Maybe it's just a New Year's hangover, but I always feel let down by the news that comes out of the annual Consumer Electronics Show at the beginning of January. CES is supposed to detail the next year's worth of gadgetry and technology, laying out what the immediate future will look like. And unfortunately, the future usually looks like celebrity fails and wi-fi crock pots. But this year's CES news has brought two visions of future technology that look really promising to me. One of the ideas is a new way of interacting with computers. Another is a concept that should've been in place at the dawn of personal computing.
First is the Sony keynote about LifeSpace UX. This is an upcoming array of products that could eventually turn basically any flat space into a computing workspace using a high-definition laser projector. (The Verge has video of the keynote.) There have been plenty of concept technologies that use projectors to enhance the personal computing experience, and the first company to get the concept exactly right, Sony or not, is going to make a whole lot of money and change the face of technology forever. Touchscreen technology has made computing feel approachable and cozy, like a pet curling up in your lap. Projection technology will make your surroundings feel like they've come to life. It's the next logical step in interaction.
Second is the Christine modular desktop concept from Razer. It's a computer that is entirely modular, so if, say, you believe your device's RAM is insufficient for your needs, you can just buy a new RAM module and plug it in. Same for hard drives and graphic cards and so on. The comments to the Gizmodo post I linked to above are full of people who say that modern computers are already modular, but they're presumably more tech-informed than 99% of the computer-buying public. While it's true that most computers can be modified, most people aren't comfortable with, or simply don't want to bother with, learning the process to get inside the computer and solder new parts into place. I can't believe a tech company hasn't already made this concept real and available to the public: I think people would be willing to pay a lot of money for a proprietary system that promised a future-proof desktop.