So much to see at CES

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Thursday, January 11, 2018

Astronomy magazine Contributing Editor Ray Shubinski accompanied me through much of CES on Thursday, January 11. I shot him as he stood by the Moon globes produced by AstroReality. // Michael E. Bakich
This week, I’m at CES (the gathering formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show), which is taking place in the massive Las Vegas Convention Center.

Today was my second day, one I’ll call “return of the tourist.”

Yesterday was full of eye-opening sights, but I spent the early part of the day (before the power went out) only in the South Hall one of three giant venues side by side at the Convention Center. Today was filled with meetings in all three giant halls, but I didn’t go to them alone. Ray Shubinski, a long-time friend and one of the magazine’s contributing editors, accompanied me. Ray lives in Las Vegas and teaches college here.

At a convention like CES, it's going to be hard for any company to compete with the display Intel created. // Michael E. Bakich
Our first meeting was with Kodak. Most astroimagers who contribute to the magazine shoot with either Canon or Nikon cameras. Well, there’s a new kid in town. We heard all about the new Kodak cameras and will be getting two of them to review. One is a mirrorless DSLR, and the other is a smaller unit designed to shoot a hemispheric image, which makes it, essentially, an all-sky camera. Will it be sensitive enough to record aurorae, meteors, and the Milky Way? We’ll all find out in an upcoming story.

Our next meeting was with AstroReality, a manufacturer that produces 3-D printed Moon globes in two sizes. OK, not the first, right? The cool part, tho, was when the rep fired up an app on her phone and pointed the camera at the globe. It showed the globe with features identified. “Oh, that’s where Copernicus Crater is.”  :)

The app reached another level when she selected one of the features. Immediately, five smaller screens popped up. Select one, and it zoomed full screen to reveal some image or cool fact about the feature. And when you rotated the globe, feature identifications would appear and disappear as the features did. Yeah. Very cool. Oh, and they’re currently working on a Pluto globe.

It was great to see NASA at CES. The space agency wants the public to know that it's involved in the highest of high-tech. // Michael E. Bakich
Ray and I ambled around CES all day, chatting with folks, checking out some nice binoculars and adapters that will let you use your phone to image through telescopes or binoculars, and, admittedly, being diverted by awesome video, sound, or robotics.

We also stopped by the NASA display to chat. The folks there were showing off their drone tech, images from spacecraft, and the spacecraft themselves. OK, models. The agency wants to let folks know what its up to. I’ve seen them at San Diego Comic-Con several times, but this was my first encounter with NASA at CES.

A big thanks to Ray Shubinski for a fun and fruitful day. More as it happens.

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