Offbeat tech: The misfits of CES

Here are eight unusual items--some available, others strictly conceptual--that caught our eye at CES 2010.

  • YoGen Ripcord Charger

    Calling all lawnmower fans! Wouldn't it be great if you could charge your cell phone or MP3 player the same way you'd start up a gas-powered mower?

    Even if you answered "no," the US$40 YoGen Mobile Charger could provide emergency power in a pinch, as [[xref:|this video|Mobile charger for life]] demonstrates.

    Like today's solar chargers, the [[xref:|YoGen ripcord device|YoGen ripcord device]] isn't a viable alternative to the conventional AC adapter, but it's handy for campers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts who need a quick charge in the wild.
  • What'll They Think of Next?

    A rechargeable tote back, a smartphone bracelet, snow goggles with an integrated digital camera to record your triumphs and tragedies, and more: They're all at CES 2010. Here are eight unusual items--some available, others strictly conceptual--that caught the eyes of our US colleagues during CES 2010.
  • Asus Waveface Ultra Smartphone Bracelet

    Asus demoed a collection of futuristic gadgetry at CES, including the Waveface Ultra smartphone, a flexible bracelet that wraps around your wrist.

    It makes calls (naturally), accesses the Web, and even flattens into a tablet. (Take that, Apple.) Of course, this Dick Tracy-esque gizmo is strictly conceptual, and there's no word on whether it'll someday find its way to market.

    Would a smartphone bracelet look good on you?
  • Concord Keystone 4U2ReUSE Solar Sling Tote Bag

    Why not recharge electronic gizmos while you carry them?

    The Concord Keystone 4U2ReUSE Solar Sling tote bag lets you do just that.

    Made from 100-percent recycled plastic bottles, the Solar Sling features a flexible solar panel and a battery pack with USB connectors. It charges phones, cameras, music players, and other portable gadgets.

    The solar cell achieves a full charge after soaking up five hours of full sunlight. A great idea, but will the 4U2ReUSE work as promised? And how about shortening the name to simply "Solar Sling"? The company hasn't announced pricing and availability yet.
  • Liquid Image Snow Goggles with Integrated Digital Camera

    Wouldn't skiing or snowboarding be more fun if you could record your POV for posterity?

    And wouldn't your friends want to share in your terror as you slammed into that tree?

    The [[xref:|Liquid Image Summit Series|Liquid Image Summit Series]] of snow goggles can turn you into a mountaintop videographer.

    Featuring an integrated digital camera, the Summit goggles capture 720x480 video (with audio) at up to 30 frames per second, as well as 5-megapixel still images.

    Onboard flash memory is a puny 16MB, but you can add up to 16GB via a Micro SD/SDHC card slot. The first Summit Series model will ship this summer and cost about US$150.
  • Pong Anti-Radiation BlackBerry Case

    Of course, one reason not to wear a smartphone is the fear of radiation.

    While the jury is still out on whether cell phone radiation can cause cancer, RIM BlackBerry and Apple iPhone users can play it safe by getting a [[xref:|Pong skin|Pong skin]], a protective case that cuts the amount of cell phone radiation absorbed by your body by more than 60 percent.

    Both the BlackBerry and iPhone Pong skins cost US$50.
  • Hannspree Polar Bear HDTV

    Hannspree says its TVs are designed to be "bold declarations of your individuality, pride, and personal style."

    There's little doubt the company's new polar bear TV--the official name wasn't announced at the show--oozes more, uh, personal style than most of us could bear. (Cue: groans.)

    Available in March, this arctic wonder sports a 17-inch screen, 720p HD (1280 pixels x 720 pixels) resolution, and costs US$299.

    Bottom line: A '10' on the kitsch-o-meter, but preschoolers may love it.
  • Samsung Transparent 14-inch OLED Laptop

    Hollywood loves see-through video displays, which are always popping up in sci-fi flicks

    But what's the benefit to laptop users watching, say, a YouTube video? It's unclear whether consumers want (or need) [[xref:|a transparent OLED display|Samsung Shows Off See-Through Screens at CES]] on a notebook computer, but this Samsung 14-inch prototype shows that such a thing is possible.

    Engadget spotted Samsung's see-through OLED at CES and captured the image above. Very cool, certainly. The shape of things to come?
  • Light Blue Optics Light Touch Interactive Projector

    [[xref:|Light Blue Optics|Light Blue Optics]]' Light Touch is an interactive projector that turns any flat surface into a 10-inch touchscreen.

    Using multi-touch technology, this clever technology--which is made for inclusion in other products--gives users a more spacious and ergonomic touchscreen experience, particularly when viewed beside the cramped confines of your average smartphone display.

    I'd like to see Light Touch integrated with projector-equipped smartphones. Who needs a tablet computer when any tabletop can double as a touchscreen?
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