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New Technologies for 2011: Therapeutic Robots & Improved Spoons

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Which products will be big winners in 2011?

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) wound down in Las Vegas last weekend, and numerous news and tech outlets have been commenting on what was seen there, what was discussed there, and what did not happen there. We made note of the early proceedings last Friday, and this week we wanted to highlight a few technologies that might prove especially valuable to our readers. But when thinking of technological developments in 2011, we all have to think beyond the ‘electronics’ in the name, because candy is apparently a technology as well.

Or so say Reese’s, who showcased a ‘Mini’ Resse’s Cup at the CES. The Huffington Post offered what it’s readers/participants thought were the sixteen ‘Strangest Gadgets‘ at the show. The list being especially interesting because the Post has no apparent Apple-centric or communications-technology axe to grind, so the choices run the gamut from mini TV screens suitable as brooches and tie clips to waterproof and, er, playfully-designed vibrators.

One that caught our eye was the PARO Therapeutic Robot: “This therapeutic robot, which responds to motion and touch and can adapt to the user’s preferences, was developed for hospital and nursing home patients, especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Paro bots move their bodies and faces and make squealing noises to convey reactions or emotions.” Though thoughts of Bradbury’s I Sing The Body Electric might first chill the spine, the technology might prove a wonderful opportunity for interaction for those who would benefit from the presence of animals (and really, who doesn’t?!), but who could not take care of a live one due to age or infirmary.

A better spork from the CES 2011Roberto Baldwin at MacLife.com gives us a gallery of interesting devices, and he returns us to the un-traditional technology of food, namely, an update to the spork that could prove a boon to airlines and to food-services providers in the world of managed care.

Lots of Baldwin’s devices-of-interest pertain to the exploding pad/tablet computing world, including covers and semi-portable large screens for your portable device. But a device he noted and that we would call attention to is the PogoPlug cloud-based portable hard drive.

The Pogoplug cloud-based Hard DriveWhy would we point to this particular device? We have posted stories about the developing world of ‘cloud computing,’ and how not-for-profits can use cloud services to share information at a fairly inexpensive rate (certainly more cheaply than upgrading hard drives and servers). The PogoPlug basically creates your own cloud, apparently without limitations. Check out the PogoPlug Biz that allows multiple users/staff to access your organization’s files/promotional videos/photos/financial statements from anywhere on the internet to any internet-connected device (Imagine using your iPhone to show a quick video of your cause to a prospective donor you just happened to meet while waiting for your flight to board.).

Which of these devices, services, and interactivities will indeed become big winners in the market place we are not foolish enough to predict (Well, ok: Pogoplug will be pretty big). But even for those of us not interested in the bleeding-edge of technology should keep an eye on developments, because some of those developments could prove of great value to you and your organization, even if you don’t want to be a first-adopter.

| Category Aging, Design, Hardware Review, iDevice, iPad/Tablet, Nonprofit, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off on New Technologies for 2011: Therapeutic Robots & Improved Spoons

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