There were was absolutely nada in most categories that would merit this distinction this year. No TV, speaker or anything electronic at the world’s largest electronics gathering could earn my special achievement badge. Who would have guessed? While there were incremental improvements in all areas, this special award goes only to those who have clearly set a new high-water mark (no pun-intended … you’ll see soon)  for their vision of the future.

The clear winner this year at the 2013 CES is the plasma treatment of mobile devices. In English, this means a treated phone/tablet could be dropped into a pool and could be pulled out with no damage. Or use your imagination as to what liquids could do to a running smartphone/pad, and then stop worrying. This would put a permanent end to fear of rain or bathrooms shorting out your valuable electronic life. To imagine that the manufacturers would endorse this is unlikely. But have hope as the cell carriers usually have to eat some of the cost of replacing your water-soaked device. The pressure they put on Apple and Samsung may be the proverbial grease for the squeaky wheel. This invisible nano-coating, induced in a vacuum with hot plasma proprietary gases, provides the water resistance. To say it’s impressive, is an understatement. One company simply tossed a $800 iPhone 5 into a fish tank and pulled it out and continued to use it. Again and again. For days … with no ill effect. You can NOT tell it has been treated either. I saw a nano-treated Kleenex that was completely and absolutely waterproof. Not too much help for your nose during an allergy attack, but it give you an idea of it’s effectiveness.

Coming soon to a mall (they claim) is a franchised company that will be to do this to each and every hand-held device you want protected against water induced damage. If all electronics were coated (TV, DVR’s, phones, computers, etc.) and your house flooded, your electronic device loss would be exactly … zero. Think of how much better a car would resist being destroyed by flooding if even the carpets refused to get wet, much less the electronics. Of course the engine may not fare as well, but that’s another story. But if it’s an all electric car … almost indestructible to the elements. It’s feasible that a company could make a totally waterproof car. The hard cost from what I’ve been told is minimal for a $50,000 car … far less than replacing it. A $2.00 gas canister can coat 25 to 50 iPhones at one time. As the technology matures, it can only get cheaper. But will building a device that is getting continually more impervious to damage something companies will want? Add a really good protective case to your phone and it could last easily a decade or more (unless you are a die-hard Apple fanboy … then a year is just too long to wait for the next BIG thing).  Of course, you may need a new battery at some point. Regardless, this is a technology that is long overdue and the value of it can’t be overstated in the new mobile society.

Each time I went to a booth with this technology there was a crowd. I’ve never seen this in almost 15 years at the CES shows. And I actually lost count of the number of companies who were promoting their own proprietary nano technology. That should give you an idea of how ground-breaking this is, especially to the techno crowd who understands the reach this nano coating has into the future. While there are different chemicals or size of the plasma chamber with each company I visited, the basic concept is the same. As smartphones and tablets continue to worm their way into every little nook of our lives, this nano coating probably will be so mainstream in a few years, that you won’t even think about it … and that says it all.


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