One of the greatest pleasures at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 turned out to be the “Eureka” zone. This area of the exhibition, located in The Venetian, was dedicated to showcasing new start-ups with gadgets and ideas just emerging onto the scene.
Of course, CES is always chock full of excitement. However, the raw energy, enthusiasm, and innovation bubbling out of the little Eureka zone was of a different quality; passionate, raw, none of the jaded “been there, done that” attitude that tends to creep up on CES veterans. At the Eureka zone, innovators and inventors showcased their wares and spoke to nearly anyone who would listen of their solution to a market problem they have solved and their raw passion for getting it to market. It was simply and joyously infectious.
Three examples might illustrate a tad of the Eureka zone’s innovation and promise:
- SmarterShade, Inc. for instance. CEO and Founder, Michael Stacey of Chicago, Illinois was enthusiastically showcasing his proprietary technology aimed at making ‘smart glass” simple, better and affordable, even as an aftermarket upgrade. What does it do? Well, SmarterShade allows glass windows, doors, and skylights to be darkened on command with the simple flip of a switch. Stacey positions SmarterShade as an emerging clean technology that can deliver 20-40% on energy savings just by being able to regulate the light, including UV rays, streaming through windows, doors, and skylights. Showing prototypes at CES, Stacey’s excitement was palatable and infectious. SmarterShade hopes to be in market later this year with success at pre-production fund raising. See www.smartershade.com.
- Another example is Jozef Zemia, Co-Founder of CulCharge. While SmarterShade works to conserve energy, CulCharge is out to deliver energy by shipping the most compact charger and data cable yet for smartphones, tablets, and more. Zemia and his company, Ailes International Ltd. of the Slovak Republic, was excitedly showing-off how they went from just-an-idea-to-CES in less than one year by refining and delivering a handy-dandy charger cable so small it will readily fit on a key ring or even discretely fit into a pocket. Of course, they have all the product bases covered, Lightning, MicroUSB, 30-Pin, MiniUSB and each tiny CulCharge is just slightly more than 2” in length. A smart solution that sure beats carrying around the typical, tangled mess of cable(s) needed to charge devices. See www.culcharge.com.
- A third example, and one of the more innovative ideas of CES, came from Tang Luo, Founder and CEO of Handscape (www.hwww.handscape.com). Luo, of Fremont, California, has come up with a practical manner by which a tablet or smartphone can be controlled from the back of the case rather than the glass surface on the front as is typical. This means a user can hold a device in one hand and still access applications and functions using the fingers of the hand holding the device.
Yes, the Eureka exhibition space at CES was a smashing success, both from the perspective of the innovations showcased and for the sheer unbridled passion and fun the innovators and inventors participating brought to life in person. At CES 2015, Eureka will be a top-of-the-list spot to visit. Long live Innovation, Invention, and Passion.