Entrepreneurs, techies and nerds are rubbing elbows with the technology industry’s biggest names this week during the International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Known as the conference where futuristic gadgets are introduced to the world at-large, CES is one of the most anticipated annual events in Las Vegas. Here’s a look at products past and present that made their debut at CES.
Remember the days when you had to rewind a movie before returning it to Blockbuster? Wait, back up: Remember Blockbuster? Those Friday nights spent wandering around the aisles, trying to find a flick for the family wouldn’t have been possible if the videocassette recorder hadn’t made its debut at CES, back when the convention’s home was Chicago.
More than 30 years ago, you had to balance a tank on your shoulder to capture your child’s first steps. And you recorded on a videocassette instead of quickly uploading scenes to your laptop. (Was that the sound of a millennial’s mind exploding?) The handheld camcorder made an appearance at CES two years before Sony released its first one for public consumption. Now there’s a tiny camcorder in every smartphone. Think about that the next time you’re watching a cat video on YouTube.
High-Definition Television, 1998
Although the first high-definition broadcast aired in 1996, HDTVs didn’t make it to anyone’s living room until after they were showcased at CES two years later. Back then, few consumers could afford the five-figure price tag; today, they’re as common a household item as a toaster.
Self-Driving Car, 2013
Using a combination of GPS, radar and image-analysis technology, these cars function just like any other automobile, except they don’t need a driver—a godsend for those who text, tweet and are otherwise distracted when on the road. Although driverless cars are not yet available to everyday consumers, Nevada did approve a law authorizing their use in 2011. So who gets the ticket if a cop pulls you over?
Wearable Technology, 2015
With the advent of Google Glass and the Apple Watch, wearable technology is creating a sizeable buzz at this year’s conference. Cnet.com estimates that shipments for wearables will increase five times by 2018. Tech giants such as Samsung, Motorola and Intel are expected to duke it out and lay their claim. Meanwhile, we wait for 2025, when they just implant a device directly in our brains.