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Useful technology

An interesting week beckons as I head to the Midlands for the exhibition merry-go-round at the NEC.

My core interest is with the PXI Show - organised by a small but hardy group of exhibitors. PXI, particularly since being speeded up by PXI Express, is slowly starting to gain traction in the electronics design market, hence the interest for New Electronics. This year it has nestled inside National Electronics Week, thereby turning it into a three day event.

On a bigger scale, the Gadget Show Live will be located a few exhibition halls away. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, held earlier in the year, in many ways sets the agenda for this, although the Gadget Show will have special feature sections (the British Inventors Project and the Future Tech Zone) given over to breakthrough British innovations.

The show is obviously consumer based and will have enough razzamatazz to turn it into good entertainment and enough substance to provide an insight into next generation products. But will the question resurface 'which comes first - the technology or the application'?

As CES showed, there are endless things you can now do with a smartphone and information is not only at your fingertips, it's in your eyes and ears, on your wrist and every other part of your body. Wearable electronics is definitely a trend, but is it a trend driven by customer demand, or is it a trend driven by designers looking for a use for their technology?

If my watch-style sat nav guides me there successfully I will report back.

Tim Fryer

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