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Gadget inspector: French tech firms reveal the future

Such is the vitality of the technology sector in France that the country had the third largest national presence in the startup section of the recent prestigious CES electronics innovation show in Las Vegas.

France was only outdone by the USA and China in the number of firms attending, and a French company – MyScript, from Nantes – won a prize for the best app, with handwriting app Nebo. Another 30 firms were given CES Innovation Awards.

According to French Tech, a government-led movement promoting startups: “The massive presence of French startups didn’t go unnoticed – to such an extent that French was the dominant language in the aisles of the Eureka Park [the part of CES showcasing startup firms].”

Nebo, used to turn writing into digital text on tablets, allows users to write, draw, edit and format notes quickly, creating digital documents that can have titles, paragraphs, bullet lists, equations, interactive diagrams, sketches and picture captions. Users can open the notes directly in email or a word processor document.
Some of the other ideas being shown off at CES included:

Cosmo connected – A ‘brake light’ which fixes to the back of a motorcycling helmet. It lights up as the cyclist slows, warning the drivers behind. The gadget also includes a safety mechanism if the rider has a fall: it tries to phone their mobile and if there is no response, it alerts the emergency services. The firm is looking to extend it to other users including cyclists and skiers.

Wezr – a wearable ‘weather station’. It gives you localised weather forecasts for the next few hours based on available forecasts plus data from air pressure, humidity and temperature in real time. 

It is aimed at people doing outdoor pursuits where a sudden weather change might be dangerous.

Akoustic Arts – a slim speaker which allows you to direct sound where you want it. A version for cars allows GPS instructions to only be aimed at the driver, so as not to irritate other passengers. The system is also said to allow people travelling together to listen to music without headphones and without bothering others sitting nearby.

Fenotek – a ‘connected intercom’ allows you at a distance to open your front door for deliveries, to a child who has forgotten a key etc. Another function allows it to be used as an alarm, indicating in which room a detector was set off.

n Digital Coach by Xooloo – this application allows parents to pre-set time limits on children’s phones as to how long they spend on certain other apps (YouTube, Facebook etc) and to monitor and modify this from their own phone. The child can also see how long they have spent on them.

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