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Gadgets that can hear, track and watch to dominate CES

Agam Shah | Jan. 3, 2014
Wearable gadgets and "smart" devices that can see, track motion and record activities will be out in abundance at this year's International CES trade show.

Wearable gadgets and "smart" devices that can see, track motion and record activities will be out in abundance at this year's International CES trade show.

The world's primary electronics junket in Las Vegas next week will be flooded with smartwatches, wearable cameras and glasses, fitness trackers and other wirelessly connected gadgets. Last year's hot technologies -- 3D printing and 4K TVs and displays -- will also be prominently featured.

As usual, there will be a stream of celebrities promoting products, and even World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has scheduled a mystery event on the sidelines. And CES is never complete without unique products like an iPhone 5S case that also is a stun gun, and a sensor-packed basketball that can rate a shooter's fade-away or jump shot.

Samsung and Sony made smartwatches viable, and cheaper models from companies like Archos will be shown this year. The crowdfunded Kreyos smartwatch, which the namesake maker claims is "the only smartwatch with voice and gesture control" will make its first appearance at the show. The Kreyos smartwatch also works with the Android, iOS and the Windows Phone 8 operating systems.

A small, wearable camera from Google and Ambarella that can record high-definition video and "allow users complete mobility during a [Google] Helpouts session," will be shown, according to the companies. The camera can wirelessly stream video via a smartphone or Wi-Fi access point to the servers of Google Helpouts, which is a live, video-based support service. The wearable camera could eventually be used for Google Hangouts or other forms of chat in the future.

Digital health is expected to be a big theme, with wearable fitness devices in the middle of the action. Sportbands and wrist monitors that track fitness activities, packed with consulting and fitness services for those who need extra help, will be shown. Fitbug is planning to provide "groundbreaking smart advice and tailored programs" that will work with its Orb wrist monitors so customers can reach weight loss or fitness goals.

Gartner last month forecast revenue from wearable electronics, apps and services for fitness and personal health to reach $5 billion in 2016, increasing from $1.6 billion in 2013.

Wearable devices are benefitting companies like Intel, Qualcomm and Freescale, which make low-power processors and other components. The chip companies will show wearable products that showcase the abilities of their chips and components.

Recently crowned world chess champion Magnus Carlsen is being used as a carrot by Nordic Semiconductor to draw attendees to its booth. On Jan. 8 between 3:00PM and 4:00PM Las Vegas time, Carlsen "will take on 20 players in a simultaneous match" and wear a bracelet that monitors his heart rate, which will be wirelessly transmitted to a large screen. Nordic Semiconductor hopes to show off its wireless and sensor technologies via the chess showdown.


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