By kamarr richée, January 24, 2011

 

reflektions on CES: looking back on the future

 

 

swimming through sound

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

first i have to say that i am not a big fan of techno. i have been to one rave (great location, dismal turnout), i’ve never done ecstasy and jumping up and down in the middle of a crowd with kid’s toys around my neck while dressed like an out-of-work Dr. Seuss character has never interested me. that said, watching a DJ spin some overly vague instrument heavy techno while dressed up as an astronaut through 3D glass with a screen the size of my house behind him showering me with magical imagery was quite awesome. but here i find myself jumping to the last two-thirds of my story, when it’s the beginning you want me to start with. it was day one of CES. last year my wife and i had missed the first day and i was quite excited about being there for this year. Sony, Motorola, Android and Samsung had all put a damper on things by holding huge press conferences the night before revealing the majority of their announcements in advance; this left me with a sense of “on time is still too late” as i checked into our time share early that morning. but after a nice nap, i awoke with a renewed excitement for being a part of the multitude to swarm into Vegas for the only tech show that you need all year. first we missed the last shuttle, then we had some issues getting on the monorail, and then in my anxious excitement we walked over to South Hall instead of North to start our day, only adding to the wait before i could be inundated with tech. on our way to North Hall, i decided i could wait no longer and had us duck in through the side access to Central Hall, right into the back end of the Intel and Microsoft exhibits. stunning? yes. moving? yes. impressive? no. they were both honestly in the exact same space they had occupied last year, displaying almost the same things. Intel had a smattering of tablets, most of which i had seen last year but had still not made i to market yet. Microsoft had a bunch of booths with long lines to play Kinect in a bubble where the whole world could watch and a line of Windows Phone 7 phones; cool thing there was hearing a guy ask a rep where their Android phones were. i guess some people don’t actually belong at CES just ‘cause they could get a badge holder. anyhow, after browsing our way through Samsung (awesome as ever; i actually visited them every day), Polaroid, Cannon and Sharp, we found ourselves on the far edge of Sony. first intrigued by some 3D camcorders you could play with, we stopped to see the action, oblivious to the crowd of 30 to 50 something’s staring at the screen behind us with glasses on or the rhythmic music slowly swelling in the background. in fact, it wasn’t until we asked for glasses to better see the stuff we were playing with that i turned and noticed the guy in the astronaut suit.

 

 

 

  and then i noticed the undulating stars caress my optic nerves in tune with the beat massaging my endolymphatics; and it struck me: there is something extremely awesome taking place here; it is time to stop being a nerd and showing off tech to my wife and start being a geek and absorbing what is happening. we quickly got some glasses for Laura too and slowly edged our way into the crowd to a vantage point where we could allow our minds to wander; and wander they did. or at least mine did, i didn’t really ask my wife if hers did. it was truly amazing. floating through space and exploring the stars, swimming through the sound as the visualizations expand. whenever i found myself drifting back to reality and being surrounded by a bunch of middle-aged company execs i would see the astronaut, grooving and clapping to the beat and remember “these people aren’t real; their suits are a mirage. only the sounds, only the journey is real here” and i’d be off again. our world is being hammered with 3D movies and cameras and gaming consoles; 3D it has quickly become the new HD, and as you can tell by the tube containing box to be found in my entertainment center, i haven’t even bought into that trend yet. so no, i’m not a fan of 3D. but after those brief moments of joy, i could change. i truly believe that that day at CES was a glimpse into the way all 3D should be, a smorgasbord of sensory input; an experience so fluid and immense that it doesn’t just pop out at you or feel like it might be real but subverts reality and becomes the only thing you believe is real. in essence, 3D will have finally made it when it can do what a good book has always done for me: take you from the world you are in and place in the one you wish to be in with such ease and skill that coming back to reality is a nightmare in and of itself.

 

 

 

 

Read about kamarr and find his blog here.

 

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