CES 2011: innovations top 10

11 Jan 2011


1. Avatar Kinect

Microsoft Kinect was impressive in itself - a totally motion-based games controller - but Avatar Kinect takes it to the next level. With Avatar Kinect, the camera analyses smaller movements and your facial expressions to allow a virtual representation of you to interact with others on screen in a way that recalls the Star Trek holodeck and the scenes imagined in William Gibson novels.


2. LG Optimus Black and the superphones

The LG Optimus Black and other super-powered Android phones are bringing a new class of smartphone to life. The next level smartphones are going to be thinner, more powerful and pack amazing screens into their slim shells. The era of the smartphone is coming to an end and the era of the superphone sitting beside your tablet is beginning.


3. Asus PrimeSense camera: Kinect for your PC

The Kinect is ace on the Xbox 360 but it's limited to that platform without some hacking. The Asus PrimeSense camera, which goes by the unwieldy name of Wavi XTION, brings those motion-control skills to the PC and will be used less for games and more for controlling your apps, movies and music with gestures.


4. MSI Kid Pad: the toddler tablet

If you've had to wrest your iPad away from your children, you'll be wishing the MSI Kid Pad gets made. Right now the curved and rugged toddler tablet is just a concept design but the 10in tablet looks seriously impressive as a means of entertaining the tots with twin USB ports, a 3.5mm audio jack and the ability to play movies and music.


5. Lady Gaga Polaroid camera sunglasses

Lady Gaga designs Polaroid products now. Yes. Really. The oddest but most interesting of them was the Polaroid GL20, a pair of sunglasses with 1.5in LCD screens inside each lens. The Polaroid GL20 glasses will take images and then display them on your face. Quite why you'd want to do that we're not sure yet.


6. iPhone and iPad external storage arrives

The iPhone and iPad have not got enough storage on board for the most media-obsessed gadget fan. The Kingston MobiSX solves that with a Wi-Fi infused hard drive that will grab files from your iPad or iPhone and stream music and videos to them.


7. Slingplayer hits smart TVs

Slingplayer is a brilliant device for streaming live TV your media to anywhere in the world and it's now coming to smart TVs starting with Google TV. It's one of those innovations that isn't going to blow your mind but will make life easier in a stroke.


8. Glasses-free 3D

Glasses-free 3D has been trailed and teased and briefly shown over the past few years but CES 2011 saw it being shown far more frequently. It is not quite ready for your living room yet but it's coming and could bring an end to 3D-induced headaches.

9. Future car tech in the Ford Focus Electric

There was lots of interesting future car tech at CES 2011 but the Ford Focus Electric stood out. An all-electric car, it includes Ford Sync technology which means the car responds to voice commands and hooks up to smartphone apps via Bluetooth. It also allows you to monitor the car's charging from your phone.


10. Samsung Smart TVs with Flash and Adobe Air

Smart TVs with internet connections are great but often they lack support for common web standards which means you won't see lots of web video or be able to use certain apps. The latest bunch of Samsung Smart TVs avoid that with support for Flash video and Adobe Air apps. Again, it's a minor innovation but an important one.


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