Monday, January 23, 2006

CES: Get Your MoGo Mousing

The ultra-slim MoGo Mouse fits into your notebook's
PC Card slot for storage. Photos © Newton Peripherals

The 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show was full of strange sights and the MoGo Mouse Bluetooth wireless mouse from Newton Peripherals LLC was certainly one of them.
The MoGo resembles a conventional wireless mouse about as much as a globe resembles a fold-out map. Instead of a rounded shape, the $69.95 MoGo is flat and rectangular and is sized so it fits into a notebook computer's PC Card slot--a space often left empty now that many notebooks come with a modem, an Ethernet port and wireless networking already built in. While the mouse is parked in the slot it recharges its battery from the notebook's battery.
To use the MoGo Mouse, you pop it out of the PC Card slot and extend its plastic feet. In practice your fingers end up at the same angle they would be with a conventional mouse.
The appeal of the MoGo is that it relieves your travel bag of the clutter of a mouse on the loose. The caveat is that in order to use the MoGo, your notebook has to support Bluetooth wireless networking. While many new notebooks do, most do not.
Fortunately, adding Bluetooth functionality to a notebook or a PC isn't hard. Devices such as Belkin Corp.'s Bluetooth USB Adapter and Cisco Systems, Inc.'s Linksys Bluetooth USB Adapter USBBT100 plug into any USB port and are easy to configure. The MoGo Mouse will reach stores in the first quarter of 2006, according to Newton Peripherals.
Would you use this thing? Vote now.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

CES: Beep, Beep! I'm Over Here Bonehead!

Now why didn't I think of that? What happens when you forget where you parked your car? Wouldn't it be nice if your car could shout, "Over here you idiot!" or something just as endearing?

On Thursday Jack Conrad of Tabernash, Colorado won the $15,000 top prize in Digital Innovations LLC's first annual DOC Awards for design, originality and creativity. The award was presented at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The competition is for inventors who have not had their ideas mass marketed yet. Conrad's concept consists of a key ring device which activates a "horn tone" receiver in the car which responds with a prerecorded voice or with music or with an audio file created by the user. The concept is similar to that of creating ring tones for cell phones. You could record your own voice onto the receiver unit and have your car greet you as politely--or impolitely--as you would like.

Conrad, pictured at left below as he receives his award from Digital Innovations CEO Rick Mazursky, is now eligible for an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Digital Innovations, which makes a wide variety of accessories for consumer electronics and digital media.

Photo © 2006 Stadium Circle Features

CES: Babble: Hi-Tech Cone of Silence

Remember the "Cone of Silence" from the old "Get Smart" TV sitcom? By using a huge clear glass tube which would lower from the ceiling at the right moment, secret agent Maxwell Smart (played by the late Don Adams) could have a private, if kooky-looking, conversation with another agent.

Babble, a 2006 version of the Cone of Silence without the glass tube or secret agents, turned a few heads when it was shown off Wednesday by Sonare Technologies at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The system looks like a conventional set of speakers, but offers a technology that can mask a person's voice, thus allowing him to speak on the phone or to someone nearby without the danger of other people overhearing the conversation.

Once you train the system to recognize your voice and the way you speak, Babble generates what sounds like crowd noise, explained Mark Schurman, director of corporate external communications at Herman Miller Inc., the parent company of Sonare. The noise is attuned to your voice and has the effect of masking what you're saying, thus thwarting eavesdroppers and allowing you to have a private discussion in an open area.

Babble won a "Best of Innovations" award at CES and was named a "Cherry Pick" for being one of the "newest and coolest" products at the show, as assessed by Marty Winston Public Relations.

Photo © 2006 Stadium Circle Features