Added On: Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The best gadgets of CES 2008

More than 20,000 new gadgets and technologies from more than 2,700 companies will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The BBC News website will be writing about the devices and gadgets that catches the eye throughout the show.


Eee PC
The Eee PC is getting wi-fi on steroids
The lightweight and small Eee PC from Asus has been one of the tech hits of the last 12 months and more than 350,000 machines have been sold in the past thee months.

It has won admirers for its four gigabyte solid state hard drive, small form factor and attractive price. It runs the Linux operating system, but can also run Windows XP.

The company has now announced new models - 7, 8 and 9 inch - but crucially, they will have Wimax built in - giving it increased wireless capabilities.

In truth, there are not that many Wimax-enabled areas anywhere in the world, although 70 different countries are trialling it.

But Intel is betting heavily on Wimax as the winning next generation wireless network and so Asus has taken the plunge - at least, in North America.

The entry level Eee with Wimax will cost about $999, according to reports.


The vest is packed with air bladders that can rapidly inflate
If you have ever wondered what it feels like to fly a fighter plane or drive a formula one car, now is your chance.

TN games has designed a wardrobe for gamers that recreate on screen action in the real world.

The vests are based on technology that was originally designed for use by doctors to remotely examine patients.

The vests, connected to the computer by USB, consist of a light weight air compressor that pumps air into bladders.

A version designed for first person shooters contains eight cells that are able to recreate the direction and force of bullet fire.

Another version recreate the G-forces felt whilst driving and flying.

When the player accelerates, the cells inflate in the chest. Faster acceleration causes the cells to inflate quicker, whilst braking causes the back cells to activate.

The firm has also designed sleeves, leg covers and a helmet that plug into the vests to deliver what it says is a "full body gaming experience".


The software also includes video editing tools
One of the problems of recording TV programmes on to video tape was that when watching them back the viewer had to fast forward through the adverts.

The same is now true of programmes recorded digitally through a TV tuner in a PC.

But a company called VideoReDo has developed a piece of software that automatically strips out the adverts.

A trial download of the TV suite software which includes the ad remover is available for free.

It works by looking for clues that what is on screen- such as the black screen between adverts - before cutting out the relevant section.

The original version of the software - which includes a video editing suite - is nearly three years old.

But the newest version incorporates useful features such as the ability to record the edited programmes to DVD.

According to the firm the next version, out later this year, will let users encode the video to a format suitable for viewing on iPods.


Rovio robot
The robot can be controlled from a mobile phone
Children's toys went hi-tech at this year's CES.

Woowee, the company behind the best selling Robosapian robot, launched a series of robots packed with gadgetry.

Its wi-fi enabled Rovio robot packs an omni-directional webcam which can be controlled remotely using any web accessible device, such as a cell phone, PC or games console.

The wheeled robot also features a stripped down GPS system that allows it to locate itself and navigate around its environment.

The company has also launched a new version of Robosapien.

Tribot is a three wheeled machine controlled by a tilt sensor that is able to tell jokes, read stories and play games.

The firm's line-up also included machines that dumped the cold, hard exteriors normally associated with robots in favour of fur and cute expressions.

Known as the Woowee Alive series, the cute animals, which include pandas, polar bears and tigers all feature animated faces, and realistic noises activated by touch and tilt sensors.

The lion cub also has other lifelike behaviours - leave it on its own for five minutes and the cub purrs itself to sleep. Pick it up by the scruff of the neck and its legs go limp.

Other hi-tech toys included a flying robot packed with infra red sensors to allow it to fly autonomously.


Radio text
The text is broadcast alongside the voice transmission

Millions of people around the world miss out on the joys of radio because they are hearing impaired.

But a new initiative by National Public Radio, technology firm Harris Corporation and Towson University aims to change that.

The consortium is developing radio for the deaf, a counter-intuitive sounding system that translates speech radio into text in real time.

At the moment the voice to text conversion has to be done by typists but could one day be automatic.

The information is then broadcast alongside the voice transmission and displayed on a screen on the radio.

The consortium will transmit the first live broadcast at CES using a prototype radio that has a screen large enough to display big swathes of text.

They expect the first commercial radios to be available to wards the end of this year.


Westinghouse TV
The TV is able to receive the signal from several metres away
The number of wires running behind the television has been reduced by one.

LCD TV manufacturer Westinghouse, working with networking firm Pulse-Link, have shown off what they say is the world's first integrated wireless HDTV.

The 47-inch television looks like any other but has an in-built receiver that takes a signal from an ultra wideband transmitter plugged into a high definition DVD player.

The setup at CES was streaming the James Bond film Casino Royale from a Samsung Blu-ray player.

The firms claims that the secure connection has no lag and is able to stream a range of high definition formats including the highest resolution TV format available today, known as 1080p.

The first sets are aimed at business but the technology will soon make it into the home when the technology becomes cheaper.


Phone users in Japan
The mobile standards are already used in Japan
The mobile phone has changed the way people communicate, but a consortium of Japanese researchers and companies are banking on the device to do much more.

The P2P Universal Computing Consortium (PUCC) has developed a set of networking standards that allow mobiles to remotely control domestic appliances from afar.

At CES the consortium showed off an iPhone application that allowed a user to control a flat in Tokyo.

The user could switch lights on and off, control the air conditioning and even turn the washing machine on.

The technology is already available in Japan where users of the NTT DoCoMo network can keep an eye on their home from afar.

The consortium has also shown off healthcare applications including a wireless nappy for use by bedridden patients and a heart monitor that allows a doctor to monitor a patient from afar.

Later this year the group will release software that will allow anybody to build applications using the standards.


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