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Welcome to Ceatec 2009

Signs at the entrance to the Makuhari Messe convention center announce that we have indeed arrived at Ceatec 2009 in Chiba, Japan, near Tokyo.

The show, which started Tuesday and runs through the weekend, seems smaller than in years past (though there's no official count of attendance yet). The smaller crowd could be due to the sluggish economy and/or the inclement weather Tokyo's been having: it hasn't stopped raining since the show began and there's a typhoon forecast to hit the area Thursday.

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Stantum multitouch tech

Stantum, based in Bordeaux, France, brought its display technology to Ceatec. Called Unlimited Multitouch, the displays range from 2.5 inches to 15.4 inches and can register as many different inputs as you can throw at it. That includes fingertips, stylus, and even a paintbrush, as pictured at left.

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Stantum resistive touchscreen

Stantum CEO Etienne Paillard said the company had licensed its resistive unlimited multitouch technology to two chipmakers, STMicro and Sitronix, which will try to get smartphone, Netbook, and laptop makers to use these screens in their devices.

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Wireless charging adapter for handhelds

Dell made headlines last week with the introduction of its wireless charging station for its latest Latitude notebook, but Wild Charge has been trying to make a go of wireless power for the past few years.

At Ceatec, the Arizona-based company is showing its wireless inductive charging pad and adapters that can charge a variety of handheld devices such as the phone and Nintendo DS pictured here.

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Solar-powered cell phone

Even niftier than wireless recharging, Sharp showed a cell phone that gets its power from the closest star. Every 10 minutes spent in the sun juices the phone for one minute of talk time.

The phone has been available in Japan since last month.

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Robot phone

The Polaris is part mobile phone/part robot and is the fruit of a partnership between design firm Iida and robotics company Flower Robotics.

While the form factor brings the Sony Rolly to mind, this aspires to do a lot more. The Polaris functions as a cell phone, but is also a personal organizer. It can keep a daily schedule, act as a pedometer and keep track of eating habits, exercise, and general health. After gathering that data, it provides feedback to the owner in the form of exercise and medical advice, suggested recipes and places to shop. It also offers entertainment suggestions.

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Panasonic 50-inch 3D TV

Panasonic is getting serious about 3D TVs for the home. Prior to Ceatec, the company has shown its 103-inch 3D TV, but now its bringing the concept a little closer to Earth. The 50-inch 3D TV is a size that will more realistically fit in most living rooms. It requires viewers to don a set of active shutter glasses in order to watch 3D content in the form of DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, or forthcoming 3D broadcast channels.

The TV has no price set yet, but there will be a premium to be paid for having 3D technology in the home. However, a Panasonic representative assured us "it will not be twice the price" of a a standard 50-inch HDTV.

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Pop culture papercraft

Korean papercraft company Beonencr does fancy custom packaging. Why they were at Ceatec is unclear. However, they had these awesome papercraft homages to American pop culture and politics. Left to right, Darth Vader, President Barack Obama, and Hellboy.

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