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Hot at CeBIT: Of mice and pens

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At CeBIT , the world’s biggest technology expo, which kicks off in Hannover, Germany on March 3, the most modern satellite will be on show, robots will be controlled through thought and an electronic personal trainer will get you off the couch and show you how it is done.

Glonass K – the satellite for the navigation system of the future

Researchers from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) will be using a talking cocktail shaker to demonstrate how new opportunities can be opened up for everyday objects when they are equipped with mini electronics.

The shaker uses “smart objects”” to detect the user’s actions and what is happening around it and responds by providing explanations and advice. However, it can also laugh or get bored and angry if users make too many mistakes. The cocktail shaker is brought to life in this way through the interaction of various types of wireless radio sensors integrated into the shaker itself and bottles in the bar.

BenQ wireless-enabled pen enhances interactive education

IT solutions for interactive learning in German educational institutions remain few and far between. Hence, Taiwan-based IT manufacturer BenQ is aiming to conquer German classrooms with its innovative PointDraw technology. The company will be presenting its BenQ MP780ST projection system, which incorporates a projector that can project text and images onto any surface, including walls and blackboards. Using a wireless-enabled pen, the teacher, professor or speaker can write directly on the presentation materials and then edit and process the data later. Furthermore, thanks to an integrated USB reader, presentations can actually be made without a PC.

The BenQ MP780ST projection system offers a flexible alternative to fixed whiteboards and includes the projector, the PointDraw pen and appropriate interactive software. The MP780ST high-brightness WXGA DLP short-throw projector only requires a distance of between 0.7 and 1m from the projection surface. What makes the wireless-enabled pen so special is that the presenter can write ‚live’ on the projection surface or intervene in a PowerPoint presentation from up to 8 meters away while a built-in button on the pen works like the left mouse key.

Secure, flexible and available for a lifetime: online storage like a huge safe

The days when data could only be saved on a computer and could only be retrieved the same way are long gone. Nowadays, everyone uses a wide variety of mobile Internet-enabled devices such as tablet PCs and smartphones. Users want to be able to access their personal data at any time from any device.

Berlin-based company STRATO, owned by Deutsche Telekom AG, will be presenting its extremely secure online storage solution, located in carbon-neutral data centers in Germany certified by the German Association for Technical Inspection. Thanks to numerous standardized access options, STRATO HiDrive online storage can be accessed from any Internet-enabled device. Furthermore, HiDrive offers a backup function that can be used to recover accidentally deleted files – even weeks after deletion. The Strato HiDrive certainly provides plenty of space: up to five terabytes, which is enough to store more than a million photos from a digital camera. And if desired, files such as photos and videos from a shared holiday experience can be distributed to other people, for example. In order to guarantee security, customers can enable the creation of encrypted connections with just a mouse click. Even Internet novices will find this encrypted data transmission easy to use.

It all depends on how you type

At present, most computers running Windows are protected from unauthorized access by means of passwords. Unfortunately, these passwords are often far too easy to crack. Most users shy away from complicated but secure access codes because they cannot remember them. With its new ‚keystroke analysis software’, Psylock will be demonstrating a clever solution to this security problem.

Here’s how the new security system works: in order to gain access to the computer, the user must first type a short sentence that is displayed on the screen. The system recognizes the user based on his or her specific keystroke dynamics. The software only grants access to the operating system if these dynamics match up with the username. According to the manufacturer, this method completely eliminates the risk of users forgetting or letting others find out their access data.

Moving mini robots with the power of thought

Are you skeptical about the claim that objects can be moved with nothing more than the power of thought? You will soon learn better if you visit Bremen University’s stand at CeBIT 2011. With their brain-computer interfaces, robots can be controlled by means of brain wave analysis alone.

Visitors can even test the interaction between brain and robot for themselves. Connected to an EEG, they can try to guide a mini robot through a maze. But, of course, there is much more to it than just fun research. In the long term, the researchers want to improve the everyday lives of physically disabled people through assistive technology.

The M440 ECO computer mouse – stylish and biodegradable

People who are environment-conscious in the way they live and work also want their office and computer equipment to meet ecological and sustainable production criteria. With this target group in mind, Fujitsu will be introducing a biodegradable computer mouse at CeBIT 2011. The M440 ECO mouse consists entirely of natural materials and has a PVC-free cable.

This stylish, eco-friendly mouse follows all hand movements accurately and with ease. It has two buttons plus a scroll wheel and can be used on practically any surface. Its ergonomic design makes it comfortable to use with the right or the left hand. The M440 ECO features convenient plug and play USB with a one-click fast connection. Fujitsu’s ‚Green IT¬ø label clearly defines products that have been developed with a focus on energy-efficiency and sustainability. To be awarded a Green IT label, a product must meet strict criteria with respect to material, recyclability and energy consumption. The M440 ECO mouse has been granted the highest Green IT award available – the label with three stars.

Get off the sofa! An electronic personal trainer shows you how it’s done

Exercise more, do more sport ‚ that’s what a lot of people promise themselves they will do, time and time again. But come the evening, many of them will be sitting on the sofa having failed to motivate themselves. Yet physical fitness is a remedy for many illnesses and moving about on a daily basis is important, especially for old people. At CeBIT 2011, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in Erlangen, Germany, will be presenting an electronic fitness trainer that not only motivates but also demonstrates.

The fitness companion comprises a sensor outfit that detects and measures movements and transmits the measured results to a television, computer or smartphone. During exercise, a special t-shirt monitors breathing. The smartphone serves as the user interface: it instructs the user how to perform the exercises, which are tailored specifically to individual needs, evaluates the measured data and gives the user feedback on the success of the training. A trainer or physiotherapist creates the training plan on the electronic fitness companion beforehand and all exercises are documented so they can be repeated at home. An avatar (a digital representation of the user) demonstrates the movements in real time – on the television, for example. The program then compares the defined exercise being performed with the recorded results and corrects any problems with posture.

iHelpYou – the translator you can rely on in emergencies

About 15 percent of the people living in Germany have foreign roots. For them, German is a foreign language, even through they may speak it quite well on a daily basis. In the event of a medical emergency, however, communication problems can quickly develop between physician and patient. The German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence will be demonstrating a mobile translation assistant that reduces the chances of this occurring: iHelpYou.

This new development runs on an iPad and facilitates typical physician-patient dialog in the event of an emergency or accident. In addition, a general initial consultation and discussions during patient transport are possible using the artificial translator, which speaks over 26 languages. Communication is enabled in both directions: the physician’s questions are translated accurately into the patient’s language and in turn, the patient’s answers are translated into German. A conversation running to thousands of sentences is thereby possible.

The most secure storage media in the world

There is absolutely no chance of data theft with the high-security HS256 and HS128 hard drives that DIGITTRADE will be demonstrating at CeBIT 2011. With 256-bit or 128-bit full-disk AES hardware encryption in CBC/ECB mode as well as two-step authentication using a smartcard and eight-digit PIN, these two hard drives are currently the world’s most secure facilities for mobile data storage.

The clever thing is that the cryptographic key is never stored on the hard drive: it is always kept on the PIN-protected smartcard. So, should any of these hard drives fall into the wrong hands, information could never be read via the key.

Another product the company wants to highlight is an RFID security hard drive, the RS128, which also has 128-bit full-disk AES hardware encryption in extended ECB mode. User authentication is via an RFID transponder, which sends the access data to an RFID reader built into the hard drive within seconds.

You will be spellbound!

Magician Christian de la Motte presents anti-virus software

ESET traditionally unveils its new products at the CeBIT trade fair. And once again this year at CeBIT 2011, the Slovakian IT security specialist will be introducing some new products that offer optimal protection for computers, servers, networks and mobile devices, such as the ESET NOD32 Antivirus Home for LINUX desktops. Another of their innovations, the ESET Mobile Security for cell phones, will also soon be available for the Android operating system. The IT security expert will also be unveiling the new Version 5 of its flagship ESET NOD32 Antivirus and ESET Smart Security products at CeBIT 2011. And ESET will also be bringing a touch of magic to its presentations: Christian de la Motte, magician and TV presenter from Berlin, will be presenting the new products with lots of charm, wit and amazing tricks and will also be providing valuable tips about protection against all kinds of PC pests.

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