The Silicon Valley Voice

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DEMO Show Takes Its Annual Look into the Tech Crystal Ball

Last week the DEMO show rolled into town at the Santa Clara Convention Center. While it doesn’t get the same media hype as, for example, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas every January, DEMO is arguably at least as important in introducing the Next New Thing to the world.

For example, here are two DEMO alums that have become household names: TiVO and E-Trade. This year’s show aspirants for technology immortality offered some very logical developments on emerging tech.

Taking its inspiration from the futuristic Google Glass headset, Skully Helmets’ new motorcycle helmet lets motorcyclists listen to music, get GPS info, take a phone call, and see what’s behind them. One can only hope motorcyclists don’t plan on driving while wearing this.

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More safe is Bounce Imaging’s Explorer sensor ball, which helps first-responders judge a situation before stepping into it. Toss it into a space and Explorer provides a 360° remote view plus data like temperature, radiation, and oxygen levels.

Some offerings provided an unintended reflection on the technological backwardness of medical care. Seratis aims to midwife hospitals into the present by replacing their pagers with apps that run on smartphones and tablets. For those who’ve given up hope of medical care making the leap into the connected 21st century, Hello Doctor lets patients consolidate their own medical records in one place – which they can then display on their own device at the doctor’s office.

Despite the hype of cloud computing, most of us still keep our software running locally on our computers. Sometimes online versions of these familiar tools don’t provide the features and speed of the local version. In other cases, no Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) version exists. The reason is simple: software companies have to rewrite these applications to run as a service.

Mainframe2 aims to change that with software that will enable any Window-based application to run over the Internet via a Web browser; even high intensity applications like Adobe PhotoShop and AutoCAD. In other words, expect to see everything work like Salesforce.com.

Today, there’s an app for just about everything. And yet most of us use only a fraction of them, because the multiple levels of menus are simply too clumsy and complicated. Some companies see this a market opportunity for special purpose appliances – for example, Amazon’s original Kindle.

Oscar Care debuted its Oscar Communicator, a tablet that supplies two-way communications between individuals and their families, as well as both one-touch and voice access to family members, the Internet, and services such as 911 – no keyboard involved. It also allows remote management for designated users – for example, the neighbor or relative you call when get your computer isn’t working right. Our only complaint: it’s billed as a “senior” device.

Old people aren’t the only ones who’d like to see technology simplify – instead of complicate – their lives.

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