CES: Gadgets, Gadgets and more Gadgets…

By: John Baer
Oahu Island News

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in Las Vegas from January 9th to 12th, was undoubtedly the largest consumer electronics trade show in the world. According to CES organizers, there was a turnout of more than 115,000 attendees, and over 2,200 exhibitors occupying a staggering 1.2 million square feet of convention center space.

The floor space was filled with some fantastic new consumer electronics – 60-inch flat screen plasma television screens, LCD computer monitors (only a few inches in depth), satellite radio, home and car entertainment systems, and digital photographic equipment. But the most intriguing things on the convention center floor were the new state-of-the-art consumer electronic gadgets.

These new gadgets are smarter, smaller, more portable and just plain cool. The five gadgets that caught my eye while walking the convention floor are all listed below – they’re very cool and inexpensive too.

The Digital Photo Viewer, by San-Disk Corporation (sandisk.com) is a simple, fast and convenient way to view digital pictures on a television screen. You just take the digital storage card from your camera and plug it into the photo viewer; it’s that simple. People all over will be able to have friends over for the traditional family slide show without all the bother.

Are you the type of person who needs to listen to music while sitting at your computer? If the answer is yes, then MouseCaster, by Smartec, Ltd (mousecaster.com) is the gadget you won’t be able to live without. The MouseCaster turns your computer mouse into a digital FM radio and allows you to listen to your favorite radio stations without the need for an internet connection. You’re also able to record songs (software included), schedule your favorite radio programs with an internal time function and even use it as an alarm clock.

Miraball, by TopCom Technology Co., Ltd. (topcomtech.com.tw) is a clear plastic ball (pictured above, about 1 foot around) that sits on a counter top or desk, and provides a unique way to display computer-generated messages. Even though I don’t really see a practical application for this device, I thought it was very original and deserved to be mentioned.

A great way to keep the kids safe and calm during a home fire emergency is by using KidSmart, a vocal smoke detector created by Smart Safety Systems, Inc. (kidsmartdetector.com). The KidSmart detector offers parents the opportunity to alert their small children (or other occupants) to a potential fire by using a personalized voice message. The smoke detector is battery operated, easily programmed and can detect both heat and smoke.

And finally, HitchCam, by Show-FX, Inc. (hitchcam.com) is a very practical and inexpensive device that will keep you from backing your car, truck or SUV over the neighbor’s bicycle or other hidden obstacles. The HitchCam comes with just a few components (3.5-inch LCD color monitor, hitch cover and wide-angle camera, and 25 feet of power/video cable) and can be installed in 20 minutes, according to the manufacturer. After looking over all the equipment, it’s a better bet to block out the afternoon to complete the installation.

      After wearing out my shoes for nearly two days, and viewing all the industry exhibits, I think the show may have been more appropriately named the Consumer Gadgets Show.