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At CES, hunting the show floors for hidden beacons (photos)

Attendees at CES 2014 were tasked with tracking down nine hidden iBeacons that were scattered around Las Vegas. CNET's Daniel Terdiman found all nine and some unexpected surprises along the way.

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Daniel Terdiman

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1 of 14 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Congratulation

LAS VEGAS -- The Consumer Electronics Show is one of the world's biggest trade shows, but while tens of thousands of people flock to the largest companies' booths, most never hit some of the lesser-known areas.

That's why the Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on CES, added a scavenger hunt to its official mobile app this year -- to give people a fun reason to go exploring some of those otherwise ignored areas.

And scattered around the city, were nine iBeacon transmitters that called out to the app once a user was in range. CNET's Daniel Terdiman took time out of a busy day of keynotes and panels to track down all nine. And in the end, he won a prize for his efforts.

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Blank slate

Players who took part in the scavenger hunt started out with a blank slate. All they'd see is nine greyed-out circles telling them which areas of the show to visit. Once there, they'd have to pinpoint the actual iBeacon location.
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Nearby

If you wandered near an iBeacon, an alert would pop up letting you know one was in the area.
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Distance from the treasure

The app would tell you (approximately) how far you were from an iBeacon. However, this information was usually an approximation, and would fluctuate wildly. Sometimes you would be standing in front of an iBeacon, and the app would think it was many feet away.
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Found!

If you found an iBeacon, the app would let you know you'd located your treasure.
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The iBeacon itself

One of the nine iBeacons, hidden behind a wall at a CES location.
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Transmitter

A look at an example iBeacon transmitter.
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Selfie with an iBeacon

CNET's Daniel Terdiman poses for a selfie in front of one of the nine iBeacon locations.
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Fellow traveler

Fellow scavenger hunt participant Jason Auger of Uneekgeekworld.com poses in front of an iBeacon sign, although his mobile device had trouble recognizing the transmitter.
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Pleo

Playing the scavenger hunt provided some unexpected surprises. In the robotics section of the CES show floor, attendees could check out Pleo, a robotic dinosaur. What was a surprise was that Pleo was first introduced in 2007, but its developer, Ugobe, went out of business in 2009. Now, a new company is selling the creature.
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Found beacons

When you find a beacon, the app reflects it by filling in the previously greyed-out badges.
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Tucked away

The signs representing the iBeacon locations were usually mounted on a pillar or a wall. In this case, it was in an area far away from where it was supposed to be, meaning many people had trouble finding it.
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9 of 9

Success! CNET's Terdiman found all nine iBeacons after just a couple of hours of playing.
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The prize

The first three people to finish won substantial prizes -- said to be a "tablet." Those that finished afterward got T-shirts and hats.

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