Best of CES 2013: intelligent cutlery and 85-inch TV sets
Highlights from the annual technology fair which has got underway in Las Vegas
THE annual technology jamboree, the Consumer Electronics Show, has got underway in Las Vegas with a host of new inventions and innovations on display. The world's media has descended on the convention, intent on rooting out the most brilliant and bizarre appliances on show. But it is not always that easy, as Sky technology correspondent Niall Paterson points out. "Our expectations and desires are the stuff of Star Trek and Minority Report. Instead, we get Muppets In Space," he laments. "There is plenty of cool, and perhaps even marketable stuff here, but you really have to dig to find it sometimes."
Here are some of the innovations that could catch on:
Intelligent cutlery: The inventor of the world’s first smartfork – the French-produced Hapifork - says he came up with the idea after being scolded for wolfing down his food. It features sensors that can detect how fast someone is eating. "If it discovers you have carried out the action too quickly it buzzes in your hand to tell you to slow down," reports the BBC. "After meals it also uploads data to a smartphone app to help you keep track of your eating habits."
Underwater phone: Sony's new Xperia Z smartphone, to be released in February, features everything you would expect from a modern mobile device and several innovations including 'one touch connectivity' allowing it to connect to other technology like hi-fi systems. But its most eye-catching attribute is that will work underwater for up to 30 minutes. According to the Daily Telegraph: "It will work in the shower, survive a dunking in the toilet and can be given a quick rinse under the tap."
The 85in television: "Above all else CES is about televisions," reports Sky News and Samsung have gone big in this area, literally, with an 85-inch ultra high definition TV. The unusual-looking S9 UHD TV has a screen that appears to float within a frame. It "combines stunning visuals with a much-improved smart interface, as companies continue to maintain that the consumer wants a television to do far more than simply show them the channel they have chosen", says Sky. Samsung claims it will have a 95-in and 110-in version ready before the end of the year.
Flexible tablets: "The PaperTab tablet looks and feels like a sheet of paper, but is, in fact, fully interactive with a flexible plastic display and touch screen," enthuses the Daily Telegraph. Developed jointly by Intel, Queen's University from Canada and the British firm Plastic Logic, the display can be bent and folded and even thrown around. The Guardian reports: "Users will be able to flick through a document by bending the screen, or by joining screens together for a larger display... The PaperTab can also store thousands of documents – obviating, its developers say, the need for stacks of paper or a traditional computer monitor."
Health patch: Last year Bodymedia brought prototypes of its Vue Patch to the CES; this year they have working products according to Mobile Health News. The patch is attached to the user's arm and measures their activity for seven days. After a week the chip inside the device can be attached to a computer and the data downloaded. "You can then view information about how active you were, your calorie burn and your sleeping habits over the period, as well as suggestions for how you could improve your lifestyle," reports the BBC, which says that the patches could retail for just £30.
Eye-controlled computers: "Those who have always felt that using a mouse and keyboard was just a little too much effort may want to cast an eye in the direction of the Tobii Rex ocular interface for PCs and laptops," says gadget website T3. The device, which sits on the computer monitor and tracks the movement of the user’s eyes, allows you to control your PC just by looking at the screen and occasionally hitting a button on the keyboard. It is expected to hit the market later this year.
Android oven: Applicance maker Dacor is showcasing an oven that has an Android tablet, ahem, "baked in", that will act as chef. PC Magazine explains: "Say you want to cook a roasted chicken, for example. All you have to do is select the desired recipe from the display menu, follow a few easy prompts, like entering the weight of the chicken, insert the dish, and let the oven take care of the rest." The oven can also be operated remotely from another Android device and will even keep food warm until it is ready to serve.