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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January 2005, 16:30 GMT
Innovation Nation at CES
Spencer Kelly
Spencer Kelly
BBC Click Online reporter

Most of the technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will be in the shops shortly. However, Spencer Kelly also gets a glimpse of the gadgets of the future.

3D television
New technology now allows 3D television to be a reality
At CES it is not just toys of technology that are on display, there is also a tent dedicated to the exhibition of concepts.

In the Innovations tent you will not find any huge companies, but you will find plenty of small ones with big ideas.

3D TV has been tried before.

The trick is to show your left and right eyes two slightly different images to achieve a perception of depth.

The stumbling block has always been that we have had to wear special glasses to make it work.

One method used different coloured lenses to filter out two separate images from the combined one shown on the screen.

At CES, they have dispensed with the glasses, and stuck the filter onto the screen.

A series of diagonal lines obscure some images from one eye and some from the other.

Tom Bowen Wright
Tom Bowen Wright, Opticality says:

"What we're doing here is actually playing eight different videos on the same screen and interlacing them next to each other in accordance with the filter, which is overlaid on top of the screen. So at any point in time your left eye will be seeing one of the eight views, your right eye will be seeing a different one of the eight views, and six of those eight views will be occluded so you can't see them."

You need to be in one of the "sweet spots" to fully appreciate the effect, and if you move around, or you get too close, you can see the eight images swapping about.

It is obviously difficult to appreciate in our streaming media clips on your 2D computer screen, but the 3D effect does work. Just.

Video streaming

And while we are on the subject of TV, how about mobile TV?

Now of course, we have already reported on mobile TV, which is big in Korea, with pictures streamed over their super-fast 3G network.

But apparently, you do not need a super-fast network to stream live TV.

Here at the show, they were streaming it over the older, slower 2.5G network.

Or at least, they were trying to.

So many people were using their phones at CES that getting a connection was difficult.

Getting enough bandwidth for a proper demonstration was impossible, so pre-recorded video files were used.

Visual data

And finally, something even more different.

Ambient colour devices
New technology has allowed data to displayed in new ways
The internet is a source of enormous amounts of information.

Ambient Devices are products that take your choice of information and display it in a novel way, in soothing soft colours.

Bonnie Hamje, Ambient Devices:

"Our weather beacon, for example, tracks the forecast so the colour would indicate the temperature forecast for the day, and if it pulses slightly it would indicate that precipitation is indicated in the forecast."

The Ambient colour devices can actually be linked to any Internet data you like, the movement of the stock market, the temperature outside, and even homeland security.

And if you need more than just a colour, then how about a retro needle and dial? The detachable fascias allow you to view more data from anywhere on the web.

The data is broadcast on the radio paging network across the states.

Each fascia has a series of coded dots at the bottom to tell the dashboard device which particular data to listen out for, be it weather, number of emails waiting, and so on.

Who knows, one day all data could be delivered this way.


Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. It can be watched on the website from late Friday afternoon. A short version is also shown on BBC Two and BBC News 24 as part of BBC Breakfast: Saturday at 0645. Also BBC World.

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