The 10 Most Interesting Gadgets from CES 2012

CES Gadgets

The dust has long ago cleared from the massive epicenter of everything tech. The echoes of the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show faded from Las Vegas. And my feet still hurt. I just wanted to share that.

While the big boys of tech (Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic and their ilk) already pulled down their share of headlines, it’s perhaps more entertaining for a reporter to wander the endless aisles and booths in search of the smaller companies cranking out the coolest tech and gadgets.

So, before we start the year long preparation for CES 2013, we include 10 of the most interesting and groundbreaking items off the beaten path at this year’s show.



The electronic eyewear maker essentially creates movie screens you strap to your face. Its “Wrap” series of consumer video eyewear are stylish goggles with stereo earphones that create the effect of a 75 inch display before your eyes. Of all the assorted glasses and video gadgets I futzed with at CES, the Vuzix was the one I didn’t want to take off or give back.



While gamers were most intrigued by Gear4’s new line of Angry Birdsaudio accessories (docks and headphones), the most intriguing iPhone or iPod dock this manufacturer served up was the Renew SleepClock. With an interconnected app, the Renew sends out a sensor cone beside your bed that reads your body activity, respiration, etc. It senses when your sleep cycle is most optimal for awakening and plays a song of your choice when it’s time to get out of the rack.



This invention looks like a USB flash drive that disconnects into even halves. But it securely links two computers anywhere in the world. WIth one half in one PC and another in any other computer, the two machines can access the contents of their opposite number via the internet. It’s an interesting combination of simple mechanics and secure technology.



This video phone maker pulled off the essential achievement of making visual phone conferencing simple to set up and easy to use. If we’re going to evolve into that Star Trek style world where we all make video phone calls to each other, the technology needs to be reliable and work across different TVs. Using Google services, the Biscotti turns any TV into a video phone capable of immediately communicating with any other Biscotti or Google video chat user. (A tip? Hey, Skype? Get on board or get out of the way.)



While the price tag will keep some buyers away ($699.95 to $1,299.95), this line of elite audio docks combines exceptional performance with high-end materials in fashionable colors. The review unit I got to play with for a while was wrapped in black cashmere and provided a rich, bass filled sound that was far too nice for my home.



A Los Angeles-based headphone maker you’re going to hear more about in months to come, V-Moda invited media to special appointments to demo their new Crossfade LP2 line of powerful, over ear designs. And, just to show off, V-Moda has its own laser etchers that can personalize any LP2s with designs or images of a buyer’s choice.



While not the best known flatscreen television and monitor manufacturer, visitors to their suite at the Bellagio had to be struck by the vast selection of models Sceptre has coming to showrooms. From 40 inches to 55 inches, Sceptre’s mix of crystal 1080 DP LEDs will include built-in DVD and Blu-ray players and will come 3D ready.



The Apple accessory maker’s list of new 2012 products was almost too much to take in the time allotted for my appointment. From InCharge docks that can charge up to five iPads or iPods to the Soma BT wireless Bluetooth stereo speaker, it’s clear XtremeMac wants its hand in as many product genres as possible.


Liquid Image

While GoPro was blowing up in one hall with its popular line of extreme sports cameras, Liquid Image was focusing on their lines of ski goggles and scuba diving masks complete with HD cameras. A smartphone app connects via wifi, allowing you or a partner to see what your recording in real time on a remote screen.



This small firm allows you to use your iPhone as another extreme sports camera with the Optrix HD sports case and various interchangeable mounts. To demonstrate how well the Optrix HD protects your smartphone investment, its makers served up videos of motorcycle racers dumping their bikes while not damaging their iPhones. While I don’t recommend simulating that unfortunate test, I can vouch for the Optrix.