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Just when you thought you’d mastered all the technology in your home, along come more inventions to make your situation as hip as a candlestick phone, the TouchTone-less kind that requires “Miss Sarah” to connect your call.
Ah, but weren’t those the uncomplicated Mayberry days?
This year’s Consumer Electronics Show, held between gambling stints last month in Las Vegas, served up thin TVs, a digital message board, a sensor bed and a driverless car, which probably requires no-fault insurance.
In recent years, TV styles have gotten bigger and wider-screen, but now, just to keep us on our toes and reaching for something better, they’ve also gone “super slim.”
In some cases, it’s even described as “credit-card slim,” but not small enough to slip into your wallet, which is probably just a few inventions down the road. The rule now is, wide (as much as 150 inches) yet skinny.
I wouldn’t be surprised if, by the time the next TV fashion season rolls around, the trend reverts to “narrow and thick.”
Another invention, a new $200 digital message board, consists of a 7-inch digital photo frame designed to replace the old-fashioned photo collage or dry-erase board on your refrigerator. It includes a built-in digital calendar as well as a digital clock, a microphone for recording digital reminders and messages and integrated Post-it notes.
The board includes a camera to relay video messages to other people in the house, perfect for that on-the-go family that never has time to actually see each other.
Mustek unveiled its digital photo frame combined with iPod dock. I think even non-techies saw that one coming.
The “Starry Night Bed,” available next year for $20,000 to $50,000, has sensors to monitor body movement and breathing patterns. If you snore, it adjusts the bed to alleviate the problem. It also has surround sound and—you guessed it—an iPod dock and DVR capability. You’ll never want to sleep again, nor will you be able to.
The driverless car, invented by Carnegie Mellon in conjunction with General Motors et al, uses high-tech “intelligent decisions” to get us through traffic, freeing us up to use all the other contraptions featured at this year’s show.
Finally, you no longer have to worry about how to keep all those high-tech gadgets charged. The new NGR Dock is a solar-powered charging station that can handle cell phones, BlackBerries, PDAs, iPods, Game Boys and PSPs, whatever that is.
Oh, it also has a built-in emergency flashlight. I think most of us still know what that is.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email@example.com.