LAS VEGAS — It’s hard to choose favorites at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which this year had more than 2 million square feet of exhibits showing thousands of products.
Just about all of the huge TVs, futuristic cars and flashy new computers were appealing, so I tried to find different gadgets that stood out. Here are a few that caught my eye because they seem useful or fun or point toward significant trends.
360Abyss: This is Neptune’s selfie stick. The 360Abyss mounts six GoPro cameras in a housing that’s waterproof to depths of 1,000 meters, with three internal compartments to protect the electronics.
Back on shore, software offered by the company can stitch together the footage to create 360-degree photos and videos that play especially well on virtual-reality headsets.
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Olean, N.Y.-based 360Heros sells them for $5,500. Discovery Channel has been testing the device for “Shark Week” productions, according to Justin McLaughlin of 360Heros.
XelfleX wearable technology: Cambridge Consultants demonstrated a new way to add sensors to clothing. The British company has adopted low-priced, plastic fiber-optic technology used in the oil industry for use in motion-tracking “wearables.” Applications could include suits for skiing, rowing and tennis.
The washable system should add less than $100 to the cost of a suit, and perhaps less than $50 to the cost if production takes off.
Withings Activité Pop watch: Perhaps the best-looking smartwatch/fitness band available so far, the Activité Pop provides just a bit of information at a glance.
Its secondary dial shows progress toward an activity goal — how many steps have been taken, calories burned or distance covered. It also can track swimming workouts. It’s water-resistant to 150 feet deep and syncs with a phone app via Bluetooth. Instead of a fussy charging system, it uses a standard watch battery that lasts up to eight months.
The device will go for $150.
Panasonic Avionics broadband antenna: This gadget is not exactly for consumers, but they’ll appreciate what it does if they use mobile devices on airplanes.
The antenna, designed by Boeing and manufactured by Panasonic in California, is designed to provide better broadband in flight, with downloads of up to 200 megabits per second.
Panasonic also provides satellites delivering the connectivity to airplanes and setback entertainment systems. The device is now undergoing the Federal Aviation Administration certification process.
Triby: A speakerphone, music and messaging device that can hang on the refrigerator with a magnet, the $199 Triby also works as an FM radio and Bluetooth speaker for playing music stored on a phone or other device.
Kids can call parents by pressing a single button on the Triby, which sends calls over the Internet so it doesn’t require phone service and has no monthly fee. Text messages and doodles can be sent to the Triby using an app that runs on Apple phones.
It’s designed for kids and parents but might also be useful for elderly relatives. It connects to home networks via Wi-Fi; manufacturer Invoxia says the battery lasts a month on a charge.
Cool Glass One: My award for the most shameless copying at CES goes to the Cool Glass One, a faux Google Glass being made by the Beijing Palo Alto Tech Co.
Interest in Google Glass has faded in the U.S. over the past year, but Chinese manufacturers are still gearing up to produce clones.
Beijing Palo Alto Tech plans to launch Cool Glass One in China this spring and internationally this summer for $200 to $300, compared with Google’s Glass Explorer edition’s $1,500 price tag. Cool Glass comes in more colors, including pink and yellow.
Brier Dudley: 206-515-5687 or firstname.lastname@example.org