CES Afterparty: The Top 11 Gadgets You (Probably) Never Heard About

As gadget shows go, the annual Consumer Electronics Show is… what's the word? Freakin' huge. Over 140,000 people attended CES this year, all of them pushing, buying, or covering supercool new tech toys. Among the thousands of devices shown off at the show, there are certainly headline stealers (like LG's dual-format Blu-ray/HD DVD player), but in their shadows lie plenty of promising gadgets that never get plugged into the big public-relations machine. Sitting on a table in a distant corner of the Sands Convention Center or in an off-site hotel room are the hidden stars of CES.

Well, lucky you. Our team of writers scoured the remote sites of Las Vegas to find the most promising gadgets off the beaten path. Some are from companies you've never heard of, while others come from more familiar names but didn't get top billing in their press kits. It's time these unsung gadgets got some deserved attention. After the jump, take a look at the best CES gadgets you (probably) haven't heard about.


1. Data Drive Thru
This is possibly the easiest way to transfer everything from your old computer to your new one via USB 2.0. The Drive Thru uses its own built in software to automatically transfer your content and displays both hard drives on a single screen. datadrivethru.com


2. PowerStick
It looks like a USB jump drive, but inside is a lithium-ion battery, rechargeable via any USB port. Attach the appropriate device tip and you can recharge your power-depleted iPod, BlackBerry, RAZR, or whatever. The PowerStick can be recharged 500 times, which works out to a miserly 10 cents a charge. ecosolinc.com


3. Griffin Evolve wireless speaker system
An expandable iPod wireless speaker system à la Sonos. But unlike Sonos, Evolve ($349) includes speakers. The powered speakers are charged on a 900-MHz transmitter base station (which also docks your iPod), then can be placed anywhere within 150 feet of the base. You can add an unlimited number of extra speakers, and each is shipped with its own network ID so will know if it's a left speaker or a right speaker for accurate music reproduction. Release is scheduled for spring. griffintechnology.com


4. Jabra's BT8010 Bluetooth earphone
The BT8010 earpiece handles music and phone calls. Nothing new there, but if you connect the second wired earpiece, it becomes a Bluetooth 2.0 stereo headset. Talk trumps music so when you get a call the music stops. Hang up and the band plays on. jabra.com


5. Fujitsu PalmSecure authentication system
The PalmSecure is Fujitsu's latest biometric authentication system. Plainly speaking, it captures the vein pattern of your palm for a locking mechanism. PalmSecure is a step forward in access security for PCs and other identification apps. fujitsu.com/


6. Kleer Wireless Technology
Kleer is a one-way, 2.4-GHz tech that uses less power, avoids interference better, and provides better fidelity than stereo Bluetooth, which was designed for two-way cell chatting and later adapted for music listening. The first Kleer-enabled product is the RCA Jet Stream MP3 player (shown), due in the spring for $149. kleer.com


7. Tiffen Cool Day for Night lens filter
In the movie business, the studios use expensive filters to shoot nighttime scenes during the day. The Cool Day for Night filter by Tiffen is an affordable solution for the rest of us. Now you can create that dusk effect in your photos or videos. tiffen.com


8. Netgear's dual-mode DECT cordless phone
Netgear's Dual-Mode DECT cordless phone for Skype calls and regular home telephone service. DECT technology exists in Europe but is new to our shores. The technology is called DECT 6.0 and the beauty is that unlike 2.4 MHz or 5.8 MHz the DECT 6.0 exists on 1.9 MHz where there's no traffic. The result is longer range with no interference. Netgear.com


9. Vizio Jive wireless home theater system
While the company's $3k 60-inch plasma TV stole the spotlight, Vizio almost managed to sneak out its JV80P home theater, dubbed the "Jive," without anyone knowing. Wireless guts in a flatscreen HDTV send your sound to a receiver in the subwoofer, with has connections for your surround speakers (the TV has built-in speakers for the front soundstage). It's not quite hi-fi, but if you have room behind your couch for a sub, it could be perfect. Vizio.com


10. Dynaflex Hi-Tech Gyro
Exercising with Dynaflex Hi-Tech Gyro increases the blood flow to your hand by 60%. It works for the fingers, hands, and arm. The handheld Gyro can be used to build strength or help you rehab from an injury. dynaflexpro.com


11. Garmin Astro dog-tracking GPS system
This dog hunts! Garmin's Astro, a dog-tracking GPS system, was made for sporting dogs but I see other uses. You may not know what your dog is doing but you know where he is and where he's been. The dog's GPS even shows if he's sitting or running. It comprises two components: a harness with transmitter for the dog and a hand-held receiver. Garmin.com