LAS VEGAS — If you love gadgets, then the ballroom at Mandalay Bay was most definitely the place to be on Sunday afternoon.
The “CES Unveiled” event featured hundreds of companies set up at their respective booths, showing off an array of creations — some of which might never make it past the prototype, but others that could change the way we think about technology in our lives.
Here are five of our favorites from Sunday’s event:
Virtual reality, motion-tracking gaming
For anyone who struggles with a traditional game controller, particular with first-person shooters, YEI Technology of Portsmouth, Ohio, has a solution: A wireless sensor array, called PrioVR, that can be strapped to your torso and arms, or to your full body, to control the game by moving your body.
The company says the system has a number of benefits over camera-based controllers such as Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect, including better accuracy and no need for a straight line of sight to the game. It works in conjunction with customized PC-based games, and the company is working with game developers to broaden the catalog.
Special bonus: It also works with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, for an extra dose of immersion.
They’re planning to launch a Kickstarter in the coming weeks to offer the product to the public, with the torso sensor array selling for $275 and the full body version going for less than $400.
ClickPad 2 and ForcePad
Interface technology company Synaptics demonstrated two of its latest touchpad technologies at the show, and both will be a boon to anyone looking to be more productive on a notebook.
The first, ClickPad 2, is an extra-wide touchpad that works especially well with Windows 8 — replicating many of the on-screen gestures from the Microsoft OS, such as swiping in from the side. The extra real estate also includes vertical strips at the edges that can be used to navigate Windows 8’s sidebar menus after they’re activated.
The ForcePad is a variation that lets users press with varying degrees of force to continue an action that they’ve started on the trackpad. For example, after starting by swiping down on the trackpad to scroll down on the screen, you can keep your fingers in place and just press with a greater degree of force to continue scrolling.
ClickPad 2 is shipping with the HP Spectre 13, and the ForcePad is available in the HP EliteBook Folio 1040.
A funky — but useful — keyboard for your tablet
Finding that perfect physical keyboard for your mobile device can be a pain and TrewGrip thinks it has a great solution.
The company’s handheld keyboard straps onto a smartphone or tablet and features a full QWERTY layout, albeit in a unique place — on the back of your device, hidden from view, split in half and rotated vertically so your hands that grip the keyboard can access each key. Corresponding lights illuminate on the front to show which key you’ve selected.
The contraption looks a little odd at first glance and employees say it takes about ten hours to learn how to type in a completely new way. But it has advantages over many competitors, namely that you can type away while sitting, standing or even walking around.
Cincinnati-based TrewGrip, which failed to meet a $100,000 funding goal on Kickstarter last year, will make its product available in the fourth quarter of 2014. The keyboard, which will retail for $250 each, already has interest from medical professionals.
Drones that take photos from above
The China-based company manufactures several different devices that either include a built-in 14-megapixel camera or allow space for something like a GoPro. A connected smartphone app allows you to move the camera around and change settings, while a remote is used to control flying.
Even more insane-looking is the company’s yet-to-be released S-1000 product, which features eight rotors and can hold a Canon 5D camera:
A gadget to help your golf swing
Golfers with not-so-perfect swing mechanics — so, basically, everyone — might find Zepp’s gadget attractive.
The company offers a small device that straps on to the velcro of a golf glove. After one swing, data is sent to a corresponding app and includes information like tempo, clubhead speed and club plane, as well as a 3D view of your swing. In addition, you can tell the app which type of club you are using — including the manufacturer — so it can adjust accordingly. The results can be compared to that of a professional, so you can see where you’re making mistakes.
The gadget also works with tennis rackets and baseball bats, analyzing similar mechanics. It is available now and costs $149.
More from CES: