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Best gaming tech from CES 2015

Hot tech surprises from this year's show
Best gaming tech from CES 2015
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Earlier in the week we made a few predictions about the kinds of wearable and virtual reality technology that would be on show at 2015's CES show in Las Vegas.

So now that it's wrapped up, we decided to take a look at what devices had been revealed.

As anticipated, much of this year's CES was about putting already-known gear into the hands of the press and consumers, rather than lifting the curtain on new electronic surprises.

Version 1.01

In that sense, much of what was on show was a next generation of CES 2014 devices.

Wearables dominated - at least in terms of quantity if not quality - from self-tightening belts to smart fitness clothing; although just how many will make it to market remains to be seen.

A lot of the hype appears to be white noise, while other concepts, such as virtual reality workouts from Runtastic, will likely remain as proofs of concept.

There were still a few unexpected products and concepts on show, and here's our rundown of the most interesting and exciting.

#1: Razer OSVR Hacker Dev Kit

Razer OSVR Hacker Dev Kit

Yep, another virtual reality HMD- this time from accessory guru Razer. But hang on. There's a fascinating angle to this head-mounted display.

Revealed on the show floor at CES 2015, the OSVR doesn't appear to be the groundwork for a new VR platform. Rather, it seems Razer is attempting to bring some standardisation to virtual reality in general by delivering a very affordable (around £130/$199), and open source, dev kit to the game development masses.

It's entirely cross-platform, game-focused, and Razer positions it as being to virtual reality what Android is to smartphones.

Both the hardware and the SDK will be open source (you can even print your own HMD if you've a 3D printer), and with one external and two internal USB 3 ports, it seems like more of an attempt to encourage the fledgling VR industry to become an open, accessible and customisable platform rather than suffer inevitable hardware fragmentation and a descent into platform wars.

The unit unveiled at CES 2015 was a very early prototype, but Razer is looking at bringing more complete iterations to the dev community later this year.


#2: Sony SmartEyeglass Attach

Sony SmartEyeglass Attach

Google Glass isn't having the world-changing impact that the Big G had hoped for, but that evidently hasn't stopped Sony from building its own alternative in the shape of the newly unveiled SmartEyeglass Attach (working title, apparently).

The difference here is that it's separate to the actual eyewear, and can be clipped onto any ordinary pair of glasses. A single optical display is then positioned over one eye to provide visuals and interaction with a variety of different options from sports to entertainment.

It might yet suffer the same fate as Google Glass, if it's not adopted by the software development community (and, primarily, game creators), but the simple fact that it attaches to your own face gear adds an accessiblity that could make all the difference.

#3: Razer Forge TV

There's a lot of buzz going around the gaming world about Razer's Android-powered micro-console, the Forge TV. This small, inexpensive box hooks up to your telly to deliver the hardcore side of Android gaming direct to the living room, although the controller includes a phone clip for mobile gaming, too.

It'll come with a Bluetooth joypad (that's not unlike the Xbox controller), allows four simultaneous players, and will even stream games from your PC or Mac to the living room, where it'll automatically adjust the resolution to provide the best match for your TV.

A range of games and apps are in development, including a remote control application for Android and OS devices that'll include a voice search to make the internet more accessible from your television. And if you're particularly into PC gaming, Razer has prepared a keyboard and mouse combination controller that sits comfortably on your lap.

It's expected to land this year, with a price tag in the region of $99. Could be a great outlet for any devs working on more traditional console-like, hardcore games that would benefit from a controller over a touchscreen.


#4: The Eye Tribe Tracker

The Eye Tribe Tracker

We're very much focused on strapping displays to our eyeballs right now, what with the massive surge in virtual reality gaming, but The Eye Tribe has been working to improve visual input in other ways.

Its Tracker device picked up a Best of Innovations award for accessible technologies at CES 2015, and the company has also taken the opportunity to announce the first eye tracking SDK for Android.

The $99 Eye Tribe Tracker unit sits beneath your monitor (or touchscreen for the new Android option, assuming it's not built into the device) and uses infrared illumination combined with 'advanced mathematical models' to figure out your point of gaze. It's got a host of different input uses, not least of all being aiming within, and control of, games.

Alongside the newly available Android SDK and options for OEM hardware integration, The Eye Tribe has developed a passive analytics platform to help developers see what the user has been looking at.


#5: The best of the rest

It's easy to forget that headphones are wearable tech. One of the earliest examples, in fact. But The Dash was a reminder at CES 2015, which combines wireless ear buds (not wires between the ears, either) with gesture controls, Bluetooth headset, fitness tracker and heartrate monitor. Pre-orders are open now at £299.

The Noke is equally intriguing, offering the world's first Bluetooth-activated padlock. No keys are involved, and you can share access to whatever you've locked up with others via that Noke smartphone app.

There was the AIR2, a floating Bluetooth speaker that levitates over its base unit, and wireless charging of all your favourite devices from up to 15-feet away might soon be a reality thanks to the Energous WattUp that delivers energy over the air. Could be very useful for all these great new wearables we've been hearing about this week.