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CES: These gadgets were voted coolest of the cool

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A digital microphone won the Last Gadget Standing (LGS) live competition run by Living in Digital Times during CES 2019 in Las Vegas.

LGS celebrated ten competitors who presented new and unique consumer gadgets to a standing-room-only crowd that voted for their favourite gadget via an Audience “Applausometer.”

The winner this year is Shure’s new MV88+ Video Kit, a digital stereo condenser microphone that provides content creators with an all-in-one solution for capturing professional-quality on-the-go recordings. The kit also includes a Manfrotto PIXI tripod, phone clamp, and mount as well as iOS and USB cables for next-level compatibility and connectivity.

The HP Spectre Folio, a new concept for the laptop computer featuring leather construction and innovative foldable design, won this year’s People’s Choice Award.

Competitors presented a range of new products that tackle problems we deal with every day, from hearing better, to solving the seemingly never-ending password conundrum with a simple key solution, to a dash-cam video system that immediately sends your mobile phone video of car break-ins and accidents.

“In its 19th year, LGS continues to look to the innovators who consistently wow us year after year with solutions to life’s most vexing challenges,” said Robin Raskin, founder of Living in Digital Times. “Regardless of who won, everyone on stage today was a winner because they beautifully shared their passions by bringing these products to life and impressing everyone in the room here at CES.”

Click here for the full list of winners of Last Gadget Standing and Young Innovators to Watch.

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CES: Most useless gadgets

The worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Language tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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