CES Is Upon Us

Jonathan Strickland

Today in Technology: This handy device prevents Jonathan from being forcibly ejected from media events.

I'm in Las Vegas for CES and even though the show floor won't open until tomorrow things have already taken off. First, a little insider information for those of you who have never attended: CES is an industry-only event, meaning you have to either be in the consumer electronics industry in some way or be part of the media that covers such things. Everyone is required to wear a badge while going to CES events. Badges are our caste system and people do make snap judgments based on what your badge says.

This year, CES streamlined the badge situation by allowing people (even we lowly members of the press) to pick up badges just by presenting a confirmation number and an official form of identification. For the first time, I could pick up my badge at the airport instead of going to one of the official press rooms.

Just a few years ago, CES added QR codes to badges so that exhibitors and event organizers could scan badges as people entered a space. The code linked to the official information for that person -- email address, affiliation, favorite buffet in Vegas, etc. This year, they've gotten rid of the codes and added in an NFC chip to the badges. Now all they have to do is get close to you to get all that information. It's fun! And a little scary!

The press is already very active. Last night, we attended CES Unveiled. This is a relatively small event filled with exhibitors who might otherwise be overlooked as you rush around looking at the enormous booths from companies like Sony and Intel. I attended and scouted out some companies that I'll take a closer look at later, like Kolibree, a company that makes a smart toothbrush. It actually tracks your brushing habits and then sends you data over a Bluetooth connection to your mobile device.

Of course, that's not all I saw. There were flying robots, flipping robots, thin subwoofers, Internet-connected sensors and all sorts of gizmos and doodads. But this isn't even the tip of the iceberg. Today, I'll be attending press events from companies big and small. Tomorrow, we'll shoot our first of two Fw:Thinking videos while I'm here (who knows, maybe we'll get some extra footage for bonus episodes if we're lucky). It looks like it's going to be a busy week! Stay tuned!