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Mon, Mar 21, 2005 - Page 12 News List

German tech expo showed off the latest in gadgetry

DPA , Hanover

It may be the world's largest computer and technology fair, but the recent CeBIT exhibition wasn't necessarily all about selling products. It actually offered visitors plenty of chances to both marvel and to smirk.

Among the products on display, for example, were a telephone within a telephone, the world's largest plasma display, and software intended to make controlling a networked household into child's play.

The employees of Alpha Com from Hamburg boasted that their exhibition included a world record: They scanned a 29.13m-long, 91.3cm-wide piece of paper containing oversized images and blueprints for the cruise ship Jewel of the Sea.

The process took a bit longer than nine minutes, and created a computer file that was 2.57 bigabytes in size. Scanners like this are naturally not intended for normal consumers, given their purchase price of around US$14,000.

Such devices are most typically used by architects to scan blueprints, explained Marcus van Leeuwen, the sales director at Alpha Com.

The display at Sweden's myDOQ Technologies AB included a telephone inside a telephone. The "myDOQ station" looks almost like a normal telephone found on a typical writing desk. Yet it is actually a docking station for a cellular phone.

For times when mobile phone users are actually in the office, they can set their devices into the "myDOQ station." When a call comes in on the cell phone, the user can then pick up the docking station's headset -- connected by a cable -- and carry on the conversation.

The device currently supports cell phones from Sony Ericsson and Nokia, but models from other manufacturers are expected soon.

The average household is already chock full of electronics, and more and more devices are being designed to join in the networking fun.

To allow consumers to keep a handle on it all, the Fraunhofen Society has developed the PECo digital assistant. PECo stands for Personal Environment Controller.

The developers set their sights on the conference room of Darmstadt's Fraunhofer Institute for Graphic Data Processing, a room teeming with technology.

Until now, use of high-tech meeting space required the assistance of specially trained technicians. Now a handheld equipped with the PECo software can do the job.

The remote control works not only in the conference room itself, but also over larger distances via WLAN.

Presenters at the CeBIT fair showed how tapping on the PDAs screen there in Hanover affected the room's lighting and projector back in Darmstadt.

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