Being from Australia, I was impressed enough with the concept of satellite radio and being able to access so much live information in your car. Needless to say, when my XM guide started talking to the car in a conversational style, and getting responses back on countless topics, my head nearly fell off. "What's the weather like in Indiana?" "Are there any results for the Knicks game?" "Who plays this song on the radio?" The user doesn't need to learn any particular format of request, or speak any differently than they normally would, and there's no need to teach the system anything. It seems to understand anything. XM's big news was about its role in the delivery of the Onix 400 Weather Tracker, which alerts you to any potential weather issues on your route or at your destination, as well as a universal receiver that works with any existing AM/FM radio. The company's also demonstrating its ability to broadcast video.

Canon
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The reason you can't really see what's on the screen here is that it's a new, dual-view displays that allows the driver to see the business stuff (i.e. navigation) while the passenger watches something else, like a video. If the driver's naughty and tries to peek at what the passenger is watching, the display cuts out. The system incorporates an infrared light curtain that senses when the driver isn't watching the road and turns the video off. The light curtain also serves to determine whether it's the driver accessing the controls or the passenger. This means that the driver can't enter address information while the car is in motion, but the passenger can.

Canon
Backstage Crew photos taken with a Canon PowerShot SD30 Digital Elph and made possible by
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How can seatbelts possibly be worthy of blogging about on a consumer tech site? When they're hooked up to an omniscient camera that knows when you're in imminent danger, and automatically pull you to a brace position at force. The single camera can tell if it's raining, or if you're about to hit anything that you can't avoid, and can even read street signs to make sure you're not going too fast or drifting outside the lines. It gives you a warning by vibrating you in your seat--hard to ignore. This picture shows a seatbelt device that takes the worry out of strapping your baby in correctly--green light means secure, red light means Junior's in danger.

Canon
Backstage Crew photos taken with a Canon PowerShot SD30 Digital Elph and made possible by
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This easy-to-install device allows iPod users to safely use their MP3 player while driving. It can also connect to your cellular via Bluetooth, so you can't talk on your phone with the same system. The control knob is completely wireless and comes with sticky stuff, so you can place it wherever you like on the dash, and move it about as you please--you could pass it to someone in the back seat if you want to relinquish control. You can even spell out your particular music selection using the control knob to save having to wade through countless songs.

Canon
Backstage Crew photos taken with a Canon PowerShot SD30 Digital Elph and made possible by
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I saw lots of mobile navigation systems at CES but none that looked as straightforward as the Panasonic Strada. Rather than being confronted by an array of complex options and features on the home page, the Panasonic Strada simplifies the user experience by offering just three options. It's also highly customizable. This one has a 30GB hard drive, a 7-inch screen, and more detailed city maps than most navigation systems. You can update the map data by inserting a DVD that Panasonic ships out periodically, no need to take out the device.

Canon
Backstage Crew photos taken with a Canon PowerShot SD30 Digital Elph and made possible by
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This prototype technology demonstrates the future of keeping portable devices from running out of juice. A pad installed into the console charges any compatible device just by resting it there; no need for plugs, cords, or multiple curly cables jammed into a cigarette lighter. Using electromagnetic induction, this same technology could be installed into office furniture or anywhere you might need a little extra power. Imagine the convenience! Once this open technology becomes widespread and is incorporated into more devices, we may be able to pack for a trip with all the plugs and cords that we're currently helpless without, knowing that when we get to our hotel, they'll be charged automatically.

Canon
Backstage Crew photos taken with a Canon PowerShot SD30 Digital Elph and made possible by
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As more mobile media devices struggle to distract us from keeping our eyes on the road, Immersion offer a solution that lets us feel what we're looking for instead. The panel lights up in anticipation of your finger touching it, and can then give programmable sensory feedback depending on what button you push. Each button I pressed felt different--not like Braille; some buttons seemed to explode into my finger, while others felt gentler or vibrated.

Canon
Backstage Crew photos taken with a Canon PowerShot SD30 Digital Elph and made possible by
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As we continue waiting to see how the DVD format wars pan out, this product makes a lot of sense for anyone contemplating investing in OEM technology. This docking system means that if technologies change, or if you want to upgrade your car's media system before you upgrade your vehicle, you can do so extremely easily. Plug your DVD player into the dock to keep your kids entertained while you drive up to the lake house, and then unplug it and take it inside when the fish aren't biting. Want to upgrade to the model that incorporates a Gameboy Advance? Do it without a whole new installation. You can even put a laptop in there and can use services such as Slingbox and whatever else you have on your machine.

Canon
Backstage Crew photos taken with a Canon PowerShot SD30 Digital Elph and made possible by
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