HANOVER, Germany: If swimming goggles with an in-built underwater camera, a bamboo laptop or a pink crocodile PC case is your thing then Germanyâ€™s CeBIT IT fair is for you.
The technology fair, with 5,500 exhibitors the worldâ€™s biggest, opened its doors to the public in Hanover on Tuesday and runs to March 9, allowing thousands of visitors to check out the hottest and also the weirdest gadgets.
A chilly wind was blowing across the vast exhibition centre, but when summer comes Liquid Image thinks its yellow goggles with an in-built digital camera are just the accessory.
On the top of the range model, which sells for 129 euros, the 5.0 megapixel camera and 16 megabite memory allows you to take up to 29 photos or 53 seconds of video up to a depth of 30 metres (100 feet), the firm says.
Also on show for eyeware was a pair of sunglasses from Chinese firm Xonix not only with an in-built camera but also with an MP3 player, while another from Taiwanâ€™s Inter Brands includes music and bluetooth so you can use it as a phone.
But forget the glasses – in the 21st century you canâ€™t be seen toting your laptop around in anything other than a pink, fake crocodile skin case, or so French firm Sweetcover would have you believe.
Their cases, which also come in other more traditional colours and materials including real leather, retail for around 70 euros (105 dollars) in Paris boutiques and soon elsewhere, the firmâ€™s founder and president Raphael Taieb told AFP.
Not only will you avoid getting hot knees, he says, but the coverâ€™s high-tech design, which incorporates 70 different fabrics, ensures the computer will not overheat – something which other luxury goods makers have failed to achieve with their prototypes, Taieb claims.
The cases will protect your laptop and turn it into a â€œsubtle and seductiveâ€ piece of hardware, the company says. It has straps to keep the computer in place, is open at the sides and has holes in the back for cables.
Other bling-bling novelties included a Giorgio Armani mobile phone from Samsung and a Lamborghini laptop complete with the Italian sportscar makerâ€™s badge and partly made of leather – yours to take home for 2,999 euros (4,561 dollars) with an aerodynamic mouse with yellow go-faster stripes.
Its maker Asus was also showing off computers made partly out of bamboo – to give it an eco-friendly style, a salesman at the Taiwanese firmâ€™s stand said. It has not yet decided whether to launch them on the market, however.
On the sillier side, Californian firm Ugobe presented a small, robotic dinosaur dubbed Pleo similar to Sonyâ€™s AIBO robotic dog that has to be looked after and nurtured like a Tamagotchi.
Pleo can be programmed via a USB cable connected to your computer or with a memory card slotted into its underbelly so it can learn new tricks like barking at intruders or performing a leaf tug-of-war with another Pleo or its owner.
The green and brown pet, which retails for around 300 euros in Europe, is babylike when young and coos and purrs with pleasure when tickled under the chin. But it also gets hungry and can have mood swings, just like humans.
It is based on the Camarasaurus, a late-Jurassic North American herbivore, 20 metres (66 feet) long in adulthood. Members of the online Pleo community can even create their own tricks to upload.
And if you want to keep an eye on your sleeping baby – or to make sure Pleo isnâ€™t bothering the cat downstairs – Chinaâ€™s RDI was presenting a teddy bear with a hidden camera in its left eye.
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