CES 2014 highlights
LG's Life Band Touch activity tracker. Photo: AP
Las Vegas: At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it was all about wearable gadgets, upgraded tablets and the connected home. Big screen ultra high-definition (UHD) televisions, ones that curve and others that recognise who you are using facial recognition were also prominent fixtures at the tech fair.
Following the show, we take a look at the gadgets that impressed us the most.
Just about every vendor at the Las Vegas Convention Centre was showing off some sort of wearable device for the world's biggest gadget show.
A wearable gaming controller called the PrioVR consists of sensors to be strapped onto the body to allow users to fully immerse themselves in video games or any other kind of virtual world.
It makes use of triaxial gyroscopes, magnetometers and accelerometers, as well as sensor fusion – the combining of sensory data – to read movements. Combined with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, this is every gamer's dream. An upper-body option is expected to cost less than $US300 ($337) and a full-body option less than $US400 when it goes on sale in June 2015, said YEI Technology, the company behind it.
Sony's SmartBand is a waterproof wristband that tracks everything from physical activities and sleep patterns to how much the user has socialised with friends.
LG's Lifeband Touch can be paired with headphones and a smartphone app to measures distance, speed, number of steps, calories consumed and projected pace. It will be available this year. LG also released Heart Rate Earphones, which can measure the wearer's pulse.
Socks from a company called Heapsylon can track how a user's foot hits the ground, analyse the rhythm of each footfall and calculate stride length. The $US185 socks, called Sensoria, are expected in March.
A company called Zepp unveiled a $US150 sensor which can be attached to a glove, club, bat or racquet to help users improve their performance in golf, baseball and tennis. It uses 3D tracking to measure and analyse the swing.
A slew of tablets were also released, the most interesting of which were able to transform into laptops. These devices are known as "convertible" or "multi-mode" tablets. Others could run two operating systems, such as Android and Windows, at the same time.
The Asus Transformer Book Duet can run both Android and Windows operating systems, and features a tablet that detaches from a keyboard. A little-known Indian company called Micromax also debuted a hybrid called the LapTab, which runs Windows 8.1 and Android. It will cost $US400-$US500 when it is released next month.
Lenovo also offered a number of two-in-one hybrids. One of them, the Miix 2, has 10.1-inch screen which can be detached to become a tablet or turned around and docked backwards.
Sony unwrapped the convertible Vaio Fit 11A Flip PC. It runs Windows 8.1, includes a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 and will start at $US799 in February. Australian pricing and availability hasn't been announced, as with many gadgets at the show.
Samsung unveiled the 12-inch Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO tablets – its largest yet. Pricing has not been announced, but the company confirmed they would be on sale in Australia from March.
Connected home devices
From the connected toothbrush to the connected light bulb, everything around the home is getting smarter.
Ericsson unveiled a prototype paper that can use inbuilt electronics to identify people who touch it and then send information to their digital devices.
Boulder showed off its Revolv, which can connect compatible devices – such as light bulbs, sound systems and even door locks – so they can all be controlled from one smartphone app.
Want to be alerted to how much water to drink, whether you're sleeping long enough, when the coffee beans run out or if it's time to have a pill? The Mother by Sen.se uses "cookies" – small devices that can be attached to pretty much anything – and a main device that looks like a Russian doll to track data and connect it to your phone or email. If one thing is certain, it's that in the not-too-distant future everything could be connected to the internet: lights, refrigerators, doors and even our family dogs and cats. But maybe not fish.
The writer travelled to CES as a guest of Lenovo.