LAS VEGAS — Every year, while the Consumer Electronics Show displays the newest gadgets for home theaters, computing and cameras, the Adult Entertainment Expo shows off gadgets of another kind. This year, like many others, the AEE featured some consumer electronics systems that could soon find themselves across the street at CES in the coming years, albeit in a more safe-for-work form.
A company that distributes movies directly on USB thumb drives, a remote-controlled device that lets users interact physically over the distance of the Internet, and an augmented reality program that puts users in the middle of the action all premiered at AEE, and have significant applications for gaming and home entertainment.
"A lot of us are real big tech geeks," said Liam Colins, the director of special programs for Pink Visual, an adult video distribution and cloud computing company. “We love our toys, in the non-adult sense, too."
Consumer electronics have been synonymous with adult entertainment since the turn of the 20th Century. In fact, when Americans first began receiving electricity into their home, the vibrator was the fifth electric device approved for home use, arriving a decade before the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine, and following only the sewing machine, the fan, the toaster and the electric tea kettle (and by 1917, they were outselling the toasters).
At the 2011 AEE, that trend continues.
The Fleshdrive, a USB drive that delivers movies in place of a DVD, may have the most immediate applications for the world of more mainstream entertainment. The flash drives cost $40, and contain 20 iPad, Mac OS and Windows compatible movies.
With Hollywood dealing with the coming obsolescence of the DVD, and deadlocked over rights negotiations for cloud media, USB drives could form the bridge for users who don't have the high- speed Internet connection needed for streaming media.
One could easily imagine Redbox, the company that rents out DVDs via vending machines, adding a USB port so customers could simply plug in their drive and download their movie for use on any digital device, rather than using wasteful and scratch-prone discs.
Vsex.com also adds an innovative twist to online gaming by letting users remotely control a device over the Internet. The exact ins and outs of the device in question are unsafe for work and immaterial. What's important is that the popularity of physical toys like the Parrot's AR Drone Quadcopter, which blurs the line between corporal toy and video game, shows a market exists for remote-controlling robots, and Vsex.com shows how easily a company could clear the software hurdles for such a device.
Finally, Pink Visual displayed an augmented reality program that places the viewer in a specially designed movie scene. Much like Vsex.com, the scene itself isn't as momentous as the fact that a company with far fewer resources than Microsoft could produce the immersive experience craved by gamers and adult entertainment aficionados alike.
Xbox Live, take note.