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  May 8, 2014

Star Trek-like tricorders, Predator thermal vision and stun guns at CES 2014


At this year CES we have seen a lot of wacky but interesting gadgets and some of them we’ve presented in some of our previous articles. Today we are going to present you another set of devices that are bringing the future closer and make the present feel like sci-fi. We will focus more on the gadgets that can be used like add-ons for your smartphone, hardware that can add different abilities to our existing handsets.

One note before we start, the previously presented Yellow Jacket’s smartphone case that acts like a stun gun and has the power to deliver 650,000 volt electric shock it’s now illegal to own in the UK.

Scanadu’s Tricorder tech

Scanadu attracted attention before and the tricorder is not their first product release.

The “tricorder” is a health checking scanner based on a sensor called Scout. The users hold the scanner to their heads and it checks the vital signs. The device seams able to measure heart rate, body and skin temperature, blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate and other readings.

But, as it does not have a screen of its own, the tricorder needs a smartphone app to read and interpret the data and warn the user of potential problems or manage chronic conditions.

This is just a prototype and it’s not fully functional yet, but when the device will be ready, it will still require health regulator’s approval in order to go on sale. Even in this state of development, Scanadu is already planning follow-ups.

Another company that gives smartphones health powers, is the Sensor Jacket, which developed a non-contact infrared thermometer, a device that can provide an easy way to check the temperature of a new-born, for example.

Vision and sound at CES 2014

Today, smartphones are strong competitors of standalone cameras and music players, so exhibitors at the CES 2014 tried to enhance even more our handsets’ capabilities.

New smartphone cases were presented by Izzi Gadgets and Olloclip, cases that offer wide-angle, fisheye and macro lenses in order to increase and improve the style of prictures.

Flir Systems presented the Flir One case, which is producing thermal images of objects in front of it. The company adapted thermal imaging technology developed for the US Army helicopters and implemented it in an iPhone case.

Also, the German company Beyerdynamic, targeted the audiophiles with a new A200p amplifier. This gadget gets plugged into the smartphone’s microUSB and bypasses the audio signal processing hardware to carry out the sound process itself. The A200p provides 135 different volume levels, but at a price of $300, it may become more expensive than the handset itself.

Battery charger

Maybe the most unusual solution to charge our smartphones comes from the Power Practical. The company manufactured a camping cooking pot that, with its built-in electric thermo generator, can cook your food and, in the same time, charge your handset. So the dilemma of cooking BBQ beans or playing Angry Birds is solved.

And, on a more serious approach, Prong presented their PocketPlug smartphone case that allows our devices to be plugged directly into wall power plugs.