For the past week the annual International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has showcased the latest in consumer technology from the world’s leading manufacturers. The annual event is a mecca for geeks with a nice mix of hair-brained concepts and soon to be available tech, and despite the absence of the long-awaited Apple tablet, there was still plenty of jaw-droppingly gorgeous tech to get excited about at this year’s show and here, in no particular order, is our pick of the top 10 techs showcased at this year’s show.
1. Project Natal – Microsoft’s answer to the obscenely popular gyration gaming offered by the Nintendo Wii will be coming to the Xbox 360 in 2010. This isn’t simply a belated response however and Microsoft promises the Natal will be a radical reinvention of Wii’s motion controls that will revolutionise the way we play games.
2. The world’s largest 3D HDTV – Okay so we’re not likely to be able to afford one any time soon, even if we could fit a 152-inch screen into our living rooms; but you’ve got to applaud Panasonic for bringing the world’s largest high definition 3D TV to sin city. The show stopper of a screen was just one of a number of sets on display as 3D TV proved a hot topic.
3. Parrot AR.Drone for the iPhone – The Parrot Ar.Drone is a quadricopter piloted with an iPhone or iPod Touch. The gadget which launches later this year carries two cameras to deliver live video feed directly to your phone and is being positioned as a form of real life gaming where the user has to pilot the device whilst reacting to real life obstacles such as trees, wind and presumably confused looking pigeons.
4. Samsung transparent OLED laptop – It’s amazing how the stuff of sci-fi dreams is starting to make its way into stores and this Samsung laptop with a 14-inch 70% transparent OLED screen is just another example of the type of futuristic looking tech that was showcased in Vegas.
5. LBO LightTouch – Traditional keyboards could be facing their twilight if the trend for e-readers, slates and tablets continues to take hold. But it’s not only the cornucopia of new touch-screen gizmos that are making your traditional QWERTY number look outdated, as this interactive projector that turns any surface into a 10-inch touch screen shows. The LightTouch which uses frankly baffling holographic laser projection technology, can project a screen onto any flat surface; an infra-red sensing system then enables you to interact with the projected display just like a touch screen.
6. ASUS’ bendy screens – The company that kick-started the netbook revolution with its Eee PC’s was also wowing delegates with it’s concept range of bendy laptops and phones with flexible screens.
7. Motorola backfilp – Motorola is renowned for it’s quirkier approach to mobile phone mechanics and its new Backflip handset is a similarly odd proposition, but much better for it. The handset has a reverse flip-out QWERTY keyboard, a unique design that the manufacturer suggests will allow users to stand the phone up on a table and frees up the back of the screen to be used as a trackpad. This means that instead of your fingers getting in the way, you can see the whole of the display while you’re navigating using the handset. It’s a great idea and shows the type of imagination that’s putting Motorola firmly back on the mobile map.
8. Boxee – Is a piece of software that can be installed on your computer so that you can ‘beam’ video content such as YouTube and BBC iPlayer to your television. But the developers have simplified the process even further by releasing a set-top box that plugs directly into your television and streams web content through your home broadband connection.
9. Lenovo IdeaPad – This ‘hybrid’ gadget is a great idea, especially in these frugal times. It’s actually two gadgets in one working as a conventional laptop one moment, or by detaching the screen, as a tablet-style device.
10. Airnester – If you’re bored of plugs, and if even the new PowerMat technology I too much clutter for your tastes then Airnester’s for you. Described by its manufacturers as a “Wi-Fi hotspot power harvester” the device claims to harness small amounts of the signals broadcast by wireless access points. By its very nature this isn’t going to power your home but with the prevalence of free hotspots in almost every café and bar in the country this could turn out to be a useful and free energy source for small devices like mobile phones and music players.