promises on display at CES highlight the current trend of what will be big (i.e. lucrative) this year. Granted, some of it is blind forecasting like the failure of 3D TVs last year and some of it is jumping on the popular wagon”” there are way too many different phones and tablets in existence. There really is a lot of useless, dumb things on display that manufacturers are desperately hoping becoming the “next big thing” and sell like hotcakes but there are some things that, if the company or idea avoids crashing and dying, could change the world”” even if it is as simple as being able to converse with your appliances.

One positive outcome from all the drones that the government is employing on foreign enemies (religious extremists, haters of freedom, etc.) and domestic enemies (you, your grandma, your dog, etc.) is that the research, interest and manufacturing has brought drone technology to the masses. If you are worried about the police monitoring you at all times then you can retaliate and buy your own drones to spy right back.

Sony, as a company has faced years of instability and decline but has recently been on the rise. It seems management has decided to stop resting on their laurels. Instead of just making the prettiest TVs and the most pixels on a photo, they have focused on trying to lead the charge to the future instead of hobbling along. They are embracing the Internet; one of their big initiatives is Playstation NOW. This service will allow anyone on any device to play games from the latest (or kind of latest) video game consoles. Imagine playing “The Last of Us” on your $200 laptop or old smart phone.

3D printing is progressing at a rapid pace in many different industries”” including the kitchen. 3D Systems will soon be selling food printers. You can print your own candy and chocolate anytime you want. You even get to decide the taste and color. 3D printing will only get bigger and bigger: I think it could be as big as history being viewed as before and after 3D printing.

Oculus Rift’s “Crystal Cove” will change how people play games. I am about as certain of this fact as I am of 3D printing wrecking multiple industries when its potential is technologically realized. “Crystal Cove” is the newest hardware iteration of Oculus Rift, the Virtual Reality goggles. I had a chance to play with an older version that had a a less-than-optimal screen with low frame rate while squinting due to having to remove my glasses but I was instantly sold on the promise of an interactive 3D environment.