Sunday, January 19

UCLA’s consumer electronics show panels discuss future of technology

MBA student Jacob Bluhm finishes a demonstration of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset at this year's CES at Anderson event. (Daniel Alcazar/Daily Bruin)

One device, a digital speaker assistant, listens to the sounds in a home all day, collecting information for Amazon to personalize each marketing experience. Other gadgets are worn on the body and track fitness or surf the Web while storing personal data.

Panelists at an Anderson School of Management technology showcase discussed these devices at a consumer electronics show called CES at UCLA Thursday. The event, held for the first time at UCLA this year, featured two panel discussions and an outdoor technology exhibition.

UCLA’s Easton Technology Leadership Program and High Tech Business Association organized the event, modeling it on a smaller scale after the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. The Las Vegas event, which has taken place for more than 40 years, features thousands of technology exhibitors, according to the event’s website.

At the exhibit, UCLA students and startup companies presented samples of technology being developed for commercial purposes to dozens of attendants.

The nimon device, resembling a necklace, tracks a wearer’s eating habits by using motion sensors and Bluetooth to transmit data to a smartphone app, said Ebrahim Nemati, one of the UCLA graduate researchers working to develop it.

During Q&A; sessions, panelists addressed questions of privacy, legality and business posed by an audience of Anderson business students and members of the UCLA community. They also talked about the future of technology and its possibilities.

Discussing the use of data collection to drive a business forward, keynote speaker Jason Knapp presented a scenario in which stores would scan consumers for their purchasing history and preferences while strolling through the mall.

“As a society, we’ll have to decide how comfortable we are with this and create regulations accordingly,” said Knapp, chief product officer for Interactive Media Holdings.

He described the possibility of being able to use display technology on a wearable device like Google Glass to pull up someone’s personal information by staring at them.

“I could look around the room and see bits of data hovering over your head,” Knapp said.

The speakers ended their discussion on wearable technology by giving examples of its development for use in the medical field.

Some of the panelists said they think devices such as Google Glass could be used by doctors to order blood work for patients or to monitor the health of entire populations for preventive action.

Compiled by Sam Temblador, Bruin reporter.

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