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What mattered on Day 1 at CES 2015

The crowds have hit the ground running at CES in search of the novel and interesting technology that wasn't covered on Press Day. Here's everything you need to know from Day 1.

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CES has finally opened its doors to the public, boasting a record 3,600-plus exhibitors and 2.2 million square feet of exhibition space across three distinct areas -- Tech East (at the Las Vegas Convention Centre), Tech West (covering everything from 3D printing, health products and wearables) and the new C Space at ARIA, targeted at marketers, advertisers and social media gurus.

CNET's editors have hunted out all the big news (and weird tech from the back booths that you might not have expected) to give you the best possible view of the show.

Car tech

The Parrot RMB 6. Tim Stevens/CNET

While Press Day saw its fair share of announcements, Ford was the first cab off the rank with the Day 1 opening keynote.

After introducing the new iteration of its Smart car platform, Sync 3, last month, Ford mainly looked at the big picture today, discussing the ways cars would collect data in future to adapt to road conditions, help find parking and customise insurance for drivers.

Ford didn't show off any cars onstage -- as CEO Mark Fields said, the company's focus isn't on marketing but rather bringing autonomous cars to the masses. However, there was plenty of smooth metal on show from the likes of Audi, Mercedes Benz and BMW to keep auto fans happy.

BMW showed off new touchscreen and gesture controls for its iDrive interface, while Pioneer joined the fray with the next generation of its NEX series in-dash multimedia receivers, featuring Android Auto integration. Parrot also promised Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in any car with its new RNB 6.

Driverless vehicles

Inside Audi's concept cockpit. Josh Miller/CNET

After driving its autonomous car from San Francisco to CES, Audi used its presser to herald the future of driverless cars (even calling one on stage with a smartwatch) before moving on to the new Q7 featuring Android Auto and an Audi Tablet to control interior features.

This came off the back of an impressive product display from Mercedes Benz late on Monday evening, when we saw the utterly futuristic F015 Luxury in Motion "car of the future". The spacious silver bullet of a body was remarkably open inside, with rotating chairs for passengers that made it more akin to a futuristic lounge room than a car.

Intel and RealSense

intelirobotces2015.jpg
Intel's RealSense 3D imaging technology has been used to develop robotics capable of detecting and moving through three dimensions. Claire Reilly/CNET

Intel's press conference was a showcase event on Day 1, with plenty of new announcements. The chip manufacturer spent a great deal of time focused on RealSense, a system that uses a 3D camera to detect things such as depth and gestures in real time. HP made a cameo on the stage to discuss RealSense integration in its Sprout device -- a computer that also does 3D imaging -- and to promote its ultra-fast Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer.

Intel's Curie. James Martin/CNET

Intel also promoted security applications for RealSense (as a facial recognition tool known as True Key), robotics applications (with iRobot devices capable of detecting and moving through three-dimensional spaces) and showed drones that use RealSense to automatically avoid obstacles while flying.

Intel also unveiled the button-sized Curie computer module, packed with sensors and the Quark chip. Even smaller than last year's Edison module, Curie will be central to Intel's wearable strategy for 2015 -- what it dubs "the wearable revolution". To kick things off, Intel is partnering with Oakley to integrate Curie into eyewear.

Virtual and augmented reality

The Oculus Crescent Bay prototype. Nick Statt/CNET

One of the highlights of the CES calendar every year, the Next Big Thing Supersession, held by CNET, took a look at the New Realities of the digital world. A panel of experts, including global heads at Oculus VR and castAR, examined the changing nature of virtual reality and augmented reality and how these major tech innovations will change our technology future.

The upshot seems to be that, while they're nascent technologies (creating 3-minutes of VR content can currently cost as much as $1 million) we can expect VR and AR to push rapidly into the mainstream.

Oculus wasn't just on-stage with CNET -- the company also used CES to preview its new Oculus Crescent Bay prototype. The new model adds to the immersion with "spatialised audio" to create full 3D sound and the ability to move and walk around the virtual space.

And while VR hasn't quite hit the mainstream yet, Razer is hoping to bring it to the masses with the hackable, open-source OSVR Hacker Dev Kit -- a $200 kit that is compatible with Oculus dev kits as well as experimental VR software from Linux and Android.

Dell

Dell launched a raft of new products at CES 2015, from the smallest 13-inch laptop in the world, the compact and lightweight XPS 13 , right through to new iterations of its behemoth Alienware gaming laptops . The new Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 models have been trimmed back a little in size, but you'll probably still want to avoid carrying them around after arm day at the gym.

New gadgets for the home

Alongside all the smart home products on show this year, we got a good look at the first wave of HomeKit products at CES, while European security company MyFox took a page out of the Minority Report playbook with a home security system that aims to prevent crime before it happens .

There were also a huge range of home networking products on show, as well as plenty of 3D printing with the open-source, open-design LulzBot Mini 3D printer , as well as models that let you print chocolate or print your own drone.

The weird and the wonderful

The Motorola Scout 5000 GPS pet tracker. Nic Healey/CNET

It's not just the big showstoppers at CNET -- we've also seen some truly marvellous and oddball stuff.

Pet tech has been a winner: after Tagg showed off its heat-sensing pet tracker, Motorola used a spokes-dog to show off the Scout 5000 -- a GPS-enabled collar that allows you to see what your pet sees (through a 720p camera) and even speak to it.

Skechers also showed off sneakers with the Simon memory game integrated into the side of the shoe, while visitors looking for a refreshing post-show drink could contemplate dropping a cool $1,100 for the Kube Bluetooth speaker with in-built cooler. And to stretch out those tired legs, the Smart Mat interactive yoga mat uses built-in sensors to check your yoga poses and guide you along the way. Very necessary after a long day.

Want more from CES?

If you want more news from CES you can catch up on everything from Press Day yesterday, follow CNET on social media and sign up for CNET's In-Depth newsletter series. We'll send you a daily wrap up of all the important news from the show, and when it's all done and dusted in Vegas, you won't hear from us again. And if you're at the show, don't forget to take CNET's tour of the must-see stands at CES 2015.

In the meantime, to keep across all the important news from CES, make sure you head to CNET's dedicated landing page. You'll find everything from hands-on product demos, news and interviews, to videos from the show floor and plenty of shots of the action at the show.