I came to CES 2015 expecting to set my eyes upon the future of consumer electronics. While I definitely saw conceptual, developed, and futuristic ideas, like Mercedes-Benz’s self-driving car or LG’s phone that heals scratches, I was somewhat disappointed when I ended up seeing more of the same — iPhone cases, drones, and wearable tech. That was until I strolled by a line forming along the outskirts of the Sony CES booth. Having not seen a lot of lines aside from when I wanted to catch a cab, use the men’s room, or grab an iced coffee at Starbucks, my curiosity got the best of me — and I am so glad it did.
After roughly 25 minutes of waiting, I entered a room that looked like a typical upper-class American home, but was like nothing I would have expected (except for the fact there was a drunk lady giggling with beer in-hand — CES was in Vegas, after all). It was a demonstration for Sony’s vision of the future of home living, the Life Space UX; a collection of products that compliment a home, blending into surroundings rather than taking up a significant amount of space the same way an HDTV or speaker system would. The goal here is to have your electronics and audiovisual experiences at home work around you and your living space, instead of having to alter your home to accommodate your electronics (think rearranging a living room for a TV stand or installing shelving for your rear surround speakers).
Attendees were ushered from room to room in this mock demo home to see unique ways the Life Space UX collection of products could fit into everyday life. Some of them, while having a smaller footprint were still visible, others were completely unobtrusive. For example, a ceiling lamp providing illumination was also a short-throw projector, beaming video footage from a television source onto the ceiling above — removing the need to sit up in bed to watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones.
Another non-illuminated, portable, short-throw projector was placed on the ground, turning a nearby wall in the bedroom into a fireplace. Yet another was placed inside a shower given as an example of ways to entertain a rambunctious toddler that hates to bathe. They’re “splash-proof” for bathroom or kitchen applications, which lends itself to the possibility of poolside usage. Whatever scenario you can dream up, the Life Space UX short-throw projector has a place.
In the same room, an ordinary light bulb was swapped out of a lamp for an LED bulb-speaker that both emitted light, as well as beautiful room-filling sound that can stream music from your smartphone. Think about your own home and how many light bulbs you have per room. Now imagine doing your Spring cleaning. As you move from one room to another, so does your custom playlist of your favorite songs without having to pick up and move a bluetooth speaker or blast a stationary speaker so loud that it deafens in one room, but is muffled in another. Again, the products compliment everyday living.
Sony had announced a new Symphonic Light Speaker at their press conference that works similarly to this LED bulb speaker, but uses a technology that projects room-filling high-quality audio in all directions. They invited us to walk around during this part of the demonstration so we could experience the sound quality remaining constant, no matter where we stood or what obstruction might be in the way. And these Symphonic Light Speakers hung disguised as stunning dining room light fixtures — impossible to tell that they were speakers at all, let alone able to produce sound so clear — so powerful.
The most unique of all the products was the overhead lamp that was hanging over a table top desk that doubles as a compact laser projector, creating a usable “touch-screen” workspace on the table under it. This probably applied the least to the everyday home experience, but was impressive nonetheless. A handful of screens were projected onto the surface of the table that could be dragged and dropped to whatever orientation the user pleases, and interacted with the same way you would a tablet — playing videos, scrolling through a slideshow of vacation photos, or using it to get some work done.
Finally, Sony encouraged the room full of press, investors, and regular attendees to have a seat on the couch and showed off the product that took up the most space, but also provided the most wow-factor, the 4K Ultra Short-Throw Projector, capable of displaying up to 147 inches of high-resolution images on a largeenough wall. The Sony Pictures-produced Amazing Spider-Man 2 appeared on the wall out of thin air in crisp 4K during an explosion-filled showdown between Spidey and Electro, and the room shook from the bass and sound.
Appropriately, the Life Space UX demo was the very last thing I saw at CES 2015 and left me with the most lasting impression, finally satisfying my desire to get a glimpse into the future.
To see what else CraveOnline experienced at CES 2015, check out our CES hub for extensive coverage.