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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Tuesday focus: Gadgets

The recession figures to tone down the flashiness of this week’s International Consumer Electronics Show, but the lineup of innovative products likely will measure up to those of past years.

Sony Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. will introduce new flat-panel TV sets that provide smoother-looking action scenes, 3-D capabilities and Internet connections that can download movies, weather data and screen savers. Other things to expect:

•Ever fantasize about moving things around with your mind? Mattel Inc. is going to make that come true with the Mind Flex. This toy comes with a brain-scanning head set. Concentrate, and a fan spins up to levitate a ball. Relax your thoughts, and the ball descends. For a challenge, guide the ball through an obstacle course of hoops. May the Force be with you when the Mind Flex hits stores in the fall for $80.

•Nvidia Corp., a leading maker of graphics chips for computers, will be touting $199 glasses that turn compatible monitors into three-dimensional displays, spicing up games like “Far Cry 2,” “Spore” and “Left 4 Dead.” The wireless glasses come with an adapter that plugs into a regular USB slot. •Stereo maker Blaupunkt will show what it says is “the first Internet car radio.” It’s a potential competitor to satellite radio, but needs to be connected to an Internet-enabled phone to receive audio streams.

•TV stations will be at the show to present details of their plans to broadcast signals for cell phones, in-car sets and other portable gadgets. Transmissions could start this year, but it’s unclear whether there will be any compatible receiving products, particularly since the cellular carriers have their own solutions for mobile TV.

•Small, cheap laptops known as “netbooks” are the hot new category in computers. Last year at CES, Asustek Computer Inc., the pioneer in the field, was nearly alone in showing netbooks, but this year it will have company from practically every other computer manufacturer.

Associated Press

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