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Cebit and wonder

Cebit and wonder
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At Cebit, Europe’s biggest electronics show held in Hanover, there were lots of new gizmos and gadgets on display. More than 4,200 companies from 70 countries were there to show off their new products. The theme however was “Managing Trust: Internet security and data protection|.

The German Federal Printing House, the state service that prints money, stamps and official documents, was at the show to present the new German Identity Card. It is more secure because instead of using a magnetic strip which is easy to clone, it features new encryption technology. Using this card with a reader, users can identify themselves from home, connect to public offices, receive all kind of documents via the internet and also use it like a bank card to withdraw money.

Martin Gosen, the Head of Communication at the Bundesdruckerei said: “I think authentication trust is one of the main aspects of real business and this card will increase trust within digital business.”

At IBM they presented the Secure Desktop, which enables users to access their entire desktop, including their OS, apps and data, from anywhere in the world. The secret is this stick which gives access via a secure connection to the user’s data stored in the cloud.

Sean Rooney, a researcher at IBM, said: “We believe that we don’t want to be lugging around large devices like this through airports and so on because it’s unpleasant. What we prefer to do is simply go to an arbitrary computer, one which we’ve never seen before and insert a simple device and make it our own computer. Once we unplug the device after having worked with the session for a while, none of the data is left behind. It’s useful because everything is encrypted by the cryptographic technology on the stick.”

The Fraunhofer Institute were demonstrating their robot, which can draw portraits. The robot detects light reflections via a camera on its arm which takes the person’s picture. Then the robot’s software finds the contrasts in the image and translates them into arm movements for the robot.

Karin Stein,a researcher with Fraunhofer said: “In our laboratory we are measuring the reflection of materials, for example road signs. At night you want to see what is written on the sign, and therefore it is essential to know that all the reflected light is coming back towards you.”

Controversial footballing decisions by referees could be history thanks to a microchip inside a ball, which can give accurate real-time information on ball possession, passes, crosses, and shots as well as player speeds and distance covered.

And there’s a new tablet for users who get caught in the rain. Fujitsu’s waterproof device can be left up to a metre under water for half an hour and still function. It is due to be launched onto the Japanese market soon.

But new technology isn’t confined to small gadgets, the Audi A3 model is fitted with a huge array of new technology. A retractable display, gives all sorts of information. There is also a powerful voice recognition system, and a letter recognition device: you type the first and second letter of your destination and the car recognises your writing. There is also a powerful 3G modem for data connection and streaming the internet.

And finally British company Robothespian developed an advanced voice recognition system for robots.