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Video: 6 new gadgets and cool tools

Track your luggage, store your stuff and convert your car

By Keith Shaw on Tue, 06/25/13 - 4:43pm.

Last week I attended the Digital Experience event in New York, a regular press event held by Pepcom that features dozens of new consumer tech products and services.

Armed with our video camera, Network World's Craig Mathias and I interviewed a bunch of companies about some of their new offerings. Presented here are our reports from the show:

Eye-Fi Mobi card: I've always been a big fan of Eye-Fi, which adds Wi-Fi to a Secure Digital card, giving your digital camera wireless connectivity. The latest card puts a bit of a twist on the concept - instead of just providing connectivity and upload capabilities to the card, the Wi-Fi is used to connect with a user's smartphone to transfer images from the camera to the phone. Users can then use their smartphones to share images via social networks or send via email. It's a subtle difference, but one that seems to make more sense (rather than relying on a digital camera's smaller interface to try and initiate sharing, or waiting until the camera connects to a notebook or desktop computer).

Transporter from Connected Data: If you've been using a lot of cloud storage or backup services lately but hate paying the service fees, the Transporter device from Connected Data might be a different option for you. The cone-shaped device houses a hard drive, and can act as a network-attached storage (NAS) device to provide backup for a number of PCs. Adding an additional Transporter to the system (say, one at home and one at work) can then create an automatic offsite storage/backup option, as the two Transporters can talk with each other and synchronize files. It's a very cool device and concept, solving some issues for people who want to utilize cloud storage options but without having to pay the fees associated with those services.

Trakdot luggage tracker: If you've ever experienced the pain of having your luggage misplaced by an airline, you might want to check out the Trakdot. This small device doesn't use GPS for tracking - rather, it activates when its accelerometer goes over 118 mph and back down (such as when a plane takes off and lands). Once the plane lands, the Trakdot triangulates its location via cell phone towers, and sends a text message to the user's cell phone. For the most part, it will be the same city where the passenger has landed, but in cases where luggage "goes missing", customers can now present that information to the airline, sometimes well before the airline itself knows.

Delphi's Vehicle Diagnostics unit: This handy device can provide a whole bunch of data on your car's performance, taking an older car that wasn't "connected" and making it into a fancier version of today's Internet-connected systems. Plugging the unit into the car's universal data connector (required on any car 1996 model and newer), the unit can provide all sorts of diagnostic information - not just the "check engine" codes that other devices can use, but also provide information like battery power, fuel levels and speed alerts. All of the information can be accessed via tablet or smartphone, which makes it even cooler:

Maingear Epic PC line: I gotta admit, seeing the inside of this gaming PC was pretty cool, and half of the gear included inside the thing seems like a bit of overkill for normal, everyday computer use, but I'm sure the gaming PC fans out there love this stuff. I loved the green, liquid-cooling system personally.

The funny thing about the "world's fastest gaming PC" title is that it's like holding the title of "world's oldest human" - it has a limited lifespan. There's always a newer system coming out that's going to be faster, so take that with a grain of salt (although Maingear could certainly just come out with another version as well).

Magisto video editing app: One other company we met with but didn't do a video interview with was Magisto, which was showing off its smartphone-based video editing app. The app takes photos and videos stored on your smartphone (we used the iPhone version) and creates an edited version that utilizes fancier transitions, wipes and other special effects to create a more interesting version for sharing with friends/family members. Instead of sharing individual photos or videos, users can use the app to create a single video experience. Magisto offers a free version with limited features (limit of five photos per upload, time limits on video length), but you can upgrade for a minimal cost if you really like it. Not only does the system's algorithm focus in on the relevant parts of your photos and videos, but you can also add a music soundtrack (you can pick from their songs or upload your own).

Here's a test example of a video I did with some random gadgets and puppets lying around my office:

Keith Shaw also rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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