CES' top ten weirdest gadgets
Stair-climbing robots, singing Elvis busts, MP3 baby gyms - only in Vegas...
CES 2007 This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has been quiet, very quiet. However the absence of mega announcements from Microsoft, Sony et al has left space open for some of the smaller, quirkier manufacturers to grab their share of their limelight. Here then, much more fun than an LG Blu-ray/HD DVD player, are the ten best things we have seen at Vegas so far...
1 iRobot Create From the company that brought you the Roomba vacuum cleaner comes a robot designed for students, geeks and other 'bot lovers to create their own programmes. See it in action here fetching beer from the fridge or even being controlled by a hamster. Genius.
2 Elvis bot From Wowee, the company best known for the Robosapien, comes the Elvis bot. It's a kind of a triple peanut butter and jelly sandwich take on that singing fish from a few years back. It delivers all your fave King classic and, courtesy of its accompanying mic, you can even sing along too. They also have a robot panda too.
3 Hasbro/Creative MP3 players Creative has a new strategy in its never ending battle with the mighty Apple. And that's to catch them young, really young. At CES it has a range of prototype products called Playskool which are basically cuddly toys kitted out with music players. There's even a baby gym. Scary stuff.
4 Eclipse Solar Gear briefcase Clever idea this: it's a briefcase with a built in solar charger. Basically, you leave it basking in the sun for a bit and when you are good to go it delivers extra power for your laptop.
5 Behringer iAXE393 USB guitar Here's a way of ensuring all those Hendrix-esque guitar blow-outs are stored forever. The nattily named iAXE393 hooks up to a PC via USB so you can record your fantastic fretmeistership on your hard drive. It comes with software to make you sound professional too and best of all cost just $99.
6 R2-D2 Mobile Entertainment system Yes, your pint-size Star Wars droid can now play radio, CD, MP3, WMA and most other music formats, project DVDs, games and photos onto your wall or ceiling and move around the floor. Coming to the UK in the summer where it will retail for £1,500. Phew. See him in action here.
7 Belkin's TuneStudio for iPod - Smart little gadget that basically acts as a mixer for your Apple player. Available for the 5G iPod, the four-channel audio mixer that lets you create digital recordings directly onto your iPod, with inputs for up to four different instruments or audio sources. Hook up, play, twiddle the knobs to get the right settings, then sit back and enjoy your efforts.
8 JVC GZ-HD7 Everio HD camcorder This is the camcorder we've always wanted. Its captures high def (1080p no less) footage which is then stored on its 60 Gigabyte hard drive. Apparently you can store five hours of your kids, animals and local football matches in HD before the disk fills up. Due in the UK in late spring for around £1,000.
9 Erector Spyke robot Nope you haven't been redirected to some adult site, Erector is an alternative brand name for Meccano whose very mention will probably cause Reg readers of a certain vintage to all dewey-eyed. Spyke is its Wi-Fi controlled bot and its big breakthrough is that unlike its robot canine chum Sony Aibo, and very distant relative the Daleks, it can climb stairs.
10 Ego Waterproof iPod speaker system This is a standard iPod system, with built in speakers etc, that is not only completely waterproof but can also bob up and down on the water delivering music to aid you as you clock up those lengths. The device, which is compatible with Minis, Nanos, and fourth- and fifth-gen iPods, will also let you watch video and has enough power to keep the show going for 30 hours.
It goes on sale soon in the US for around $200. More here.
Read our complete CES 2007 coverage at Reg Hardware
More CES toys at TechDigest