By Fredwill Hernandez
Excitement and anticipation are always in the air for the start of the CES, this year turning 50, taking place Jan. 5 – 8, , where over 170,000 electronic enthusiast and those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies from over 140 countries have arrived in Las Vegas, and converged at the Las Vegas Convention and World Trade Center [LVCC] for the trade show.
With so much floor to cover and new things to see, it is really up to each attendees personal taste and preference.
Drones who in the past two years have taken off and seen an explosive consumer demand by selling 1.2 million units during the 2016 holiday season, a 112 percent increase over 2015, according to the Consumer Technology Association [CTA], which owns and produces the CES, are without a doubt one of the main attractions.
One of those companies which plans and has capitalized on those numbers is Autel Robotics, home to the popular X Star [Premium] drone, which boast 4K (Ultra HD) video at 30 fps, 12 MP still images with 108° field of view, and 720p HD video transmission up to 1.2 miles away.
“Here at CES this year we are excited to announce new improvements to our sensor camera module which will be available the second quarter of 2017, it will shoot 20MP stills through the 1-inch CMOS sensor, the larger [1-inch] sensor will allow this camera to perform better in low-light scenarios and capture more cinematic images with a wider aperture,” explained Elliot Westwater, Director of Marketing, Autel Robotics. “Also new and slated to launch in the first quarter of 2017, is the a FLIR Duo dual thermal and visual camera module, able to show both thermal and standard visual light images allowing users to switch between the two in-flight, view both at the same time with picture-in-picture, or see a blended image of both.”
Another interesting company who not only unveiled a couple of unique flying drones, but also an underwater drone is PowerVision.
One of their unique drones is the Power Eye, which can fly for up 30 minutes, has a control range and real-time high definition video stream up to 3.1 miles [5 km], it’s completely collapsible – making it easy to carry, has integrated sensors allowing detection of obstacles within 10 meters, and its best feature in my opinion, a stabilized 3 axis gimbal camera with compatible multiple 4/3 variable lenses for 4k HD with optional thermal imaging.
As drones capabilities and possibilities evolve a new category of drones has come into play under autonomous, a company excited about its future with a drone marketed as safe, portable, foldable, and easy-to-use is Zero Zero Robotics.
“Our product is called the Hover Camera Passport, it’s an autonomous flying camera, we like to call it the ‘self flying personal photographer,’ the reason is because the product always keeps people in the picture, and that’s unique. What is unique about that is the fact that all these other drone companies [drones] are sort of designed for aerial photography, capturing those amazing breathtaking pictures of landscapes, for us actually we are uniquely designed for people. We are very people centric, the product has a carbon fiber enclosure, it has camera able to take 13-megapixels photos, 4k video at 30-frames-per-second, it also has a pretty advance artificial intelligence imbedded in the product. The reason that’s important is because that also supports our claim of being people centric, all you do is tap the button and let it [the drone] go, and it hovers there in place, that type of user interaction hasn’t been provided before until recently until our competitors started providing that as well. In addition to that, one of the neat features that we actually announced [here] at CES was something called owner mode, so what happens [is], it allows you to scan your face with your smart phone so your face is imprinted onto the device [drone], so the next time you decide to operate your device, you don’t need your smart phone, you just turn it on, it finds you and automatically follows [you] and starts capturing video of you. Were moving towards full autonomy, the reason that’s important is because we want to make sure using a flying camera could be so accessible to everyone that all it takes is for you to throw it up on the air. We wanted to build something that is really [really] consumer friendly.” explained Francis Bea, Senior Brand & PR Manager, Zero Zero Robotics’ [Hover Camera].
Another area which has seen growth and consumer interest [at CES] within the last two years has been in Hi-Resolution or Hi-Res audio which starts at 24 bits/88.2 kHz, a typical Cd quality file is 16 bits/44.1 kHz. One can achieve better-than-CD sound quality through higher word lengths, higher sampling frequencies, or both. Hi-res audio is typically 24-bit, with a sampling frequency of 88.2kHz or higher.
With this in mind, and with new technology built by Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) to reduce bandwidth, several download/streaming services, playback system and headphone manufacturers including [music] record labels, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing, the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, have subsequently announced support for the technology, including Pioneer Corporation, Onkyo, Meridian Audio, 7 digital, Sony, Astell & Kern, Jamo, Klipsch Audio and others.
With Hi-Res consumers in mind Pioneer [Corp.] unveiled at the CES the SE-MS7BT wireless or wired audio headphones with Bluetooth capability for music and calling, and the SE-MS5T audio headphone equipped with an in-line microphone making it easy to answer and end a phone call, both utilizing Hi-Res capable large 40mm drivers. Both models will be available in either black, silver, or tan, and only the SE-MS5T will also be available in red.
Pioneer also unveiled at the show, the XDP-300R [Hi-Res] player with a 4.7 inch capacitive touch screen and playback supporting for up to 11.2 MHz DSD, 24 bit/384kHz PCM, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, and MQA it is possible to enjoy any existing Hi-Res audio formats.
Another company which unveiled a couple of new products is Sennheiser, it showcased the upcoming MKE 2 elements, an ultra-tough new microphone designed for high-quality audio capture with GoPro cameras, as well as the forthcoming HandMic digital which combines iOS and USB connectivity with the typical benefits of a Sennheiser microphone and the Apogee PureDigital pre-amp and the A/D converter in a rugged, all-metal housing.
On the headphones side of things, Sennheiser, unveiled [at the show] the HD 4.50BTNC and HD 4.40BT– two new headphones that employ the advanced wireless technology and audio codec of Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX to deliver true wireless Hi-Fi sound, the HD 1 In-Ear Wireless headphone with among other things a 10 hour battery life, and also the new AMBEO Smart Surround – a compact earphone for immersive 3D audio recording.
Speaking of 4K and beyond, a company who has been making headlines [since their inception] with their impressive PanaCast‘s Panoramic-4K Plug-and-Play USB video cameras is Altia Systems, who unveiled at CES, the Panacast 2s, and the PanaCast 3D VR kit, the first system to deliver 180° 3D content with full 4K resolution in real-time, with in-device panoramic video stitching.
“Last year we won an award [at CES] for PanaCast 2 which is the world’s first 4K panaromic camera system, this year we’ve extended that another 80 percent higher in resolution to PanaCast 2s, which is the world’s first 7.4 Megapixel [panaromic] camera, and also made the first real-time 3D camera system were we put two of PanaCast cameras side-by-side synchronized them and it instantly creates 3D in real-time, so you can use that in viewing it like it is or recording it, uploading it, things like that,” eloquently explained Aurangzed Khan, Pres. & CEO, and co-founder, Altia Systems, as he passionately described the cameras’ capabilities, both CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honorees. “You can stream, you can stream the content live, you can of course record it, up loaded to Facebook live or Youtube 360. It creates this very immersive experience, you can view it on Oculus or HTC Vive, or any head mounted display that you like, we showed it with an Avegant Glyph, It is exactly how your eyes process three dimensions so it feels very natural. As you know, we use non distorting lenses so the video looks very normal and natural to the human eye.”