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Dream screens sharpen up ; Gadgets [Eire Region] [Mirror (UK)]
[January 11, 2013]

Dream screens sharpen up ; Gadgets [Eire Region] [Mirror (UK)]

(Mirror (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) All the new hi-tech gizmos you'll see this year, as revealed at the world's biggest trade show in Las Vegas In the past few years, 3D TV has been the big talking point of the Vegas Expo which determines the hi-tech trends of the next 12 months. Not so this year, perhaps because of the public's apathy, but more likely because there's a new kid on the block - 4K, otherwise known as Ultra-High Definition.

These next-generation TVs offer a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels which offers four times the sharpness of Full HD.

Arguably the most striking of the 4K sets unveiled was Samsung's S9 UFD, a mammoth 110in TV featuring an eyecatching frame shaped like an artist's easel. OLED TV's, so long touted as successors to LCD, and plasma displays with their better contrast levels and smoother motion handling, were also being talked up, with Sony's ridiculously crisp prototype - the first capable of handling the aforementioned 4K pictures - being my pick of those on show.

Elsewhere on the OLED front, Korean rivals LG and Samsung both unveiled 55in sets, with the latter's KN55F9500 featuring a clever feature called Multi-View which allows two people to watch different channels on the same TV simultaneously. The feature works via 3D glasses, which have small built-in speakers allowing couples to hear their separate channels.

Smart TVs are also getting, well, smarter with Panasonic demonstrating one of the most impressive new features at the show in the shape of My Home Screen - a personalisation tool which figures out which family member is watching the TV via facial recognition before selecting their favourite content for them.

Elsewhere, the Japanese manufacturer's new Viera sets also feature an updated version of their Swipe & Share feature, allowing users to easily transfer videos and photos between their mobile devices and the TV. Some Panasonic sets will also offer voice recognition allowing you to control and interact with your TV by speaking into the remote control. Another Panasonic innovation on show was a set of groundbreaking new bone conduction Bluetooth headphones which connect to your TV or audio device wirelessly. However, instead of using your ears, these cans work by transmitting soundwaves via your cheekbones, delivering audio straight to your head.

This means you can listen to your TV in bed without disturbing a partner. Equally, joggers will be able to listen to music while still being able to hear ambient sounds, making running much safer.

Graphics chip manufacturers Nvidia made one of the more surprising announcements by unveiling the Shield, their first attempt at a gaming console. Looking not unlike an Xbox 360 controller, the all-in-one game unit running on Android is powered by a Nvidia Tegra 4 chip with a HDMI port on the bottom for hooking up a HDTV, while a five-inch 720p touchscreen display can also be attached for portable gaming.

Interestingly, PC gamers running Windows 7 or 8 with a compatible graphics card can stream games running on their desktop rigs directly to the device, putting the likes of Skyrim and Far Cry 3 in a handheld console.

Elsewhere, Lenovo revealed the Horizon, a 27in touchscreen PC/ tablet hybrid that's as much a coffee table surface as it is a computer.

Demo'd with a special version of EA's take on Monopoly and an air hockey game, the giant Windows 8 slate's built-in stand can be folded away to lay the device flat, acting like a giant tabletop tablet. Set for a summer release, it'll cost around EUR 1,468.

French firm Parrot can often be relied upon to come up with gadgets that err on the quirky side, and they didn't disappoint at this year's CES, showing off their new Flower Power gizmo which should appeal to any wannabe Alan Titchmarshes who need a helping hand.

The device, which looks a bit like a tuning fork, monitors your plants most vital signs and transmits the data back via Bluetooth to your iPhone or iPad.

It's great if you're good at buying plants, but even better at killing them off. The app's presentation and alerts system makes looking after a garden or houseplants akin to having a Tamagotchi.

Using its app, you pick the plant you wish to monitor from a vast database, with the device's wireless sensors measuring the soil and feeding back advice about adding the correct amount of fertilizer and water, also telling you whether it should be moved to a sunnier or shadier spot.

Last year, Swedish company Tobii introduced technology enabling you to control your cursor on a Windows PC just by focusing your eyes on the screen.

This year, the firm were showing off the REX, a device similar to Microsoft's Xbox Kinect which sits atop your monitor meaning you can use your eyes as a mouse on any PC display. It is impressively accurate and works really well with Windows 8, letting you scroll through emails, for example, just by looking down the screenway. It's incredibly intuitive.

Also impressing was Air Copy, a wireless mobile picture scanner from Ion which lets you copy photos and documents up to A4 size and feeds them to your iOS or Android device via wi-fi. But, the year's daftest gadget must surely be the HAPIFORK by HAPILABS - a Bluetooth- enabled fork (yes, really) which monitors how much and how fast you're eating, feeding the info back to your iPhone.


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