What caught our eye at CES 2012 – Part 3

By Geoff Bowen,

In our third (part 1, part 2) and final round-up of CES 2012, here are some of the other exhibitors and products that caught our eye while clocking up the miles of exhibition halls!

The ‘Dot’ from Kogeto

The ‘Dot’, from New York based Kogeto, is billed as ‘the World’s smallest panoramic video thingy for the iPhone 4 and 4S’. As you can see from the picture above, the Dot is certainly an eye catching ‘thingy’ and instantly made us curious when we stumbled across it at this year’s ShowStoppers event.

In a nutshell, it clips on to the back of your iPhone and the Dot’s 360 lens sits over your camera. The company’s free ‘Looker’ app then enables you to use the Dot to take a 360 degree video (yes, video!) of your current surroundings.

While the immediate question might be ‘what for?’, it was undeniably something we wanted play with! The initial result was far from convincing with a blurry picture and incomplete 360 video. When we raised this with Kogeto, they said the most likely cause was a protective film on the lens. They also conceded that the current instructions aren’t very clear (no pun intended!) and that we weren’t the only ones who had the issue.

On our 2nd attempt, without the lens protection film and with better lighting, we were able to secure a perfect (albeit still slightly blurry) 360 video capture of the room. In conclusion the ‘Dot’ looks like it will be a fun and quirky gadget to take with you to a party or on holiday. We’ll update you when we get details on UK pricing and availability. For more info visit http://kogeto.com/

Update on Jan 25: Kogeto’s PR people tell us the Dot will be in Apple stores in March retailing at around $79 or 60 euros.

iBallz iPad protective ‘case’

Having been out for a while, the iBallz isn’t exactly a ‘latest’ gadget, but we’re suckers for quirky looking gadgets and we’d not seen this one before. The iBallz is incredibly simple in concept – it’s an elastic cord with four shock-absorbing balls attached to it. You simply slip it around the frame of your iPad and position a ball (which has a small slit) over each corner. The selling points of the iBallz system is that it doesn’t obstruct your view of the screen and it can be dropped from any angle without your iPad touching the floor (check out our video of iBallz).

Initially we were a bit sceptical of the demand for such a strange looking case, but when they mentioned that schools loved the product – it suddenly became clear that co-founders Lee and Derek might be on to a winner. The iBallz is already available for US$20 via www.iballz.info or £19.99 on iwantoneofthose.com

spnKiX motorised skates

CES 2012 was the official launch event for spnKiX – a pair of battery powered, motorised (up to 10mph), skates that you strap over your shoes. Invented and developed by LA-based designers Peter Treadway and partner Janelle, the spnKiX is something they’ve been working on in their spare time over the last 5-8 years (depending on who you asked!). After two or three hours of charging, the spnKiX will give you a range of 2-3 miles and their speed can be controlled via a hand-held remote. According to Peter, the spnKiX can be viewed both as something to play and do tricks with, as well as acting as a short distance vehicle. They are due to start shipping in March 2012 with a retail price of $649. More info is at www.spnKiX.com

‘Flash Dock’ an SLR iPhone/Smartphone dock

The ‘Flash Dock’ enables you to mount a smartphone on top of your SLR camera, using your camera’s HotShoe socket. For those thinking “the what shoe?” – the HotShoe is the socket on the very top of your camera more traditionally used to attach an things like a flash-gun.

However, by marrying your smartphone and SLR, the Flash Dock enables you to use your HotShoe for all sorts of purposes. For example, you could download a spirit-level app from your phone’s app store and use this to ensure your SLR is completely level. Or maybe use the light app to help illuminate a low-light scene. Or even push the dock forwards and use a microphone app to record audio while filming. The only limit is whether someone has developed an app for it!

The Flash-Dock itself is very basic, it’s just a mount and clip, but nevertheless it’s one of those “that’s a clever idea” products that might just prove to be a hit. The French-based company behind the dock are working on distribution, but the expected retail price is $34.95* and they hope it will be available within a month. To find out more information you can visit www.flash-dock.com

*Update on Jan 25: Retail price now $29.99.

Toffee cases and sleeves

 

While not strictly a gadget-manufacturer, the Sydney-based ‘Toffee’ caught our attention thanks to a combination of their beautiful leather iPad cases and having the charismatic Dan llic helping on their stand. We’ve since discovered (thanks Wikipedia!) that Dan is in fact a comedian, writer and performer back in Australia – which might explain how he had the stamina to remain upbeat and friendly even at the end of another long CES day! We’ll be giving away a Toffee Macbook Air/Pro case in our post-CES competition, but in the meantime you can find out more at http://www.toffee.com.au

Rounding up a round-up

So, that wraps up another year of CES coverage. We hope that you’ve enjoyed our three part round-up and stay tuned for coverage of IFA 2012 and of course CES 2013!