Gizmo Report
Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas showcases some of the coolest up-and-coming gadgets we'll see in the near future.

By John Bendel, editor-at-large

If you have a neat new gizmo to sell to the world, you take it to the Consumer Electronics Show. Every January the electronics industry hopefuls bring their latest stuff to Las Vegas (though next year it will be in Shanghai) and hope retailers will snap it up.

The CES exhibitor list runs to 124 pages, more than 3,500 companies. Here are just a few interesting items from this year’s show.

Cobra 29 LX BT Citizen’s Band Radio

At its booth in Las Vegas, Cobra featured, among other products, the 29 LX BT, that uses Bluetooth to connect CB radios and mobile phones. You can make and receive cell phone calls through the 29 LX BT without ever touching your phone. One-touch Bluetooth operation allows you to easily initiate and terminate mobile calls with the push of a button. Caller ID with Voice provides a voice announcement of incoming callers along with Caller ID displayed on the 29 LX BT. With text-to-speech conversion you can listen to incoming emails and respond by simply talking. You might also like the 29 LX Harley Davidson Limited Edition, very bright and dark conditions, 10 channel NOAA weather with All-Hazard alerts, and talk-back functionality.

The Cobra 29 LX BT and 29 LX Harley Davidson Limited Edition are available now for MSRP ranging from of $149.95 to $169.95.

The Rand-McNally IntelliRoute TND 730 and HD 100

Prior to the CES show, Rand McNally won recognition as a CES Innovation Award Honoree for its pair of devices for truckers. According to Rand-McNally, the competition was “judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers, and members of the trade media” and rewards outstanding design and engineering. The company said that the TND 730 truck-specific navigation system and the HD100 automated logging device together currently sell for under $600.

Oculus Rift

This is a virtual reality headset that may revolutionize gaming and, more importantly, expand the possibilities of in-cab, off-duty entertainment. Oculus Rift reportedly offers extraordinary realism without inducing motion sickness, which sometimes plagued early virtual reality systems. Put on the Oculus Rift headset and you are totally immersed in other worlds – above you, below you, and 360 degrees around you. The first Oculus model held together with duct tape was introduced by its developers in 2012. Facebook found Oculus so promising that it bought the company for $2 billion. There was no duct tape on the model shown at CES where the company said their first consumer version will finally be available later this year. It is rumored to be priced at $200. Oculus has so stirred the previously dormant virtual reality market that Sony and Samsung among others are or soon will be offering competing headsets.

Motorola’s Scout5000

Motorola wants you to see what your dog sees. Well, sort of. The Scout5000 is like a cell phone for dogs. It’s a so-called smart collar that includes a 720 pixel, wide-angle camera and a speaker. At home, the collar communicates over Wi-Fi. Outside, you’ll need a 3g mobile subscription that will cost approximately $5 a month. What you see on your end is whatever the camera sees. Depending on how high Fido holds his head, you might see what’s in front of him. Otherwise you’ll probably be looking at the ground. If that’s not a clue to his whereabouts, then the built-in GPS tracker should fill you in. The most fun part, though, is probably the speaker. Fido can hear your voice, so you can issue commands wherever he is. Sounds like a good way to freak out your pup.

According to Motorola, the Scout5000 goes on sale in April for $200. You will also be able to buy a version for small dogs without the camera, the Scout2500, for $100. It will require the same mobile subscription.

Hovertrax

This thing is like a Segway PT, the two-wheeled electric rider that was supposed to do away with walking. On a Segway you stand on a platform, hold on to a handle, and control motion by leaning in the direction you want to go. Gyroscopes keep it upright and stable. Think of the Hovertrax as a Segway without the handle, without the platform and with smaller wheels. You ride it like a skateboard – no hands. Hovertrax consists of the two wheels, the hi-tech axle between them, and two fairly narrow pads on the axle. TechCrunch called it “two dumb Segways for your feet.” Its promoters promise it’s stable and its battery powered motor will take you up to eight miles at five miles per hour on a single charge. They say it’s good for things like zipping around a warehouse and suggests you use it to eliminate long walks in airports.

I’m thinking you might do the same thing in truck stop parking lots. It’s small, weighs 15 pounds, and should stow well somewhere in your cab. Where you put it at the restaurant end of the parking lot trip (or in an airplane luggage rack), I’m not sure.

You can get one for $995 from a company called SoloWheel, the name of another curious riding device. If you think the HoverTrax is strange, check out the SoloWheel at solowheel.com.

The Lamborghini 88 Tauri

No, it’s not a car, though for $6,000 it should be. It’s a cell phone. A ridiculously expensive cell phone. It runs Android 4.4.4 and its cameras shoot 20-megapixel photos from the rear and 8-megapixel from the front. It comes with 3 GB of RAM. You can get more phone power for a whole lot less, but that’s not the point, is it? The Lamborghini 88 Tauri is a fancy-ass device of leather and metal and scratch-proof glass, but most of all that eye-catching Lamborghini logo. Imagine who you can impress. Now forget it. Don’t even think of buying this. I only included it here to show you how the other half lives.