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Highlights from MS in Technology Management Trip to Consumer Electronics Show

When the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) became the epicenter of future tech last week, 26 students from Mason’s MS in Technology Management program were there to check out the latest in automotive, robotics, virtual reality, 3D printing and more.

Led by Professor Kumar Mehta, the group spent four days in Las Vegas at the annual tech-fest that attracted more than 160,000 folks and 3,500 exhibitors.

Here are a few highlights of the show:

High-Tech Cars
While auto shows are essential for selling cars, CES has become the place to show off what’s possible with the next generation of vehicle. The students agreed that the most exciting reveal was the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion concept car. The car drives itself and is equipped with four rotating seats that allow passengers either to sit face-to-face or to pivot around to take manual control of the wheel.

Sudhindra Chillarige (driver) and Jason Mitchell (passenger) in a Corvette Stingray Z06 convertible that goes from zero to 60 mph in about 3 seconds.

Sudhindra Chillarige (driver) and Jason Mitchell (passenger) in a Corvette Stingray Z06 convertible that goes from zero to 60 mph in about 3 seconds.

Robots
Toshiba’s new android robot, made to look like a 32-year-old Japanese hostess, was called “realistic and insanely creepy” as it talked and sang to the CES crowds. These life-like robots are slated for use in service industries. For example, they could replace people who take food orders.

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Professor Kumar Mehta demos virtual reality at the Lowe’s exhibit.

Virtual Reality
Lowes was just one of many businesses showcasing virtual reality. The home improvement store’s product will help home remodelers visualize their finished project before its even begun.

3D Printing
More than 30 innovative companies showcased the latest advancements in 3D printing technology at CES this year. One nifty tool was 3Doodler. The 3D printing pen allows someone to draw in 3D by extruding heated plastic filament that cools almost instantly into a solid, stable structure.

 

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Brad Moldenhauer with the Visijax Commuter Jacket.

Wearables
Smartwatches and fitness bands are hot products today. But industry insiders are predicting that the “smart garment” will be the next wearable hit. For example, the Visijax Commuter Jacket aims to make cycling safer, especially at night, by incorporating 23 LED lights. Lift an arm to indicate a turn to the left or right, and a motion sensor sets off a blinking signal light on the appropriate sleeve.

And More
A company called Emotiv has developed a technology that translates human thoughts into action through neuro-headsets. The company is currently working

Kristin Westergaard tries the prototype of Emotiv's new wireless neuro-headset. CES participants used the headsets to propel small race cars forward.

Kristin Westergaard tries the prototype of Emotiv’s new wireless neuro-headset. CES participants used the headsets to propel small race cars forward.

with developers to solicit a variety of application ideas. For example, a neuro-headset might be used to control a character in a virtual gaming world. They could also revolutionize market research. Rather than asking consumers questions about their experiences, neuro-headsets would enable marketers to just observe the brains of consumers as they walked through stores.

The lucky Class of 2016 was the first MS in Technology Management group to attend the Consumer Electronic Show as a live, case study environment for the HiTech Business Models course taught by Professor Mehta. Much discussion at the show focused on evaluating the impact of new technologies, considering alternative innovative use of the technologies and examining their business context.

“The students received invaluable exposure to industry leaders and cutting-edge products,” said Professor  Mehta. “The trip was a tremendous educational experience.”

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Mary Crowson

Mary Crowson is a program operations specialist for the Research Partnerships and Grants Initiative within George Mason's School of Business.

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