What CES Innovations in Product Design?

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Mark ShwartzOn CE asked product design expert Mark Schwartz, founder and CEO of PDT, to share his view on product design innovations at this year's CES. Schwartz started his career at Zenith Electronics but you'll know his designs best from cutting-edge cellular products that helped establish Motorola's early lead as a cell phone maker.

Razer's 'Project Fiona' Tablet Gaming PC

This game-changing device is the first tablet in the world designed specifically for portable gaming. While it looks like a standard tablet PC with handlebar-style controllers added to either side, Project Fiona is a game changer with the power and singularity of purpose to become the hardware of choice for PC game enthusiasts. Kudos to Razer for innovating in a space that has otherwise become increasingly commoditized.

Gorilla Glass 2

One of the most noteworthy introductions at CES 2012 was a technology poised to impact just about every device that requires a thin, durable screen with touch-sensitivity. Corning's Gorilla Glass is already used in hundreds of products, and the company's next generation Gorilla Glass 2 will enable product design and development teams globally to innovate in categories where 0.1 percent of a millimeter is critical for bragging rights. Aready used in HP's new Ultrabook computer, Gorilla Glass 2 can produce screens that are 20 percent thinner, with greater visibility and even less resistance for touch-sensing.

Ford's SYNC®-Based Health and Wellness Technology

Several automakers are working to integrate their cars with capabilities once reserved for the office or home, but none is doing it on a more ambitious scale than Ford. The company's SYNC Bluetooth and cloud-based connectivity system is now tackling in-car health monitoring. By teaming up with leading healthcare device and applications firms including Medtronic and WellDoc, Ford is bringing healthcare services such as glucose monitoring, diabetes management and allergy alerts to its vehicles.

body mediamHealth: BodyMedia FIT Monitoring and Fitbit's Aria Wi-Fi Scale

The term "mobile health" (mHealth) refers to healthcare services delivered via mobile devices. Most of the focus is on self monitoring, which has emerged as a new consumer category. The trend is growing so rapidly that Best Buy has begun selling Aetna health insurance on a trial basis to help support its mHealth device sales. Two of the most notable mHealth devices at CES were the new Aria Wi-Fi Scale from Fitbit, and the new BodyMedia FIT monitoring platform. The scale uploads weight, body fat and body mass index info to a collection of online tools that track progress, while the monitoring platform is touted as the first personalized feedback technology that recommends activity and dietary adjustments based on the user's calorie burning and food intake.

Just About Everything Made by VIZIO

VIZIO stole the show and demonstrated why a strategy based on well-executed industrial design is as critical as ever. Just a few years ago, the company was virtually unknown, but now it's competing against the biggest and best in the flat screen arena. While the established leaders in the PC and laptop markets decided to focus on tablets, VIZIO recognized a gap in the marketplace and filled it at CES with some really nice laptops. The company is smart to expand and leverage its brand, which is known for exceeding expectations at a price that’s affordable.

The Connected Home:  Belkin WeMo and Motorola's Connected Home Gateway

The long sought-after notion of home automation is about to become a realty for millions of consumers. That's because new plug-and-play technologies such as Belkin's WeMo and Motorola's Connected Home Gateway are so simple they can be set up and operated by just about anyone. They're also affordable, and capable of automating everything from home lighting and appliances to climate control and security... all from a mobile device. These systems are part of a larger trend in user experience that's leading to anytime, anywhere management of our digital lives.


About Mark Schwartz

PDT founder and CEO Mark Schwartz began his career at Zenith Electronics, where he helped pioneer Zenith's conversion to computer-aided technologies. Later, during an eight year stint at Motorola, Mark developed many of the cutting-edge cellular products that helped establish Motorola as the leading cell phone maker in the world. That experience fostered a passion for product development and a deep understanding of the development process. Today, 15 years after founding the company in his own basement, Mark has grown PDT into a global enterprise serving the world's largest and most innovative companies.

About PDT

Product Development Technologies, Inc. (PDT) is a full-service product development firm with eight offices worldwide. Team members have expertise in a wide range of product development disciplines including strategy, design research, industrial design, user interface development, electrical and mechanical engineering, software development, laser scanning, and tooling. PDT is headquartered in Lake Zurich, Illinois. More information is available at www.pdt.com.