The latest gadgets: from smartphones to smart belts

EVER wondered how the near future looks like? Check out some of the latest developments surrounding the consumer-electronics show in Las Vegas known as CES:

Samsung Welt and Solbag

The Sol Bag solar power charger and handbag is on display at the Samsung booth. (AP PHOTO)
The Sol Bag solar power charger and handbag is on display at the Samsung booth. (AP PHOTO)

Now that the holidays have passed, some people might be on for some belt-tightening. Samsung’s so-called wellness belt, “Welt,” could help. It keeps track of where you’re notching your belt over time, counting your steps and tracking how long you remain seated. It’s all motivation to move around, complete with guilt-inducing data analysis.

The Samsung wellness belt, called the Welt, keeps track of where its owner is notching his belt over time, counting his steps and tracking how long he remains seated. It’s all motivation to move around, complete with guilt-inducing data analysis. (AP PHOTO)
The Samsung wellness belt, called the Welt, keeps track of where its owner is notching his belt over time, counting his steps and tracking how long he remains seated. It’s all motivation to move around, complete with guilt-inducing data analysis. (AP PHOTO)

Another wearable from Samsung for women is a tablet-sized handbag called Solbag that charges with solar power to a micro-USB slot you could use to power up your phone on the go. It doesn’t have a battery, though, so you’d need a rechargeable pack unless you plan to sit in the sun for the four hours it takes to recharge a smartphone fully.

Samsung plans to release both products in South Korea later this year, but didn’t have pricing information.

Ampy Move

An Ampy charging device can charge phones by movement. (AP PHOTO)
An Ampy charging device can charge phones by movement. (AP PHOTO)

A little exercise not only does your body good, it can charge up your smartphone. Evanston, Illinois-based Ampy showed off its Ampy Move, a wearable battery pack that charges with up and down motion that makes a couple of magnets bounce up and down inside coils.

That’s an electricity-creating process invented by Nikola Tesla in the late 1800s. And on a small scale, it’s good for a quick boost of energy that can get you to the end of the day with power.

One hour of jogging while wearing the pack will get you roughly an hour of power for your phone (under normal use). The crowd-funded company has been selling them for $99. Director of marketing Ethan Krupp says a new product is in the works that is slimmer, more efficient, and has more indicator lights that give you a better sense that even 15 minutes of bouncing is creating some juice.

Moff

The Moff Band motion sensor bracelet is on display at the Moff booth. (AP PHOTO)
The Moff Band motion sensor bracelet is on display at the Moff booth. (AP PHOTO)

Still using a controller’s left, right, up and down buttons to play Pac-Man? That’s so 1980. The startup Moff wants kids to wildly flail their arms instead to make the hungry little yellow character move.

Moff’s $54.99 brightly-colored motion sensor bracelet was among toys aimed at getting kids moving while they’re playing. Its bracelet doesn’t need a camera or television set, just a connection to a smartphone or tablet.

Skechers also debuted the next generation of its Game Kicks shoes, which contain a controller kids can use to try and beat the color combinations lighting up on their toes. The $65 shoe includes a speaker and will go on sale in June for kids ages 4 to 10. Skechers marketing rep Jon Long says the shoes are water-resistant but it’s probably not a good idea to dunk them in water.

For future or would-be programmers, products like Hackaball, which ships in March for $85, encourages kids to program their own light-up hand-held ball. They can make it vibrate and emit sounds via a smartphone app so they can invent their own games to play. (AP)


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