Every year at Comdex, alongside the serious new business products, there are a whole load of novel, sometimes downright wacky gadgets and PC add-ons that never get much attention. Some of these deserve a little credit, at least for trying in some cases. Their lack of recognition is about to change, as ZDNet UK proudly presents the Top 10 Wackiest New Products of Comdex Fall.
1. Rex PC Companion
What is it? A PIM on a PC card is the simplest description. The first ever PC card with a glare-free LCD screen. By plugging the Rex PC Companion into a Type II PC Card slot on any notebook computer, PC organiser data can be instantly downloaded to the device; or desktop users can use the Rex Serial Docking Station connected to a PC serial port. The credit card device comes with Information Manager software and a high-contrast black and white screen. Standard PIM packages such as ACT, Microsoft Schedule, and Lotus Organizer are supported. The Rex is produced by Franklin Electronic Publishers, which can be contacted via e-mail.
2. Video Sphinx Pro
What is it? A simple method of capturing video and transferring it from your CamCorder into your PC. Quick and easy to use - plug Sphinx into your computer's parallel port then connect any video source (Camcorder or VCR) and you're ready to go, or at least that's what it says here. The nice thing about the Sphinx is that it's neat and compact, weighing less than a pound and measuring just 157 x 67 x 25mm. Sphinx's Web site.
3. Digital Persona
Now this really is wacky. What is it? A security device that reads your thumb print to authenticate that you really are you, before allowing access to your PC. The 'UareU' device sits next to your keyboard and, when first used, "takes four scans of the users fingerprint, displaying an image of the print each time. The system then uses a set of proprietary algorithms to establish a fingerprint identification file unique to that user". That ought to stop the Quake brigade getting on your PC when you're not around. Digital Persona's Web site.
4. Andrea Wireless VoiceSolutions
What is it? A wireless microphone you can use to tell your PC what to do. The Andrea Electronics people reason that as voice software products proliferate (there are stacks of them at Comdex), a good microphone that can work intelligently with this software will be a winner. According to the firm's co-president John Andrea, "Using safe, infra-red technology, the wireless product features a small transmitter that performs well in an office/home workstation, having a reach of about 10 feet, or similar, to the range of a television remote control." e-mail Andrea Electronics.
5. TV & Video Wizard
Scoring a full 10 out of 10 on the Wacky-O-Meter is the TV & Video Wizard. What is it? A remote control device for your TV and video that you can plug into your PC to download schedules and programmes that you want to watch from the Internet. A special Internet site has been set up to provide the information, and this is updated daily. Where can you rush out and buy one from? Better surf to TV & Video Wizard's site to find out the answer to that one.
Now read Top 10 Wackiest New Products (6-10)