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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 March 2006, 16:48 GMT
Cebit 2006: The latest in gadgets
By Mark Ward
Technology correspondent, BBC News website

The Cebit technology fair is taking place in Hanover. Here is our second look at some of the coolest gadgets on display.

MULTI-MEDIA JACKET

O'Neill jacket detail

Sports clothing firm O'Neill is set to launch a jacket with a built-in keypad that lets you control your iPod or mobile phone without exposing your hands to the cold.

Developed in conjunction with German firm Interactive-Wear the winter sports jacket has five buttons on the left forearm that link via a control box to your phone or music player that sits snug in an inside pocket.

Jurgen Thalmayer, sales manager for Interactive Wear, said the O'Neill jacket will have buttons to turn devices on and off, raise or lower volume or make and end calls.

A microphone sewn into the collar of the coat works via Bluetooth short range radio with the control box in the jacket so wearers can make and take calls while ski-ing.

Mr Thalmayer said the jacket should go on sale in time for Winter 2007 and should cost about 500 euros (345).

A backpack with similar controls built in, plus a camera that sits on one of the shoulder straps, will go on sale at the same time. The backpack should cost about 350 euros (240).

CREATIVE MOUSE

Fata1ty mouse

Few computer gamers are as successful as pro-gaming champ Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel but now they have the chance to use the same hardware he does.

At Cebit Creative was showing off the mouse designed by Mr Wendel, who regularly makes more than $100,000 a year as a pro-gamer, just for the hard-core fans who want to follow in his mouse steps.

Not for the faint-hearted, the Creative Fatal1ty 2020 mouse has a 6.4 megapixel sensor in its base to pick up the smallest twitch. It can work on any surface and handle up to 20G of acceleration for those intense firefights when it is important to strafe and move.

The mouse also comes with a five different weights so gamers can tune it to get the balance for themselves just right.

The USB connector for the 2020 mouse is gold plated and it has zero-oxygen copper wiring to ensure every pull of the virtual trigger is relayed swiftly back to the PC.

SHUTTLE PC

Shuttle computer
Small form factor computer specialist Shuttle chose the Cebit show to unveil its XPC M2000 machine that is one of the first to match the ViiV specifications laid down by Intel.

Intel launched Viiv to much fanfare at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January and the specifications are intended to help turn PCs into media centres and entertainment hubs for the home.

Shuttle is best known for the small, powerful PCs beloved of gamers but the M2000 is intended for the lounge rather than a teenager's bedroom.

It has two tuner cards so can be used to watch digital or analogue TV on either a monitor or old-fashioned television set. Eight channel audio means it can act as a surround sound system to play any music stored on it.

The machine can also play DVDs and CDs and has an eight-in-one memory card reader for easy transfer of images or sounds collected on other devices. The M2000 is due to go on sale in the summer but prices have yet to be announced.

TOSHIBA LAPTOP

Qosmio laptop

Laptop veteran Toshiba has become the first computer maker to ship a portable computer with a HD-DVD drive onboard.

Unveiled at Cebit and likely to go on sale in Europe first, the Qosmio G30 is due to be on shop shelves in April and is aimed at consumers with deep pockets, as the price for the machine is likely to be well in excess of 2000.

Under the hood it has a 2GHz dual core processor, two 120 GB hard drives and digital and analogue TV tuner.

It has a 17-inch display that can cope with the high-definition images on HD-DVD discs. The HD-DVD standard is one of two, the other is Blu-Ray, that are aiming to replace DVDs.

To help show high resolution images the Qosmio G30 uses the GeForce 7600 graphics card made by Nvidia.

FUTURE PRODUCTS

Flask phone

As well as being a showcase for gadgets that are about to go into the shops, Cebit is also a show that looks to the long-term future.

Japanese hi-tech company NEC used Cebit to show off some conceptual ideas for what products of the future might look like.

Under the umbrella term of Resonantware the products aim to investigate how technology might evolve.

NEC showed an idea it called Sala that integrates a radio tag into an item of jewellery, such as a wedding ring - associated with an important event.

When the ring, earring or brooch is placed near a display device that can read the tag it calls up the images, movies or sounds the owner has associated with it.

It also showed off a concept see-through mobile phone called Flask which is powered by a fuel cell. Like many disposable cigarette lighters, the transparent sides of the phone let users see when they need a refill.

CHANGING ROOMS

Virtual changing room

German retail giant Metro AG used the Cebit trade show to give shoppers a glimpse of what might be coming to department stores in the next few years.

On its Future Store display stand, Metro showed a prototype smart changing room that could help those looking for clothes see what they look like wearing them without actually having to put them on.

The system used radio tags to identify clothes and when the items of apparel are put near a large display, sensors read the tags and show an image of a model wearing an outfit made up of those items.

Early versions of the system show all the clothes on models but future versions will include a body scanner so the exact shape of shoppers can be used in the display.

Instead of having to put endless combinations on to find the best outfit to suit the system will allow people to combine shirts, suits and shoes at the touch of a button.




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Watch special coverage of the Cebit fair in Hanover




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