Texting While Driving?
There's an ap for that!
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, is home to thousands of new products, ranging from revolutionary to cheap knock-offs.To highlight the best of the best, the Consumer Electronics Association gives away Innovations Awards to the most innovative products of the show. Here are two particularly interesting products on display in the Innovations Showcase.
Modlet is short for "modern outlet." It's basically an intelligent power strip. You plug it into a regular outlet, and then plug in devices that consume a large amount of energy. The Modlet sends the energy consumption data to your computer. Based on how regularly you use those devices, it will suggest that you shut off electricity to them when they're not in use.
This can be used to stop "vampire" power drains, a common occurrence where devices draw power even when they're off.
Another gadget on display in the showcase, tiwi, confronts an entirely different problem: teenagers texting and playing with their phones while driving.
When someone is driving a tiwi-enabled car, their phone is turned off through an app available for iPhones and Android phones. In addition, tiwi helps teenagers who are learning to drive by talking them through various mistakes.
There are other safety features included, such as a service that texts parents when their child is driving recklessly or when he or she leaves a designated zone. However, since the tiwi device gets all of its data from the car it is installed in (unlike other similar products on the show floor that were strictly tied to the cell phone), there are no protections enabled when the teenager drives another car.
The tiwi device begins at $299.99 and requires a monthly subscription costing $24.99 and up.
PHOTO: The tiwi on display at CES. (Photo by Sue Broder)