Posted: January 01, 2013
Gadgets, gizmos and gear for the New Year
3,000 exhibitors prep for Consumer Electronics Show in VegasBy Eric Peterson
It’s a new year and that means new electronics. It also means Vegas, baby, Vegas.
The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show rolls into Sin City January 8-11 to showcase the latest and greatest gadgets, gizmos and gear, spanning everything from self-propelled roller skates to brainwave-controlled computers. More than 150,000 attendees will get a taste of the latest and greatest from 3,000 exhibitors. Big trends include wireless wallets, connected cars and cloud-based technologies, but the biggest and broadest trend is the full-throttle innovation that will be on display.
Here are a few of this year’s highlights to wet your high-tech whistle at this year’s show.
You can roll down the sidewalk at 10 miles per hour on spnKiX, a hip hybrid of a Segway and a pair of roller skates. Made from fiber-reinforced nylon, the electric motorized skates are controlled by a handheld wireless remote and have a six-mile range on each charge. Dubbed the “smallest electric vehicle,” spnKiX target those medium distances that are a bit long to walk, but too short to drive. The product, which hit the market in spring 2012, requires more than a little balance and a maximum weight capacity of 180 pounds.
The iPod era may have squashed the stereo era into smithereens, but the Kicker Amphitheater breathes new life into the concept of a home sound system. Utilizing an iPod, iPhone or iPad as its guts, the dock features tweeters, woofers and a 6-inch subwoofer for the full spectrum of sound without the muss and fuss of a stereo’s myriad cables and space requirements. The downloadable KickStart app features an eight-band equalizer, an alarm and Facebook integration.
This GPS unit is a great way for golfers to get a tech-assisted edge. Users download course data before they hit the links, and the CoursePro provides the par of the current hole, distances to the front, middle and back of the green, previous shot distance, and other information on the backlit color LCD display. The website has more than 20,000 golf courses available for download, and the battery can last up to 12 hours on a charge.
Jersey Jack Pinball Wizard of Oz Pinball Game
Pinball isn’t exactly a growth industry in the 21st century, but don’t tell Jack Guarnieri, a.k.a. Jersey Jack. He launched his eponymous pinball manufacturer last year and pre-sold more than 1,000 of his first licensed game, The Wizard of Oz. Complete with the Emerald City, Munchkinland, and the Witch’s Castle (not to mention a mechanical flying monkey and a spinning house), the game melds time-tested pinball traditions with digital technology and tells a story that’s a perfect match for the silver ball.
Shipping since November 2012, this dinky iPhone accessory is actually three camera lenses in one and a game changer for the Instagram crowd. There’s a macro lens for extreme closeups, a 1800-degree fisheye lens, and a wide-angle lens. You simply flip the olloclip over to change lenses, or unscrew the wide-angle lens for the macro one. Compatible with iPhone 4 and 5 models, the accessory comes with a pair of tiny lens caps and a carrying bag.
The first solar cover for Amazon’s Kindle e-readers, the SolarKindle both protects and illuminates the screen, while also offering reserve power. The high-performance solar panel on the cover powers an LED light for night reading, and the Kindle can draw on it for reserve juice when its internal battery is depleted. Launched in spring 2012, the SolarKindle is also pretty efficient: The sun provides three days of energy for each hour of charging.
The demise of the desktop computer and the rise of the tablet has redefined the concept of a workstation, and myKeyO offers a smart way to reign in the clutter. The “six-in-one” keyboard for tablets and smartphones doubles as an organizer, featuring a patented internal storage compartment below the keys. myKeyO keyboards have plenty of other bells and whistles: pen, stylus and business card holders; Bluetooth capability; and USB compatibility with tablets as well as desktops and laptops. New for 2013 is the slick aluminum “Executive restt,” designed with the iPad and other Apple products in mind.
$39.95 to $99.95; www.mykeyo.com
InteraXon Muse Headband
Thought-controlled computing might sound like something from the far future, but that future is actually the present for Torono’s InteraXon Computing. The company’s technology will first hit the mass market in the form of the Muse, a headband that measures brainwaves and wirelessly transmits them to smartphones and tablets. Users can then see how their brain is performing and use their brainwaves to control their devices. InteraXon will begin shipping the Muse this month; expect to see brainwave-controlled computing in everything from video games to cars.
About $150; www.interaxon.ca
Looxcie HD Explore
Perfect for action-sports fiends, the Looxcie HD Explore can stream live video onto the Internet in real time. About the size of a mobile phone, the hands-free camera shoots video at up to 60 frames per second and streams it wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet, allowing for a live stream or near-live instant replays. You can also connect to a Mac or Windows PC via USB. The features range from two-way voice and text chat during broadcasts, a low-light sensor, and water-resistant casing.
All day long, the One tracks your steps, burned calories, and stairs climbed. But that’s only half of the feature set: After bedtime, it monitors your sleep cycle and helps you learn how to get a more restful night. Then it transmits the data to smartphones and computers, allowing users to look at graphs and charts about their health as well as set goals and earn badges for achieving goals.
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com