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10 new gadgets starring at CES
It is early doors at CES 2014 in Las Vegas and many of the top companies are keeping their cards close to their chests. After a few peak previews, however, there are already some stand-out stars at the show this year. Here are 10 of the most eye-catching gadgets set to be unveiled.
The "internet of things", a world where computing is embedded into everything around us, is just around the corner. With its creepy-looking ghost-like figure, tech firm Sense's Mother device keeps tabs on "everything" about a household by using motion cookies which monitor its activities. Priced at £166, it checks that users have taken their medication, had the right amount of water to drink or slept enough hours. Mother or Big Brother?
Wearable tech is set to explode into the mainstream in 2014 - with the likes of Sensoria smart sport socks expected to be front runners. The garments track their user's stride length, footfall rhythm and how a runner's foot hits the ground using inbuilt sensors on an ankle bracelet which sends the information to a smartphone. For £100, users can use the data to prevent injury or avoid over doing it when out for their morning jog.
Knight Rider-style autonomous cars are fast moving out of the realm of sci-fi and into the real world, with some experts predicting they will be dominant by the middle of the century. As if to prove the point, Audi is presenting its A7 model with Piloted Driving feature in Las Vegas. It uses radars and laser to allow drivers to kick back, relax and let the machine do the driving in traffic of less than 40mph. Just a prototype for now, but the technology has been described as "near-production-ready".
Electric toothbrushes are just one of a number of health and wellness products about to get a new technological twist. One of the stars at this year's CES is the French-made Kolibree toothbrush, which uses a gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer to keep tabs on brushing habits. It then feeds the data into a smartphone app to help save people from the agony of root canal treatment, for 99 US Dollars (£60.30).
In line with the trend for tech you can wear, UK-based wireless company Cambridge Silicon Radio has brought techno-pendants to the show. Designed with help from Cambridge-based boutique jeweller Cellini, the hi-tech bijouterie alerts smartphone users when they receive a call or text message by flashing a light. Over-the-top tech trinkets or functional fashion must haves for the future - only time will tell.
As more and more gadgets clutter our homes, Clear View Audio has come up with one way to make things look a little less crowded. Billed as the first ever invisible speaker and named after one of the nine goddesses of music, song and dance, the Clio banishes big black boxes in favour of optically clear acrylic glass which retails at 349 US Dollars (£212.60).
Gadget fans with germophobia, the pathological fear of contamination, are in for some good news as US speciality glass-maker Corning unveils a touchscreen glass that fights bacteria and fungi. Gorilla Glass incorporates ionic silver, a substance which has been used for over 100 years to inhibit the spread of algae, mould and mildew.
::Smartphone solar charger
Tech is also getting in on the increasing trend for renewable power. After collecting sun rays for eight hours, the Waka Waka Power charger uses solar cells which take two hours to charge up a smartphone. It can also be used as a lamp, using two small lights. At 69 US Dollars (£42), the Waka Waka is touted as the perfect way to juice up the phone while out in the wild.
::Hollywood camera drone
Usually associated with death from above, the drone has been on a bit of a charm offensive of late. First Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos pointed to their increased civilian use when he announced drones could be delivering his wares in the near future. Now DJI Innovations is presenting its 8-rotor S1000, capable of carrying heavy duty SLR cameras that can be used to shoot Hollywood movies. News organisations such as the BBC are also said to be interested.
::Steering wheel keyboard
Although wearable tech and voice command may one day make the keyboard obsolete, there are still innovations going on in the world of QWERTY. TREWGrip is an in-the-works handheld keyboard and air mouse for mobiles, smart TVs and desktop computers. Keys are at the back of the device, where users place their fingers as they hold it upright. Designers claim that this allows more ergonomic style of typing - but are keyboards going the way of the dodo?