The Wrap: 15 January

The Wrap: 15 January

CES goodness

CES, the annual consumer electronics showcase, went down in Vegas last week and served up another helping of weird and wonderful tech. One of this year's innovations was in an arena Kiwi entrepreneurs are no strangers to — bikes and urban transport.

New Zealand companies that have made a name in this arena include FX Bikes with its Mountain Moto. There's also Grant Ryan's YikeBike and Phil Thorn's YouBike.

Debuting at CES was the Urb-E, billed as the world's most compact e-vehicle.

It's a pretty classy looking foldaway unit, in silver with coloured circles and powered by a lithium-ion battery. As the video shows, it can even help apes get to their hot dates where human men with traditional bikes fail due to lack of parking spaces.

Wearable to the core

This year's CES was tipped to open the floodgates of wearable tech and that proved true. One of the devices to watch is Sony's Core, announced at the show. It's a tiny chip that can be put into hardware of all kinds, starting with fitness tracking bands and smartphones. It won't just tell you how fit you're getting, but it's planned the device will also track life experiences via a journal type app.

You win some, you lose some

Speaking of fitness, the Google Glass app Race Yourself has something for those who've ever been bored out of their brains lapping a field or clocking up the minutes on the exercycle. Thanks to virtual reality, users can try to outdo themselves, better their best, or others' best, even the best of great Olympic sprinters. The better you get, the more games you unlock, like Boulder Dash, Wing Suit or Virtual Marathon. Sounds much more entertaining than your everyday jog, just try to stay off the road

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Healthy home

Tech makers aren't just helping humans track their own health, they're also making sure our homes are ship shape. CubeSensors are among the slew of options in the connected or smart home market.

A cube in each room measures air pollution, temperature, noise levels, light and other factors and glows red or blue when shaken to tell you if something needs changing to make your environment better. At a minimum cost of US$300 you have to wonder if you'd be better off relying on your eyes, ears and nose.

Made for makers

MakerBot has given 3D printing afficionados a good start to 2014 with news of a digital store of professionally-created designs. The store is another option alongside Thingiverse, the collection of designs uploaded and shared among 3D printer users. 3D printer users can buy individual models or collections via the new store.