The first technologies have been unveiled at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Waterproof smartphone coatings¸ diet-aiding armbands and a social network that warns drivers of the latest police speed-traps were all on show.
Microsoft’s chief executive Steve Ballmer will present his company’s last keynote at the three-day event.
The firm’s pullout has led several attendees to speculate if the trade show will be a smaller event in future.
But if that is CES’s fate you would not know it from the throng of press¸ analysts¸ executives and PRs packed into a huge hotel conference room for the first teaser event – CES Unveiled.
3D printing app
The CES show is far from being just about new types of computer. In fact much of the technology is based on mixing smartphone apps with other technologies.
One example is Bodymedia which is showing off the latest version of its health monitoring system.
Its armband uses sensors to collect 5¸000 bits of data about the user’s body every minute. They are used to calculate activity levels¸ calories burned and how well its owner is sleeping at night – all of which can be monitored through a smartphone app. Its developers say the aim is to help people lose weight rather than become hypochondriacs.
Sculpteo has also unveiled what it claims is the first ever app to turn the shape of a human face into a 3D printed object.
The software is used to take a photo of the profile of a person’s face. The image is then used to create ceramic objects such as a vase¸ whose contours mimic the shape of the person’s face. The firm will then manufacture and deliver the object if the user wishes to purchase it.
Perhaps a bit more practical is Escort Live – a social network for motorists.
The app communicates via Bluetooth with Escort’s existing detectors to record sites where speed cameras have been installed or there are police officers using laser guns or radar equipment.
These alerts are then “transmitted to the cloud” and shared with other subscribers to warn them of potential speed-fine “threats”.
“Now before you even leave your driveway you can know the best route to take¸” said PR director Ron Gividen.
“We have some heat coloured imaps and icons so within an instant you know: red – the speed recording equipment was detected within the last 30 minutes; orange – it’s been within an hour; yellow – an hour and a half; then after an hour and a half it disappears off the map.”
The system has just been laun