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 Monday, 13 January, 2003, 09:33 GMT
Weird and wonderful gadgets
Big technology events like the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, always throw up a raft of interesting and unusual gear. BBC News Online's Alfred Hermida has been trying some of it out.

Video to go

Archos jukebox
Player fits into the palm of the hand
Digital music players are evolving into all-round multimedia jukeboxes that fit into the palm of your hand.

The AV340 from French company Archos can hold thousands of music or video files on its 40 gigabyte hard drive.

But what sets it apart is the 3.8 inch screen that lets you watch movies on the go.

You can also plug in a digital camera or a camcorder into the side and see the results on the LCD display.

The jukebox will go on sale within the next three months worldwide and is expected to cost $700.

Mouse that roared

The Mousecaster
Is it a mouse or a radio?
Feel like listening to your favourite FM station on your computer? Just plug in the Mousecaster.

Developed by US-Israeli company Smartec, it comes with a built-in FM radio, with the mouse cord acting as the antenna.

It took the company two years to work out how to combine a mouse with a radio and make sure that both worked perfectly and were easy to use.

"We haven't taken a new idea," said a spokesman, "we've just combined two ideas. Nobody had thought to do this before."

The Mousecaster is available in the US for $35.

Seeing the light

Eluminx keyboard
Type in the dark
The days of fumbling around in the dark on your computer could be over.

US company Auravision has been showing off a luminescent keyboard at CES that lets you type, even when you cannot see the keys.

The technology was originally developed for the US Army, which needed a keyboard soldiers could use at any time of the day or night.

A spokesman said the Eluminx keyboard could benefit anybody who needs to type in low lighting, from DJs to video editors to gamers.

The device uses electro luminescence technology and draws its power from the computer.

The Eluminx should be in US shops in a couple of months and cost $99.

Look, no hands

Jabra FreeSpeak
Be untethered from the phone
More and more people could be walking around, seemingly talking to themselves, if a small gadget takes off.

A light, wireless earpiece developed by US company Jabra uses Bluetooth technology to cut the cord between ear and mobile.

Called FreeSpeak, the headset is light and comes with an adapter for mobiles that do not have the short-range wireless Bluetooth technology built in.

"You don't have to be physically tethered to your mobile," said a Jabra spokesman. "I could be up to 30 feet away."

And you do not have to worry about someone else listening in to your call, as each phone and headset is uniquely paired.

The FreeSpeak costs $100 for Bluetooth-ready phones and $180 for ones that need an adapter.

Game on

Gemini screen
Gaming on the go with the attached display
The days of children hogging the television playing video games could be over.

US firm Gemini Industries has designed a set of screens that attach to the Xbox, the PlayStation2 and the GameCube.

The screens are designed to look like part of the console and are powered from the machine.

Gemini also supply an adapter so that a console can be plugged into the cigarette lighter in a car.

"Everyone is moving towards portability," said a Gemini spokeswoman. "This is great for kids on a long road trip."

The add-on screens cost between $140 and $190 and are due to go on sale in the US in the spring.

Consumer Electronics Show 2003, Las Vegas

Key stories

Hi-tech gear

See also:

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