ces 2008

Robot Chauffeur

PopSci test-drives the wholly autonomous Chevy Boss. Check out the video, and see if you can resist the urge to grab at the wheel

Chevy Boss DARPA:  Courtesy tartanracing.org
Too busy to drive? Let the car take the wheel. PopSci recently went for a ride in the Chevy Boss, winner of the 2007 Darpa Urban Challenge. With tricked-out GPS, sonar, laser guidance and a stack of computers, this 2007 Chevy Tahoe SUV can navigate an urban setting, weave around obstacles, and even negotiate intersections with other cars. GM expects the technology to be affordable, and less obtrusive, in about a decade.

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The Maestro Will See You Now

A new video game promises to have you playing and reading music in less than 10 minutes. Does it deliver?

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CES 2008: Audiophile's Delight

Far from the madding crowd of CES lies the high-end audio area, a quiet spot to crank up the world's best systems as loud as you want

by Mike Haney:  Mike Haney
Even if you think the Bose Sound Dock is the pinnacle of audio clarity, you can't find a more pleasant way to spend an afternoon at CES than touring the high-end-audio area, moved last year from a sketchy off-Strip motel to the Venetian. There are no flat-panels in sight. No pushy PR people. No throngs. Just room after room of equipment you can't afford, all set up simply for you to sit and listen to unbelievably realistic reproductions, for as long as you like.

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Hydrogen is Hot

Chevy's fuel-cell SUV zips around Las Vegas

I knew that GM had built real, road-ready hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. But I didnt really believe it until I saw one, and drove it.

The Chevy Equinox I piloted—one of about one hundred that GM will put on the road later this year—looked as polished and user-friendly as any new car on the lot. Its a comfy, soccer-mom/dad vehicle that seems like any other small SUV until you turn the ignition—err, I mean the key. There is no ignition.

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A Picture in Your Pocket

A handheld projector puts a big screen anywhere

microvision_arta.jpg: FULL COLOR By using three lasers, the PicoP projector creates a broader range of colors than most TVs can.
Your next cellphone could have a 100-inch screen—without getting an inch bigger. Microvision's tiny PicoP projector can turn a wall, tabletop or any other surface into a display. It's small enough to fit in pocket-sized gadgets because it uses lasers, which sip power, are extremely bright, and produce little heat. They also do away with bulky lenses: The pinpoint beams are always in focus, from any distance.

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Car Fetishists Rejoice

Anything goes in CES's auto-focused North Hall—from the latest ear-bursting custom audio rigs to wacky international wholesalers to, well, ex-Playmates hawking leopard-print Tasers

by John Mahoney:  John Mahoney
While most of CES is devoted to all things geek, there is one hall where the more macho gearheads come out to play every year: the temple to high-watt subwoofers and tricked-out rides that is the North Hall.

Launch our photo tour here.

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CES 2008: Television City

No matter how many wild new gadgets the big players can dream up, there's one thing CES will never be without: boatloads of brand-new TVs. Check out the latest innovative sets in our day-one gallery

Every year, television innovations make up the backbone of every major consumer-electronics player's booth. And for good reason—we've been buying televisions for well over 50 years now, with no sign of slowing anytime soon. Try saying that about any of the other product families at CES—personal computers are practically infants in comparison.

This year, the race for the biggest picture is as heated as always, although the parade of massive, mini-Jumbotrons are now sharing the spotlight with razor-thin OLED sets.

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CES: Peripherals

To a certain extent, your computer's only as good as the stuff you plug into it. Give yours more than a face lift with these add-ons we've been eyeing. The Printstik, above, is just one of the thoughtful and well-designed peripherals debuting at CES. Check out some more, after the jump.—Abby Seiff

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A Computer That Recognizes You

I went by Lenovos booth to check out their new laptops, and it turned out that their laptops checked me out instead. Thats because the laptops use your face, in addition to your password, as a security measure. As soon as you approach, the webcam takes your picture. Then face-recognition software called VeriFace compares your pic to photos of authorized users. If they match, you can log into the computer. If they dont match, its a double whammy: Not only can you not log in, but the PC saves your pic, so the real owner can see whos been snooping around her laptop. The tech showed up on a couple of Lenovos business-y ThinkPad laptops last year, but is about to make a much bigger showing now that Lenovos releasing its first consumer laptops for the U.S.—Lauren Aaronson

Want more? Check out our entire CES 2008 coverage here.

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Gaming at CES

On the one hand, Vegas does gaming really, really well. On the other, well, maybe it's not its strong suit. Even though gamers may get less CES love than the larger gadget crowd, if these products are any indication, they shouldn't feel short-shrifted; it's quality.—Abby Seiff

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Pioneer Unveils Skinniest TV Yet

Pioneer invited us to get a first look at its Advanced
Design Concept TV last night before the start of the show. Even this TV weary
tech reporter was agog at the thing. The 50-inch diagonal screen plasma
measures just 9 millimeters thick—less than an iPod and way skinnier than any
other full-sized TV. (Sony’s Lilliputian OLED set notwithstanding.)

Like JVC’s thin LCD, the Pioneer does have a small dirty
secret—a hump on the back that holds the electronics for the panel. But even
this is a mere 20-some millimeters thick. (Pioneer reps couldn’t remember the
exact figure.) And this is the real innovation.

Turns out 9 millimeters is about the same thickness of the glass panels inside all Pioneer’s current TVs. But the power supply and
extremely complex drive circuitry makes the whole thing about 100 millimeters
(4 inches) thick. It’s not clear whether this also includes the power
supply—probably the bulkiest component.

How did Pioneer do it? Well, they’re not saying. But there
is clearly some serious foo involved. So when can you get it? Pioneer says it
won’t be out in the coming year, but they definitely will sell it—combined with
their amazing new infinite contrast screen technology prototype (also revealed
at CES) as soon as they can. My bet is sometime in 2009.—Sean Captain

Want more? Check out our entire CES 2008 coverage here.

Bike Like an Egyptian

Tiny pyramids make for the toughest mountain-bike frame yet

If a simple polygon can hold up a pharaoh's tomb for 4,500 years, it should survive some off-road riding. That's the thinking behind the 2.75-pound Arantix mountain-bike frame from Delta 7 Sports. It's 10 times as strong as a steel frame of the same weight would be—enough to survive the company's informal "run- over" test with a Ford F350 pickup.
bike_485:  Greg Neumaier

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CES 2008: Ready for Your Close-Up

The first camcorders with face detection keep the stars in focus

camc_485.jpg: Mix it Up: The HDR-UX20 records one hour of high-definition video to internal memory, 20 minutes to DVDs or up to two hours onto Memory Stick cards. You can create mixes by transferring video clips from internal memory to DVDs or Memory Sticks.
Photographers have it easy: They need to catch their subjects looking great for only a split second. Videographers have to capture a good-looking scene for several minutes. Sony helps them out by equipping its newest camcorders with face detection, which finds up to eight mugs and continually adjusts the focus, exposure and color to optimize their appearance.

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CES 2008: The Sliver Screen

Flat-panel televisions go from slender to waifish

hitachi_485.jpg: Hitachi claims that image quality on its slim TVs will be the same as on its standard models.
Your standard LCD may be svelte compared with the old tube set, but at about four inches thick, it hardly hangs flat like a picture frame. For that, you need Hitachi's new Ultra Slim TV, redesigned to a negligible 1.5 inches thick but up to 42 inches diagonally. In principle, Ultra Slim models work the same as standard LCDs: Fluorescent tubes illuminate a liquid-crystal display from behind.

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Your Gaming Rig Needs the Alienware Curved Display

Sure you've seen two big flat-panels linked together side by side on gaming rigs before. But this bad boy ties them into one sveltely-curved unit. The Alienware Curved is a single 2880x900 (2x WXGA+ resolution), powered by DLP projection (so it's not that svelte, from behind anyway). But it works with any game that already supports dual-head WXGA+ setups and should hit gaming dens near you in the second half of '08. —John Mahoney

Want more? Check out our entire CES 2008 coverage here.

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