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CES 2012: Qualcomm and partners, show range of mobile advances from augmented reality to digital health

by David Needle

January 10 2012

Crowds gather at CES to hear keynotes like the one given Tuesday by Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs
Crowds gather at CES to hear keynotes like the one given Tuesday by Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs

Mobile used to be about putting a PC in your pocket or backpack. It still is all that, but tech advances are bringing a whole new range of applications uniquely suited to the mobile form factor from smartphones to tablets.

LAS VEGAS -- Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, gave a bullish forecast for the future of mobile technology here at CES, bringing several partners on stage to show off the latest advances in ereaders, augmented reality for education devices and digital health. Lenovo also previewed its new Smart TV powered by Qualcomm’s dual-core Snapdragon processor. Smart TV is expected to be first Web TV to run the Iatest version of Google’s Android operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich, which Lenovo has customized for the TV. 

Jacobs showed off a new ereader from a Chinese company called Hanvon C18 that uses Qualcomm’s mirasol display that is the thinnest it’s ever released (10 mm thin and weighs a mere 300 grams) and offers a full color display “with superb outdoor viewing” that shows video as well as text and images. The Hanvon C18 is currently targeted for release in China next month. 

Later, officials from Sesame Street joined him on stage to demo the new Sesame Street Playset that combines augmented reality with a tablet. Viewing certain toy objects through the tablet’s camera brings them “to life.” For example, in the demo, a jukebox toy started playing music after it was viewed through the tablet. 

Jacobs was also joined by X Prize CEO Peter Diamandis to discuss a new $10 million competition the two groups are backing to create a Star Trek-inspired “tricorder” device for diagnosing patients. 

In the original 1960’s Star Trek and later series, the tricorder was a handheld device doctors used to get a detailed, realtime reading of anyone’s health. “We have the technologies from lab-on-a-chip to wireless sensing, now it needs to be integrated into a  user friendly device,” said Diamandis. “If we can make this happen we are going to drive  new era of health care.” 

Separately, Jacobs noted that Qualcomm has invested $100 million in a Qualcomm Life fund focused on advances in health-related digital technologies. At CES he introduced Doctor Eric Topol Chief Academic Officer for Scripps Health, and author of the new book, The Creative Destruction of Medicine, who showed off a number of portable health devices including a device for reading your cardiogram on your smartphone. 

“Once you get the results you can send it your friends on Facebook,” he joked. On a more serious note, he mentioned being able to use such a product in emergency situations as in recently when he was on a plane and someone exhibited signs of a heart attack. Being able to make an accurate diagnosis led to an emergency landing to get the passenger needed care. 

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