Drones and tones

2 mins read

As promised in my blog earlier in the week, a quick report back from the array of exhibitions that remain underway at the NEC. In fact if you jumped in your car this morning there is still time for an interesting afternoon before the shows close today – but would it be worth it?

My focus was to find out what is happening with the PXI vendors collected in the PXI Show, more of which will be revealed in our PXI supplement in a couple of months time. There is still time to help us get data for this sector of the market by filling in our PXI survey online. Much as I am sure you would all like to be a part of contributing to the knowledge base in the UK electronics industry, there is also a nifty Olympus camera that will go to one randomly selected survey participant. Please do take part. Back to the plot. The PXI Show, when I visited it, was probably the busiest part of the National Electronics Week, indicating perhaps that PXI is garnering more interest from the broader electronics community. Neighbouring shows in the industrial sector, and particularly MACH, were buzzing, which combined with the recent promising economic and manufacturing output indicators is a good sign, particularly for those of you who specialise in industrial electronics. However, the industrial shows, beyond giving an indication of the health of the market, are not of direct interest to most electronics engineers so I hot-tailed to the Gadget Show Live to see what were the consumer trends. And the first thing hits you, not literally because of the health and safety imposed netting cages, was the amount of drones flying about. Clearly the must have toy this year they have come on in leaps and bounds from a decade ago – at which time the remote control helicopter I bought my son appeared to have a death wish immediately it took off. The control of these modern drones by contrast, in one case using an iPad as the controller, was exquisite. Precision and stability, demonstrating why they are now ideal for having cameras mounted on them. The other thing that struck me was that the world of audiovisual – having largely concentrated on the quality of the visual over recent years – was now turning its attention to the quality of the audio. It would appear that high quality audio is something that people are more than willing to pay for, many headphone sets costing more than the average TV. What is more is that many of them are designed in the UK, with the fashion element playing an important part - an area of the consumer electronics market that is very much at the disposal of the UK electronics sector. I tried everything from a nice pair of Ian Taylor (the ex-Aston Villa footballer for those interested) headphones to the small plastic gadget called soundbender, which has an astonishing effect on the sound performance of an iPad. All interesting stuff. The Gadget Show Live, unlike the trade exhibitions, is open until Sunday, so no need to jump in your car immediately.