Underwater Tablets & Pole-Dancing Robots at CeBIT

By Toni Ellis |

Tablet PCs in underwater aquariums, world-famous gamers and even pole-dancing robots were on display at the opening day of the CeBIT trade show in Hannover.

Thousands of punters, including Silicon Allee, flooded in to the exhibition grounds for the start of the five-day event, soaking up the best of tech with more than 4,200 exhibiters from 70 countries showcasing new technologies.

While the official theme of this years trade show is ‘Managing Trust’, innovation was also a hot topic, with hundreds of technological highlights from the past year in the Design Innovation hall. In addition, many exhibitors were giving attendees an exclusive preview of new technologies and products not yet available on the market.

Among the new products on show was Fujitsu’s waterproof tablet PC, dramatically displayed in an aquarium filled with water. Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel liked it too, stopping to test out the tablet’s capabilities by trying it out underwater.

Microsoft and Samsung were also showcasing their new and updated versions of surface table devices. Hailed as the new tablet for businesses, Microsoft’s Surface 2.0 and Samsung’s SUR40 may look like stylish tables, but they offer users a smart multi-touch display, allowing for multiple people to use the device at the same time – a clear hit at the exhibition, with dozens of people gathered around each table to test out what they could do.

While the cheapest model comes to €9,000 (not including €3,000 for the optional table legs), after the successful response from crowds expect these stable devices to be popping up in both retail stores and offices soon.

Also on display was the latest in robotic technology, with robots programmed to make a sandwich, empty a dishwasher, paint portraits based on photos it takes and, in what proved to be one of the talking points of this year’s CeBIT, three pole-dancing robots. Large crowds gathered at what was one of the most popular stands to watch the three life-sized white robots dance – and you can hire them for your next party for only €30,000.

The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence also displayed their prototype concept car, which shortens itself to make parking easier, as well as being able to use motion sensors to avoid other vehicles.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits was also presenting its newest innovation – soccer balls and shoes with embedded chips. The technology, which is already in use in Bundesliga side Nuremberg’s stadium, streams real-time data. But if you’re more inclined to play computer games than soccer, the dedicated gaming pavilion featured international championship leagues being played live to a jam-packed audience throughout the day. There were also long queues of gamers waiting to try out highly-anticipated games before their official release.

CeBIT’s global conference was also taking place throughout the day, with speakers such as Microsoft COO Kevin Turner using the conference as a platform to showcase Windows 8, as well as Dr. Jeff Jaffe, CEO of the World Wide Web Consortium, Ericsson SVP & CTO Håkan Eriksson and others discussing a range of topics from the digital world, including online security, product development, cloud infrastructure, big data and keeping with keynote theme, managing trust.

CeBIT is held annually in Hannover, and runs until March 10.