Thanks to crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter, startup companies generating lots of online buzz are leveraging that attention to thousands of attendees who have never had the opportunity to see these inventions in the flesh. Oculus VR wowed onlookers--and me--with its Rift virtual reality gaming headset. Meanwhile, the folks from Pebble
finally let reporters check out its elegant and connected smart watch.
I didn't get a chance to ride it, but the weight-sensing ZBoard skateboard turned a lot of heads at CES. Last but not least, I was impressed by an app that came out of AT&T's hack fest, one that lets a child ring multiple family members with a single call. As some bigger companies eschew Vegas to hold their own events and have the spotlight all to themselves, it will be critical for CES to give smaller innovators a bigger stage.
More: Oculus Rift Eyes-on: Gaming Will Never Be the Same