Schwarzenegger, 'green' gadgets at giant high-tech fair

March 1, 2009 by Deborah Cole

The world's biggest high-tech fair kicks off Tuesday hosting guest-of-honour Arnold Schwarzenegger and offering cutting-edge solutions promising to beat the economic crisis as well as climate change.

The California governor, whose state's IT industry will be centre stage at Germany's CeBIT, will join Chancellor Angela Merkel for speeches on the eve of the event and tour the fair with her when it opens early Tuesday.

Some 4,300 firms from 69 countries will display the latest in information and communications technology in the northern city of Hanover -- a quarter fewer than last year due to the global economic slump, organisers said.

"Given the depth of the world economic crisis, this number represents a success," Deutsche Messe board member Ernst Raue said, admitting that small hardware and telecommunications suppliers from China, Taiwan and South Korea had pulled out in droves.

It is the first time the CeBIT is honouring a state as opposed to a nation and Schwarzenegger will lead a delegation of around 50 firms from California, most from Silicon Valley.

While in Hanover, the Austrian-born governor will also pick up an award Tuesday from the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany for "his exceptional commitment to the global issues of environment and energy."

Hot topics at the CeBIT this year are to be "green" technology and innovations on mobile Internet use -- two areas that industry experts said could be particularly appealing in tough economic times by allowing people to save money in the long run.

CeBIT vice president Sven Michael Prueser said energy-saving products had major growth potential and would be spotlighted for the second year at an expanded section of the fair co-organised by the German environment ministry.

"At the heart of 'Green IT World' are issues relating to the energy efficiency of the IT systems themselves, but also the central question of what kind of efficiency gains can be achieved by industry through the intelligent use of IT," he said.

Among the product highlights expected this year are new, ultra-thin, ultra-efficient Netbooks, including the first "zero-watt" laptop from Fujitsu-Siemens that uses no electricity when in sleep-mode.

New videoconferencing technology promises to allow more companies to save money on travel, while axeing more emissions-heavy flights.

And Japanese giant Toshiba is to show off televisions that use half the power of normal sets.

Although the CeBIT is primarily a trade fair for sector executives, each year it also showcases quirky new gadgets ranging from the brilliantly practical to the fancifully futuristic.

German premium sound specialists Blaupunkt plan to unveil prototypes for what they call the world's first Internet car radio, promising access to "tens of thousands of stations" via cellular phone networks.

A Taiwanese firm will be showing off a waterproof GPS tracker allowing owners to locate stolen motorcycles, boats and caravans or even shut down engines remotely via text message.

A so-called gentle alarm clock will also be on display that monitors sleep rhythms as shown by the body movements of the sleeper.

It then chooses a shallow sleep phase within 30 minutes of the desired wake-up time to go off, encouraging what the German manufacturer says is a smoother start to a more productive day.

And visitors will be able to try out a German design prize winner: an age-simulation suit made to allow young people to understand first-hand the physical limitations of the average 75-year-old.

Another boom sector gaining special attention this year is "telemedicine," or using state-of-the-art technology to monitor and treat chronically ill patients while they are still living at home.

The CeBIT runs until March 8.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Manufacturing flexibility with free-form electronic circuits

Related Stories

Manufacturing flexibility with free-form electronic circuits

November 19, 2015

'TERASEL was inspired by the need for smart, randomly shaped electronic and sensor circuits for a number of end uses including lighting, car interiors, user interfaces and consumer electronics,' says project coordinator Jan ...

Engineers develop new method to repair elephant tusks

November 18, 2015

When Birmingham Zoo veterinarians approached researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Engineering to help them stop a crack from growing in their oldest elephant's tusk, the engineers saw an opportunity ...

First photo of planet in making captured

November 18, 2015

There are 450 light-years between Earth and LkCa15, a young star with a transition disk around it, a cosmic whirling dervish, a birthplace for planets.

Climate summit: The crunch issues

November 17, 2015

On November 30, some 120 heads of government and state will kick off a high-stakes negotiation to curb global warming and help poor countries cope with its impacts.

Brad Smith, Intuit CEO, on selling Quicken

November 20, 2015

It's tough to part with an icon, but according to Intuit CEO Brad Smith, it was time. In August, Smith and his board bit the bullet and put their legacy personal finance program Quicken up for sale.

Recommended for you

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.