It’s that time of year again when the majority of UK press and tech industry head out to Las Vegas for CES. As ever, the flight from Gatwick was filled with now familiar faces, including the team from Pure Digital as well as the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones.
Having attempted to shake off the jet lag, the first event on our schedule was ‘CES Unveiled’ event, at its new home in the Mandalay Bay hotel. The organisers had put on a free shuttle from the convention centre, which was an intriguing choice given that its closed to the press today. Nevertheless, the event benefited from being in a much bigger room and we discovered a number of new and forthcoming products.
Parrot Flower Power
We’re big fans of the Koubachi plant sensor and therefore were intrigued to see, what appears on the surface, to be a fairly similar product from the team at Parrot. Their Flower Power device is the first of what they’re referring to as ‘eco-geek’ products. In essence, it’s a wireless Bluetooth low-energy sensor for your plants that will inform you of their needs thanks to a dedicated application. The Flower Power, which can work indoor or outdoor, measures sunlight, humidity, temperature and fertilizer. This information is transferred via Bluetooth Smart (low consumption) to the Parrot Cloud, analyzed by dedicated software and sent to a compatible Smartphone or tablet. There is also a library of thousands of plants to help inform you about their needs.
Check out this video of the product being described:
Canopy’s Sensus Touch Sensitive Case
Not another iPhone case we hear you moan, but wait, this is actually offering something a bit different. The Sensus case, from Canopy, features touch-sensitivity built into its back and right side that can handle up to 10 independent touches. In a nutshell this enables you, via supported apps, to interact with your phone by touching your phone case. According to the company, over 500 developers have already applied for access to the SDK. Some existing apps included a camera app where you can touch anywhere on the side to take a photo. A more impressive use of the touch sensitive case was as a braille keyboard, with the phone split in to 6 quadrants. It will be interesting to see what other apps will be developed to make the most of this unique case. The Sensus is due out in the summer and the price will be somewhere between $59-$99.
Trakdot Luggage tracker
The Trakdot Luggage tracker fits into a checked bag and reports city location in real time to any mobile, Apple, Android, or SMS capable devices. The palm-sized device contains a GSM chip which becomes inactive when it senses its traveling at more than 100mph, but using cellular tower locations it sends a message to say where it was when it “took off” and when it senses its traveling at less than 100mph it reactivates itself, and again sends a message. The Trakdot has been approved by the FAA in US for carriage in hold luggage. An additional use of the device comes through the Bluetooth chip (and accompanying app) which allows you to locate your baggage as it approaches on the carousel. The company also mentioned that a number of airlines are interested in buying bulk the Trakdot to give to premium passengers. The product will be available March 2013 for $49.95 MSRP with an activation fee of $8.99 and an annual service fee of $12.99.
With additional reporting by Ryan Graham