CNET’s Next Big Thing: The New Hardware


Smartphone and tablet designs have stagnated, but sensor-based hardware innovation is thriving in unexpected places. Startups and companies with no tech history are developing whole new device types for our homes, cars, and bodies. This panel investigates where traditional manufacturers stand and which new players are leading the hardware revolution.

Brian Cooley, Editor at Large


James Buczkowski, Technical Fellow and Director, Electrical and Electronics Systems, Research and Advanced


Julie Larson-Green, EVP, Devices and Studios


Mike Bell, VP and GM New Devices Group

Intel Corporation

Sonny Vu, CEO and Founder

Misfit Wearables

Tim Stevens, Editor-at-Large


The Next Big Thing — Notes:

Hardware, software and service all coming together.

The Next big thing? Tech will input everything for you  – without your conscious input – Car Executions: Sensors in car seats; heart rate give feedback to driver in real time. Dealing with driver distraction is huge reason to make the interaction passive or for the device to collect data without the human taking conscious attention away from the wheel.

Solution: “hot / cold game” with gaze detection in the car ( the car would say “yes that’s their house” instead of “destination is on your left” )

Coined: “ambient sensing” — Intel calls it: “perceptual computing”

How to interact without touching and swiping — a static form factor limits creativity

Tech will recognize you without the need to tell it your name:

Use it for driver habits – car key / car knows who you are / sets seats; common destinations; logs driving habits separately —  (Shilpan!)

Microsoft journey: surface table – added touch into windows 7 – then to kinect

Wearables for authentication — finger print phone — face recognition on xbox — magic band @ disney — We need something like that for the rest of the year —-start your car ; open your house ; even a heart rate signature is pretty accurate

or to predict health — heart attack

One Device Per Application 

Connected devices are heading in the direction of becoming more of a one purpose  per device ecosystem. “kindle loses magic when features are added”

Wearables — Tech with you all the time

Smart phone; mobile internet are the enablers

First….wearables weren’t wearable — because you “wouldn’t” wear it. It was about the combo of look and functionality – design as an art form for gadgets. So, they get people to wear stuff first – then improve. Metal design – is in the “wearable category” of  women — “people don’t like to wear plastic rubber.” You want to wear wood or metal — it feels like fine jewelry.

Future of wearable devices – The really needed technology is increasing battery life for small batteries

Devices will be linked directly to whatever app they like — open source the software write your own

What the killer use cases will be for a wearable context?????? (He suspects it’s not fitness…)

Car / wearable/ phone — all sensing the same stuff — do we need all?

Leverage the connectedness to use one device to serve the app or information

No islands for data — needs to be able to share on the same platform — need to stop the proprietary data types — the consumer looses if the devices can’t talk to each other seamlessly!

What’s the down Side? one big data port

Physical / Health — privacy concerns for sensor based services

Home sensors — could the service provider deny personal preferences that are wasteful?

Share data between devices

Connect to each other directly

More devices should be stand alone

There are standards for physical connectivity, but we need standards for for discovering and naming devices — bonjour is an existing example

Advertising Data mining — only share if they want to

Keeping health info private – should be able to exchange that for other benefits like lower health plan etc…

“Put value on their data on it and let them choose to spend it.”

New sensors — what sensors? What should we have?

“We’re not even taking advantage of the ones we have.”

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