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Hot at CeBIT: Robots, gorillas and cocktail shakers

An interactive talking cocktail shaker, a new line of mini robots from Gostai, a dual-screen tablet from Acer and a range of new cellphones from Dell will all be on show at this year’s CeBIT Expo, the world’s biggest technology expo, which kicks off in Hannover, Germany on March 3.

Interactive cocktail shaker

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.

Mini supermen with innumerable talents

The new line of robots – Jazz Connect, Jazz Icon and Jazz Security – from French manufacturer Gostai will be on show at CeBIT 2011. In Hannover this year, Europe’s No. 1 provider of service robots and AI solutions will be demonstrating what makes its mini robots stand out from the crowd.

Standing just one meter tall, these mobile machines are equipped with a camera and connected to the Internet via WLAN, enabling them, for example, to stand in at a meeting for an employee who is off sick or to act as the eyes for an architect who is based in Paris but wants to inspect a construction site in New York. This saves time, cuts travel expenses and protects the environment. Telepresence is the secret behind these technical all-rounders, who can even work without complaint at night. In future, Jazz security robots could be a real asset to security teams. The robots can also be used as showstoppers – to draw crowds in shopping malls, welcome guests in hotel foyers or work as bartenders.

Notebook with twice the pulling power

Visitors to CeBIT 2011 will probably need a second look when Acer opens up its new Iconia Dual Screen Tablet at its press conference on 1 March at 10 a.m. in Room 15/16 at the Convention Center. This is because the 14.1″” notebook has a second screen instead of a keyboard.

This new design feature opens up a whole wealth of possibilities for notebook users. For example, a whole page of a newspaper can be displayed in portrait format on the two multi-touch displays and read comfortably on the Iconia, which opens up flat. However, it is also possible to use the lower display “”normally”” as a keyboard. All users have to do is place the balls of their hands on the display – and the virtual keyboard plus touchpad for controlling the mouse appears immediately. The two screens can also be used to display unrelated content.

Dell’s new smartphones – going ape with gorilla glass

In addition to presenting fully integrated solutions for companies at CeBIT in Hannover, Dell – one of the world’s largest manufacturers of computer hardware – will also be unveiling new smartphones – like Venue and Venue Pro.

The Venue smartphones offer everything you need in the world of business. Venue, an innovative one-touch GMS device, is equipped with Android 2.2, an 8-megapixel camera and a 10.4″” AMOLED display made of scratch-resistant gorilla glass, which makes it extremely hard-wearing. The phone’s specifications are further enhanced by rapid web access and Swype, which makes writing texts easy. The pro version is based on the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 operating system and will be the device of choice for keen e-mailers and text messagers thanks to its pull-out QWERTY keyboard.

MyBandApp – band homepages on the go

MyBandApp, the newly developed application for smartphones being showcased by researchers from the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar at CeBIT 2011, enables musicians to stay in direct contact with their fans while on the road.

Using an intuitive interface to create a dedicated app for their band, even less technically gifted musicians can use MyBandApp to provide fans with the latest information about themselves. For example, songs or videos can be sent quickly and easily to their fans’ smartphones.

Rather than being tied to the program, band news is downloaded from the Internet, which means that the content, such as concert dates, is always up to date. The data is, of course, also stored on the cellphone to avoid the need for multiple transmissions. The exciting thing about MyBandApp is that it is compatible with all common systems and is not limited to a particular type of smartphone.

TV channel surfing – via the Internet

The lines separating Internet and TV are becoming increasingly blurred. Flatscreens are appearing in more and more living rooms and taking on the role of multimedia terminals. As a result, TV users are having to pick their way through a huge mass of channels and programs. The Karlsruhe-based hybrid receiver and TV portal specialist VideoWeb is bringing the first Internet-based electronic program guide on the German market to CeBIT 2011, which will help TV viewers come to grips with the wealth of programs on offer.

VideoWeb customers receive the new digital TV magazine free of charge on their HD televisions. However, other TV fans with HD-capable sets can also take advantage of the new hybrid EPG (electronic program guide). What makes this system different is that it gathers its data from the Internet, and not from a satellite. In future, there will be more information on programs, supplemented by comprehensive image material. What’s more, all the information will be available up to three weeks in advance rather than only seven days before a program is broadcast.

Probably the simplest network in the world

Interconnecting computers is not usually the easiest task in the world. It requires either the complex installation of network cables or tricky WLAN configurations. Even with Powerline technology, which computers use to communicate via the electric wiring in a home, network cables are unavoidable.

However, such problems should soon be consigned to history by LINE-EX 450W ATX, the new computer power pack with integrated Powerline chipset and the new PSAB technology, which Inter-Tech Elektronik will be displaying at CeBIT 2011.

For computers to be interconnected quickly and easily, they simply have to be equipped with LINE-EX 450W ATX. Then all users have to do is plug the computer’s power cable into the socket – and the network is ready to go. No other cables or adapters are required. The manufacturer claims that this new development will also put paid to reception problems and security loopholes.

Electronic ID? Sure, but secure!

The new electronic identity card – available from municipal authorities from 1 November 2010 – saves data on a chip, making it Internet-ready. This opens up new opportunities but also creates risks. It is this dichotomy that prompted KOBIL to develop secure solutions for contactless communication. At CeBIT 2011, the Worms-based IT company will be showcasing the latest chip card technology with its new ID card series KOBIL PA.

The electronic ID and the new KOBIL products, which the company has developed in collaboration with its subsidiary FlexSecure GmbH, open up a whole host of applications including access control, time recording, eGovernment and patient admissions via chip card. KOBIL’s portfolio for new ID cards includes KOBIL PA Token (basic reader), KOBIL PA Secure card reader with built-in PIN pad (standard reader) and KOBIL PA Adapter (standard reader), which can be used in conjunction with a conventional card reader (class 2 or 3).

Learning how to stay safe online

As well as offering many advantages, the Internet also involves significant risks for consumers. To minimize the risk of users falling into online traps in the future, scientists from the Technische Universit√§t Berlin have developed the Internet portal “”Verbraucher sicher online”” (online consumer safety), which they will be demonstrating at CeBIT 2011.

It contains practical information and multimedia tips on topics such as safe surfing, e-mail encryption, data protection for Google services and online banking. The great thing about this site is that the know-how on safe and competent Internet usage is easy to understand even for users without a technical background and is always kept up to date. Visitors to CeBIT will have the opportunity to meet face to face with the people behind this Internet guide and talk to them in detail about the latest online threats.

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