Nifty and stylish is aim at Berlin gizmo fair

Fri Sep 4, 2009 8:17am EDT
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By Caroline Copley

BERLIN (Reuters) - Against a backdrop of flat-panel TV screens and energy-efficient washing machines, a number of nifty gadgets and chic devices stand out at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin, aimed at simplifying modern life -- with style.

From products with personalities to portable green gizmos and multi-function devices, manufacturers are hoping fun paired with innovation will tempt consumers to part with their cash.

Shaped like a Frisbee and small enough to glide under a couch or bed, Roomba is part robot, part pet.

Developed by U.S. company iRobot, the device has sensors that guide the machine around obstacles as it cleans parquet floors and carpets all on its own.

More deluxe models come with "virtual walls" -- infrared sensors that fence off no-go-zones in different rooms.

"You switch it on, leave the house and by the time you get home, he's parked back at his charger like a faithful pet," said the spokesman of German distributor Klein & More.

The Roomba 563 Pet version hoovers up animal hair and stray fodder, while its brother the Scooba 386 washes floors up to 80 square meters in size by sucking up dirty water as it moves.

With its blinking green eyes and cheerful bright face, the Good News combined espresso machine and radio from Amici aims to put even the grumpiest of morning people in a good mood as it wafts out music alongside the scent of coffee.   Continued...

<p>Visitors wear 3D glasses at the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) consumer electronics fair in Berlin, September 4, 2009. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz</p>