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Nine cool things at Otronicon v.9

January 17, 2014
Otronicon v.9 opened at Orlando Science Center on 1/16/14 with a VIP reception.

Otronicon v.9 opened at Orlando Science Center on 1/16/14 with a VIP reception.

Otronicon v.9 opens to the public today through Sunday at the Orlando Science Center, but I got a sneak preview of the ninth annual gaming and technology expo at last night’s VIP reception.

This year’s edition features an emphasis on medical technology, along with the usual displays of geek gadgets, from aging Gamecubes to cutting-edge Oculus Rift headsets, and nekkid nerdiness on Friday and Saturday night from Skill Focus Burlesque.

Here are nine new highlights I found at last night’s Otronicon v.9 opening event:

Frisbee Throwing Robot

This badass-looking bot was designed and built by high-school students to throw frisbees in the FIRST Ultimate Ascent robotics competition.


Electronic Arts facial animation

Local videogame juggernaut EA demonstrated their latest facial animation software, creating real-time UFC fighters with frighteningly realistic emotions. I even got my face scanned by a Matrix-like camera array, and was turned into a creepy CGI zombie head.


CranialMap Neuro

This newly developed medical imaging device uses a titanium rod that is inserted into a patient’s head during surgery (or into a glowing plastic shell, in this demo). Computers track the instrument’s position and display a real-time rendering of the interior anatomy.

MakerBot 3-D Printers

3-D printing technology has gone from stratospherically expensive to surprisingly affordable in just a few years. Buy a breadbox-sized printer, hook it up to a PC, and in an hour or 10 you can generate a blobby plastic bunny rabbit…

Dive Kick

Iron Galaxy Studios demonstrated their deceptively simple two-button fighting game Dive Kick (available now on most platforms except iOS) with rich 2-D animation, colorful characters, and an addictive sense of rhythm.


Star Tours model

Disney didn’t divulge any secrets about new Star Wars films or attractions in their top-floor display. But they did have this nifty working model of the the Starspeeder simulator from the Star Tours ride, which moved on hydraulic legs in synchronization with the digital avatar on an adjacent computer screen.


Sony 3DTV

Home 3D displays all but disappeared from the most recent CES trade show, but Sony still had a few to show off. They were using The Hobbit to demonstrate both a 55-inch passive screen that uses polarized glasses like your local cineplex and a wireless headset that streams virtual 70-inch screens directly to each of your eyes.


Nerdy Lounge

Tucked away on a balcony above the main floor, the Nerdy Lounge features a bank of WiiU consoles, a bar, and trendy colorful LED lighting for a gamer-friendly nightclub flair.


Ekso Biotics exoskeleton

Sarah Anderson lost the use of her legs years ago, but that hasn’t stopped her from standing up for medical advancements. Thanks to a bionic exoskeleton from Ekso Biotics, Sarah is able to stand, walk, and demonstrate the technology at a special presentation at 1 p.m. on Saturday.


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  • Sid

    So the description used on the Cranialmap area is entirely wrong. It is a Navigational tool that doctors use to help pinpoint areas within the brain during surgery using Images taken from a MRI or CT Scan prior to surgery. The “Rod” as they say isn’t made of titanium at all it is a Stylist or Pointer only used as a location device outside of the body. It is not at anytime inserted directly into the brain.
    Please have your reporters actually ask questions or even listen to the presentation that is given on the subject that they are reporting on. While being a witness to seeing your reporter take a couple of quick snap shots and then write a couple of peoples names down, he did nothing to ask what the device actually was since he showed up after the initial presentation.