2013 CES: Gadgets continue to amaze
BY ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
1/09/13 at 2:29 AM
Related Story: Consumer Electronic Show opens in Las Vegas
Original Print Headline: Tech gadgets continue to amaze
LAS VEGAS - Tulsa World technology writer Robert Evatt is in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. Here's a look at some of the interesting gadgets and devices he saw Tuesday:
Up on the form
CES is still relatively young, but I think it'll be hard to find a computer with a form more impressive than the Dell XPS.
While many computers are going the semi-tablet route by having touchscreens and detachable keyboards, the XPS does things a little differently. Its touchscreen is attached on a frame by two pegs on either side in the middle.
If you want it to become a tablet, simply flip the screen and close the lid.
The resulting tablet is a little heavier than most, but not annoyingly so. Since Windows 8 is, for better or worse, designed for a touchscreen experience first, I'm sure we'll see lots more of these devices with dual identities.
LG always seems to have some quirky things on display, and they didn't disappoint this year.
First up is the remote control for their Smart TV. It's incredibly simple, with buttons for volume and channel control, as well as a few directional buttons on the top. Other functions are accessed via motion controls a la the Wii and Wii U.
I love the concept. TV remotes have gotten out of control with loads and loads of buttons you'll never use, so I'm glad to see something that gets back down to basics.
Device fit to wear
Fitness devices are all the rage, and I found some at CES. The Body Media fit is a tiny device about the size of an iPod Nano that fits on an armband.
It records your calories burned, your physical activities and even your sleep patterns based on your movements. You can chart all of this activity over time, and you can record the food you've eaten as well.
Speaking of eating, the world now has an e-fork. The HAPIFork from HAPILabs measures how long you take between "fork servings" to make sure you aren't eating too fast.
Plant by numbers
Parrot is best known for its fantastic AR.Drone Quadricopter, and the company announced it will beef up the battery and include a new in-flight recorder. If you'd like to see it in action, check out my review at tulsaworld.com/techreviews
The company also announced Flower Power, a small wireless sensor that monitors your plant.
Flower Power measures your plant's sunlight, temperature, fertilizer and water levels and sends the data to your tablet or smartphone. The app will also let you know how many days it will be until the plant's next watering.
Parrot accounted for the fact that different plants have different requirements. The app contains care information for, at this point, 6,000 plants, though more will be added when the product is available at the end of the year.
You can search plants by name, general type like "daisy" or "rose," or even by descriptors such as the color and the shape of the leaf.
Smart home sensing
Home automation is becoming increasingly popular, but Eversense from Allure Energy takes things a few steps further than most. The home system links up to your smartphone, but this system actually uses that link in creative ways.
Eversense can detect how far away you are from the house. If it detects you coming home from work, it can kick up the heat so your home is comfortable without having to keep the furnace on all day.
It also uses the near-field communications chips found in increasing numbers of smartphones for instant day and night settings. Once you wake up, just put the phone on the "day" pad to bump up the temperature, activate some lights and turn on the music. The system costs $349.
Weather or not
There's nothing like being awakened at 2 a.m. with an update of clouds rolling in just because you hit the wrong sequence of buttons on a weather radio the day before.
La Crosse Technology aims to fix that with the $69 Weather Alert Radio.
Like other weather radios, it can deliver location-specific weather updates as well as AM/FM radio. Unlike other weather radios, pressing a single button can limit the updates to just life-threatening alerts. Representatives can specifically point out tornadoes.
It's like they made this with Oklahoma in mind.
The Moxytronix Cordcruncher sounds like one of those "As Seen on TV" products, but it was among the innovation award winners and worked well from what I saw.
It's a colorful latex sleeve that fits over any cord, such as a set of headphones. Once on, your cord acts as a bungee that compresses to a much shorter length when you don't need the extra inches.
You can order it from Moxytronix's website for $25.
Though other hearing aids are resistant to water, this one is waterproof, dustproof and shock resistant. During a demo, an Aquaris connected to headphones was placed within water. I was still able to hear everything that was said perfectly.
It sounds great for wet or dry outdoor activities.
Weather Alert Radio