LeVar Burton Talks “Star Trek,” Google Glass, and His Reading Rainbow App At Samsung CES 2014

  • LeVar Burton drops by the Samsung Smart Lounge to tell us about his Reading Rainbow app and how it’s changed childrens’ lives over the past 18 months. In addition, he talks to Andre Meadows and Ethan Newberry about his take on Star Trek Into Darkness, the historic visor and NASA’s recent Mars mission!

    As a CES veteran and pro, Burton has his own opinions when it comes to tracking CES trends. “It seems like every year there are fewer and fewer major technological innovations. It seems like the last couple of years it’s been larger TVs, 3D TVs, nothing really earth shattering. But it’s still a big show.”

    But he loves technology, of course. He’s not just the Chief Engineer of the Starship Enterprise!

    He’s also taken his famous “Reading Rainbow” show and reinvented it as a tablet experience for kids. It’s been on the market for 18 months already, and it just hit the landmark of 10 million books and videos watched in combination. “We have kids reading about 131,000 books a week and watching about 86,000 a week.” He says, “We have proven that kids will come to the tablet to read, and not just play games.”

    Providing an interactive experience, every book has a voiceover, music and sound effects, similar to the books on the “Reading Rainbow” show.

    In terms of what he most wants to be known for, Burton can point to “Roots” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” as huge phenomena in entertainment, but he really counts “Reading Rainbow” as his most crucial legacy. “I come from a people for whom reading was at one point in this country illegal.”

    As for the trend of wearable tech, and Google Glass specifically, Burton is still a bit suspicious of how much information those products are getting from us. “We need some time and we need a little bit more education before we become totally comfortable with it.”

    Aside from catching up on those “Star Trek” episodes on Netflix, “Community” fans can catch Burton in an upcoming episode this season!