• Germany's news in English

CeBIT keeps high-tech fun despite economic gloom

AFP · 5 Mar 2009, 10:22

Published: 05 Mar 2009 10:22 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

As the high-tech sector tries to buck the global economic slump, inventors from Asia, the United States and Europe vied to capture imaginations at the CeBIT with ideas that could ignite the market in the coming months and years.

Researchers at the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, which works closely with industry, was showing off a range of everyday objects rendered "smart."

Its cutting-edge champagne bottles sound a bell when the bubbly has hit the perfect quaffing temperature, while an intelligent medicine cabinet lets you know when you last took your medication or need to get a prescription filled.

In keeping with a "green" theme at this year's event, USB sticks and photo cards by California-based ITP now come in biodegradable plastics made of corn. And some of the proceeds will go to tree-planting projects.

Some items unveiled at CeBIT, however, are just simple high-tech fun. The TouchCube is modern take on the 80's puzzle craze the Rubik's Cube. Instead of twisting it, the TouchCube allows users to alter the coloured patterns by sliding their fingers across the surface.

Meanwhile, people plagued by the question "Did I leave the iron on?" after spending hours with the TouchCube can relax.

Swiss firm digitalSTROM.org has developed a chip that can be installed in ordinary light switches. An "everything off" button switches every device hooked up to the system to "standby", averting fires and cutting energy bills.

The fair is showcasing a range of new ultra-thin, ultra-efficient netbooks that are easier on the wallet, including the first "zero-watt" laptop from Fujitsu-Siemens that uses no electricity when idle.

Japanese giant Toshiba was showing off televisions that use half the power of normal sets.

A navigator developed by Germany's Garmin can calculate not only the most direct route or the one with the least traffic but also the one that would use the least fuel, and even adds up the money you will save on your journey.

"If he feels in the mood, the driver can activate the EcoChallenge feature," the company said. "Based on an analysis of the driver's heavy or light-food pedal technique and braking as well as the car speed, the display shows how well the driver is doing in the fuel-saving stakes."

A so-called gentle alarm clock from Germany's Simple Feature monitors sleep rhythms via a soft wristband fitted with sensors.

It then chooses a shallow sleep phase within 30 minutes of the desired wake-up time and goes off with a range of alarm tones including bird songs - encouraging what the firm says is a smoother start to a more productive day.

The CeBIT is spotlighting eHealth this year, featuring products that allow patients to receive better care from home thanks to the internet.

Bodytel of Germany has developed a blood sugar monitor for diabetics whose results can be beamed straight to the patient's file at his doctor's office via his mobile phone. Similar devices keep watch on blood pressure and heart rates.

Innovations in the world of entertainment also drew the crowds.

Story continues below…

Taiwan's Aiptek is offering movies-to-go to with its Pocketcinema beamer, complete with two gigabytes of memory to store films, while Dutch firm Adapt Mobile has a pocket projector to allow you to share life-size holiday photos with friends.

Billed as the first Skype video telephone, the Eee by Taiwan's Asus is a home phone that allows cheap international video calls in better quality than on a standard computer.

German premium sound specialists Blaupunkt unveiled prototypes of what they called the world's first Internet car radio, promising access to "tens of thousands of stations" via cellular phone networks. And fashionistas needing a little more bling must look no further than the Asus notebook wrapped in supple dark leather and studded with Swarovski crystals.

The CeBIT runs until Sunday.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd