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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 9 January, 2003, 12:14 GMT
Cutting edge gadgets honoured
Keyless keyboard
Where have all the keys gone?

A keyboard without any keys, a solar charger for the Gameboy and a digital electric guitar are among the most innovative gadgets on display at the world's largest consumer technology trade show.

They have all been recognised at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as trend-settings products.

Every year a panel of journalists, designers and engineers look at hundreds of cutting edge products.

A handful win prestigious Innovations Awards and are highlighted at the exhibition as reflecting the best designed and engineered products.

Look, no keys

The awards recognise the best designed and engineered products in a range of categories, from accessibility and audio, to video and wireless.

Solar Pak
Solar-powered GameBoy
A computer keyboard without any keys came top in the accessibility stakes.

The orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard uses the hand and arm to type, not fingers.

Instead of keys, it uses a pair of sculpted domes to 'type' characters by moving the domes.

The company behind the product, Keybowl, says its keyboard will help prevent repetitive stress injuries that can be caused by a conventional keyboard.

The award "represents further recognition of the unique solution for computer and information access provided by the orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard," said Keybowl President, Dr Peter McAlindon.

Solar panels

Elsewhere, other equally strange-looking devices were on display, like the Solar Pak for Nintendo's Gameboy Advance.

Gibson digital guitar
Each string picked up individually
The gadget by US company Gemini Industries encloses the Gameboy in a futuristic looking case.

On the outside are solar panels so keen gamers need never have to worry about batteries dying just as they reach the last stage of a game.

Among the other gadgets considered to be the best of the best are a handheld computer with satellite navigation, a wireless internet stereo and a talking smoke detector for young children and the elderly.

Sounds electric

But perhaps the one honoured product that will have purists up in arms is a digital electric instrument by the venerable guitar maker Gibson.

It has developed what it says is the world's first digital guitar. On the outside it looks much like Gibson's legendary Les Paul Model.

The difference is that it uses digital technology called MaGIC, so that the sound from each string can be picked up individually.

"MaGIC will revolutionise the way media information is transmitted in content creation, post production and editing, and in the consumer home," said Gibson CEO Henry Juskiewicz. "It's the right technolgy at the right time."

The gadgets will be on show at CES which runs from 9 to 12 January.

More than 2,000 companies are showing off their wares and more than 100,000 visitors from 100 countries are expected to attend.

Consumer Electronics Show 2003, Las Vegas

Key stories

Hi-tech gear

INTERNET LINK
See also:

30 Sep 02 | dot life
14 Sep 02 | Technology
11 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
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