This year's CES seems to be less attended than last year. That is based upon my observation, and not the "official" attendance given out by CES. During the depths of the recession, when you could have sprayed most pavilions with machine gun fire and not hurt anyone who wasn't an exhibitor, they were still claiming over 100,000 visitors.
Well I use some old school methods to tell me if it is busy. How long is the lineup at Starbucks? How long is the lineup to use the washroom? How much is parking at Piero's, the restaurant across the street from the convention center.
Well the lineups at Starbucks are only about 10 minutes. There have been no lineups to the washrooms this year, and I parked at Piero's today for just $20.00. Whenever it is busy they charge $40.00.
This is the year of the 3D printer. There are dozens of brands and technologies. Makerbot, the 800lb. gorilla of the desktop 3D printer was showing some 3D rendering platforms. Just drop your item on the platform and the system will create the 3D image of it, and you can immediately print it out. Ready to work, out of the box, units were showing with retail prices as low as $499.99.
Two interesting takes on 3D printing were a company that uses glue and lasers to make each layer from a sheet of paper. The final result is not plastic, but solid paper. Another company was showing their direct metal printing. Using an industrial type of machine, definitely not for the home, this unit can create complex gears and metal assemblies without casting. It sprays a metal powder that their machine immediately melts to create the metal device in real time. I have seen units that would create the part in wax, which was then sand cast, but this unit directly prints the part.
But on the consumer electronics side, there are not many products that get you excited.
I'll give my final report tomorrow.