Gadgets galore at world's top tech fair

A Shakespeare-reciting robot, the world's most merciless alarm clock and "intelligent" cocktail shakers were among the gadgets wowing visitors at the CeBIT high-tech fair on Wednesday.

Ranging from the futuristic to the ingenious to the downright pointless, the world's biggest IT expo this year showcased thousands of the latest gadgets to pull in the 350,000 visitors expected to travel to Hanover in northern Germany.

No one finds it easy to wake up in the morning. But even the heaviest sleeper has found his match in the "intelligent" alarm clock designed by students at the Technical University of Wildau in Germany.

At the appointed time, the clock communicates with the curtains in the user's bedroom, instructing them to open. Five minutes later, it turns on the bedside lamp. Five minutes after that, the radio is turned on, then an alarm.

The sleepy user can only stop this pitiless process by standing on a sensor pad beside the bed for five seconds. When the alarm clock is satisfied its master is awake, it stops the alarm and turns on the coffee machine as reward.

"It was conceived by my students who sometimes find it tricky to get out of bed for classes," explained Birgit Wilkes from the university.

"But it has a serious application. We are using similar sensor technology to monitor the homes of old people to detect if they have had a fall," she added.

Worried about hair loss? Itching to see if you have a bald patch on top of your head? Then Spec, a Hong-Kong based firm, has the product for you with its hairbrush-cum-camera with built-in magnifier.

The user simply runs the brush through his hair and a magnified image of the scalp is transmitted to a computer, which then analyses the hair density over time to judge whether the dreaded baldness is setting in.

For the dental-health conscious, the company has also pioneered a toothbrush with a built-in camera that shows up hard-to-reach tooth plaque and tracks how efficiently you are brushing your teeth.

And for the discerning geek, the German Centre for Artificial Intelligence has created the "intelligent" talking cocktail shaker to ensure that every White Russian or Singapore Sling is mixed and poured to perfection.

The user inputs his or her chosen cocktail and the shaker's "voice" cheerfully offers the correct recipe.

Linked wirelessly to tiny devices on bottles on the bar, it ensures no mistakes are made no matter how many drinks have been consumed and berates the budding cocktail waiter in no uncertain terms if the wrong booze is selected.

This done, it offers pointers on how best to shake the cocktail, again reacting angrily if it senses its tips are not being followed to the letter.

Other gadgets were less practical, from sunglasses with a built-in camcorder to record exactly what your eye sees, a miniature helicopter piloted by iPhone to an electronic smokeless cigarette that replicates the sensation of smoking.

But there was no doubt what stole the show: the Shakespeare-reciting, multilingual, all-singing, all-dancing sleek life-sized white robot called the "RoboThespian" who drew huge crowds with its cheeky tricks.

From delivering the soliloquy from "Hamlet", complete with over-the-top theatrical actions, to impersonating another famous robot - C3PO from "Star Wars" - the charming computer quickly became the fair's star attraction.

Yours for a snip at 55,000 pounds (65,000 euros, $90,000), the "RoboThespian" has already featured at NASA, as well as at robot museums and banks, where it acts as a tour guide-cum-greeter with a difference.

Just don't get too close. The amorous and ever-friendly robot is not afraid of trying to plant a kiss on the cheeks of anyone it senses standing nearby.

The CeBIT runs until March 5.

ric/bm

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Project Coordinator/Order Entry, Security Cleared

    £100 - £110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Ham...

    Senior Digital Marketing Executive

    £35000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

    Junior Developer- CSS, HMTL, Bootstrap

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading company within the healthcare ...

    Junior Web Developer- CSS, HMTL

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading company within the healthcare ...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz