2013 Consumer Electronics Show: What's New in Tech

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2013 Consumer Electronics Show: What's New in Tech
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This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas -- an exhibition of what's new and cool in the technology world -- proved to be chock full of fun, fascinating, useful and, er, downright weird tech products. eHow Tech editor Dave Johnson turned the exhibition floor inside out to identify the most memorable products.

HAPIfork
Dave Johnson

HAPIfork

Looking for a new way to lose weight and eat healthier? Try the HAPIfork. It’s, well, a fork. It monitors how quickly you eat and vibrates to tell you when you need to slow down. Tech to help you chew your food thoroughly! (No, I’m not making this up.) Cost: $99.

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Luci
Dave Johnson

Luci

Luci is genuinely awesome: A solar-powered lantern that charges in 6 hours and runs for up to 12 hours. The ring of LEDs put out a surprising amount of light. You can buy it now for about $15.

Related: Luci

Motorized Kitty Ears
Dave Johnson

Motorized Kitty Ears

This is really the only reason to even go to CES, if you ask me. Motorized kitty ears that move around in response to your brainwaves. It’s the future, folks. A crazy, brainwave-controlled-cat-ear-future. Cost: $99

Puzzlebox Orbit
Dave Johnson

Puzzlebox Orbit

If you like brainwave-controlled kitty ears, then you’ll love a brainwave controlled helicopter. I only saw it fly briefly, so I can’t vouch for the future of telepathy-powered air travel. The Puzzlebox Orbit costs about $189.

Related: Puzzlebox Orbit

Tethercell
Dave Johnson

Tethercell

You can’t buy it yet – it’s being crowd-sourced at Indiegogo – but Tethercell is a crazy but awesome idea. Replace one AA battery in a device with a Tethercell, and that device suddenly becomes controllable via your smartphone. Cost will be about $30.

Related: Tethercell

Touchfire
Dave Johnson

Touchfire

Want to type on your iPad but hate tapping on glass? Get real tactile typing feedback with Touchfire, a clever Kickstarter product that’s now available for $49. It is a thin rubber membrane that fits on the iPad but doesn’t get in the way of a standard iPad cover.

Related: Touchfire

Mio Alpha
Dave Johnson

Mio Alpha

This is, to the best of my knowledge, the world’s first wrist-wearable heart rate monitor. It has its own display and also sends the info to your phone via Bluetooth for $199.

Related: Mio Alpha

iWatchLife
Dave Johnson

iWatchLife

Wireless security cameras are as common as table salt these days, but iWatchLife is a bit different: Use the software to paint a “detection fence” in its field of view, and it only alerts you via email when someone or something crosses the boundary. Cameras are $150 and service starts at $5/month for unlimited cameras.

Related: iWatchLife

YubiKey
Dave Johnson

YubiKey

You’ve heard of two-factor authentication? That’s when you verify who you are by entering information like a one-time key from your phone when visiting a secure website. The $25 YubiKey makes that easy – leave it in your USB port and tap it when you need to securely log in. Take YubiJKey with you so no one else can log in, even if they steal your PC.

Related: YubiKey

AhnLab’s V3 Click
Dave Johnson

AhnLab’s V3 Click

For folks who think that anti-virus software is too complicated and hard to use, there’s AhnLab’s V3 Click. Literally, a giant button that plugs into your PC. If it’s green, you’re good. When it turns red, you might have a virus. Press the button to activate protection. Cost: $50.

Related: AhnLab’s V3 Click

Combat Creatures
Dave Johnson

Combat Creatures

No matter what lies people tell you, we all go to CES to see robots. Combat Creatures doesn’t disappoint; imagine an army of robot spiders that actually shoot soft projectiles at each other. This might be the coolest toy ever. These robots can be yours for about $99 each.

Related: Combat Creatures

I’m Watch
Dave Johnson

I’m Watch

When it comes to high-tech wristwatches, I thought the highlight of the show was going to be Pebble, a smart watch that connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth and can run a slew of its own apps. But I was totally unprepared for I’m Watch, a new smart watch that does pretty much the same thing – get text messages, see who’s calling, get weather, much more – and it looks pretty stylish in the process. But $389? Ouch. I’ll wait for Pebble.

Related: Im Watch

Computer-controlled Sewing Machine
Dave Johnson

Computer-controlled Sewing Machine

I’m not sure that my mom would even recognize this as a sewing machine. This computer-controlled sewing machine from Brother is capable of creating fiendishly complicated designs, including tightly threaded, colorful, high resolution drawings made entirely from thread.

Horizon Hydrofill
Dave Johnson

Horizon Hydrofill

The future is finally here! Imagine recharging your phone or tablet not from a battery or wall power, but from a hydrogen fuel cell. It’s a reusable fuel cell that you recharge yourself by extracting hydrogen from tap water. The future doesn’t come cheap, though. You need the Horizon Hydrofill ($250), which separates hydrogen from water, plus the MiniPak ($114), which contains the reusable fuel cell and USB connection for charging.

Related: Horizon Hydrofill

Cubelets
Dave Johnson

Cubelets

What do you get when you cross construction toys like Legos with computer programming? You get Cubelets – building blocks that magnetically snap together to become robots. There are 16 kinds of cubes – motors, sensors, and logic blocks – which let you or your kids turn into any kind of bot. Again, the future doesn’t come cheap. You can get a six-block start kit for $160.

Related: Cubelets

Polaroid’s iM1836
Dave Johnson

Polaroid’s iM1836

Digital cameras take great pictures, but they lack your smartphone’s ability to evolve – you can’t add an Instagram app to your Digital SLR, for example. Except wait, now you can now. Polaroid’s iM1836 is a compact digital camera with interchangeable lenses. And it runs the Android 4.1 operating system, so you can add apps and use it like a cameraphone. The cost: $349. Plus, the sensor is not in the camera body. It’s in the lens. That is, I believe, a first in the history of digital cameras, and makes each lens a nearly complete imaging system which could actually offer different sensor sizes and resolutions.

Shimi
Dave Johnson

Shimi

Perhaps you don’t want to build a robot – you just want one that’ll hold your iPhone and dance a little. In that case, you want the $199 Shimi, a docking station that understands natural language and even your tone of voice, so it can follow instructions and respond to your mood. And it dances a little.

Related: Shimi

Nuvo
Dave Johnson

Nuvo

I love my Sonos system that streams music from my PC to every corner of the house, but it’s about time Sonos had some competition from a high quality alternative. Nuvo showed off their wireless streaming music system – put one component in each room that you want to play music, and add the wireless gateway to glue it all together. The gateway costs $199, and each P100 adds music to a single room for $479.

Related: Nuvo

Iris
Dave Johnson

Iris

Lowe’s wants you to connect your home with Iris, a modular smart system that you control completely from your smartphone. Components like motion sensors, a smoke detector, lights, and more combine into an integrated smart house. This guy is showing off a smart doggie door that opens on command when your pet steps near – but you can still lock or unlock it remotely. You can get a slew of components for about $279 and the monitoring service costs $10/month.

Related: Iris

Sphero
Dave Johnson

Sphero

Here’s a high-tech ball that you control with your phone or tablet. Or hold it in your hand and use it as a 3D game controller. My favorite Sphero trick: Augmented reality depicts the ball as a 3D character on the iPad while it rolls around on the floor.

Related: Sphero

Basis
Dave Johnson

Basis

Health trackers were all over the place at CES Monday. One of the newest is Basis, a wrist monitor with a slew of sensors, including perspiration, skin temperature, and heart rate monitoring. It’s currently back-ordered, but you can buy it soon for $199.

Related: Basis

DoorBot
Dave Johnson

DoorBot

Who’s at the door? DoorBot knows. DoorBot (on the right) is a wireless, smart doorbell that sends a picture of whoever is on the porch to your phone. Pair it up with Lockitron (on the left), which lets you lock and unlock the door remotely from your phone. $319 for the pair, or $169 for DoorBot on its own.

Related: DoorBot

HipKey
Dave Johnson

HipKey

The Hipkey develops a symbiotic relationship with your iPhone. Put it in a purse or attach it to your car keys, and you can use your iPhone to find them. Or use it the other way around, and let the Hipkey serve as a theft alarm if your phone moves without your permission. It costs about $90.

Related: HipKey

Liquipel
Dave Johnson

Liquipel

Yes, that’s a photo of an iPhone under water. Liquipel coats your phone so it can be fully submerged in water and continues to work just fine – I saw it with my own eyes. Even the headphone jack, speaker, and docking port are safe. Treating your phone costs about $60.

Related: Liquipel

Yoga 11
Dave Johnson

Yoga 11

It’s really hard to get a representative picture of Lenovo’s Yoga. This thing looks like an ordinary laptop – but you can fold the screen all the way around until it’s back-to-back with the keyboard. Then you can use it like an iPad. The Yoga 11 – just announced at the show – runs the full version of Windows 8 Pro with an i3 processor and starts at $799.

Related: Yoga 11

iSmartAlarm
Dave Johnson

iSmartAlarm

Want a home alarm system but don’t want to pay a monthly fee? iSmartAlarm is a complete system – including cameras and motion sensors – but it alerts you, via your phone, so there are no fees. If someone enters your house, it even emails you a photo, which you can forward to the police. Costs about $250.

Related: iSmartAlarm

Mindmeld
Dave Johnson

Mindmeld

This app – called Mindmeld – might not look very unusual, but it’s one of the coolest things I saw during my first day at CES. The brainchild of a company called Expect Labs, Mindmeld is an iOS app on which you have an online conference. The app constantly monitors what’s said and offers more information in real time about the conversation. That’s right, it translates your words, understands the context, and participates on its own. The app will be in the iTunes store in a few weeks. And then, presumably, the robot invasion will begin.

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