CeBIT Trade Fair 2015, Day 1

Haaga-Helia sees it fit to send teachers to trade fairs to sniff out the latest trends in IT. This year it was my turn to join the team and fly out to Hamburg, then take the train to Hannover where the gigantic expo is held every year. Together with two colleagues I signed in at the fair around noon today and will spend four days walking around. This is what I found today.

Quadcopter with ordinary iPhone or Android phone as control

Quadcopter with ordinary iPhone or Android phone as control

The first thing that got my eye was this very light quad. It has a HD 1080 camera, a 9 volt battery driving the four tiny motors, and an endurance of 10 minutes. Self-homing and battery alarm with auto-landing are of course included. I discussed the structure with the dealer and found that if I were to get the wired parts and motors from the manufacturer, in a sort of DIY package, I could design and print the rest in a very short time. They promised to see whether there could be a DIY package available.

The next item was this:

6-way motion sensing mouse

6-way motion sensing mouse

I have been looking for new types of human-computer interface, and this gyroscopic mouse fit the bill. It senses the way it is moved and could be used in games or other types of applications where the use case actually supports more than two degrees of freedom. It doesn’t appear very useful in Excel or Word, but it was nicely designed and offered some promise.

I then strolled over to a desk that had this:

Multicolor filament

Multicolor filament

I had never seen a PLA filament like this, where the actual line itself is multicolored. It changes color in a random fashion all along its lenght. This gives birth to some unusual effects in the printed pieces, a couple of which are here:

Dual color pot

Dual color pot

Tricolor filament, red-gold-white

Tricolor filament, red-gold-white

The company was also about to launch its printer. I don’t remember where I had seen this structure before, but basically it is a 3-way print head movement type structure. The table is always aligned (or so they said) and it had no heating. I am a little wary of having rubber transmission for all three axes, but it looked solid enough, and all its parts except the ones they had bought were self-printed with the multicolor filament.

Spider-like 3D printer

Spider-like 3D printer

Next up were a set of scooters. Now that Segway has solved the basic structure, it seems that there are a multitude of such devices entering the market. This company had a tiny model with no handle, but the visitors who tested it seemed to get the hang of it very fast. I did not try, just to be on the safe side.

Scooter boards

Scooter boards

Things got interesting at the CODE_n, a competition for unconventional business ideas.

CODE_n

CODE_n

Their press release says: “CODE_n at CeBIT: world-class conference program for digital pioneers, innovators and decision makers”. Supported by many very big players in the field, the exhibition had many interesting young entrepreneurs, some from Finland even, such as Cozify:

Manage your home with Cozify

Manage your home with Cozify

Their app and its control box are able to connect just about anything you have in your house to a single screen on your mobile phone. It looked like a very neat and well-designed interface to the sprawling digital world we have in our homes.

Other interesting devices were a temperature-based system for finding out whether there are people in a room, with a 30 cm resolution. It was very fast too, and I was happy to see the test devices were housed in PLA-printed boxes. Another interesting one was the HUDWAY glass, which is a post-installable HUD device – just place your smartphone on the tray, and the see-thru semi-reflective surface will show its display as if you had a uead-up display in the car.

There were many desks at which one could talk with the big players, and at one of these there was a rather original user interface to a data set:

Aisoy social robotics were interesting too, little Raspberry Pi-based creatures that could be programmed in a variety of methods such as MIT Scratch and C++. All in all it can be said that the CODE_n has a fresh and innovative approach to the Internet of Things, which will hit us very soon. Oh, and they had the huge industrial robots you could control yourself by going to a website and issuing a form the robots would carve of styrofoam (the smell of hot styrofoam reminded me of my years of modelmaking as a kid – yuck).

Day 2 will dawn soon, and I will try to find new stuff to report. As the last thing, here’s the silliest thing I found: a fan that has LEDs attached so you can form letters and figures as the fan rotates.

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About heikkihietala

Heikki Hietala has worked at the crossroads of IT and language since 1986. He studied at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. With an M.A. in English Philology and minor degrees in Communication and Information Technology, he has seen action at Microsoft, McKinsey & Company, Lionbridge, Bates Advertising and since September 2003, HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences. His interests of late have been user interface design and usability, 3D Design using Blender, and information technology for the small and medium enterprises. In his spare time he writes fiction in English. His novel, "Tulagi Hotel", was published in 2010 and a short story collection, "Filtered Light and Other Stories", in 2012. Tulagi Hotel is now available in Kindle and in paperback (also at Akateeminen Kirjakauppa), published by Fingerpress UK. "Hotelli Tulagi" on saatavana myös suomeksi kirjakaupoista kautta maan.
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