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Tops in Tech

Highlights from the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show

Health matters

Beltone True Hearing Aid
Beltone took home a CES Innovations 2011 Design and Engineering Award for the Beltone True hearing aid, which wirelessly connects directly to cell or home phones, TVs, stereo systems, computers and portable music players. Nearly invisible when worn, the Beltone True is compatible with the Direct TV Link accessory, which transmits audio from home electronics to the hearing aid while allowing others in the room to listen at a normal volume. It also works with the Direct Phone Link, providing an in-ear connection to a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone along with a wearable wireless mic.

Withings Blood Pressure Monitor

Taking and tracking blood pressure readings becomes app-solutely simple with the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor. The system connects to an iPod, iPhone or iPad, where a downloadable app controls the cuff, shows the results in a large, legible display and stores them automatically.  Trends become apparent when readings are viewed using the app's graphing capabilities. You can also upload your results to Microsoft HealthVault or Google Health for convenient online access. The monitor goes on sale this month for $129.

The Sonamba monitor from pomdevices provides a multifaceted solution for those of us who worry about older relatives living alone. Sonamba has a bright 7-inch touch-screen LCD and a built-in cellular connection to the outside world — no high-speed Internet service required. A motion sensor checks movement in the room and compares it to the usual household patterns. If there's a deviation from the norm, it automatically sends text messages to up to three caregivers. Medication and appointment reminders can be stored, and there's an emergency button to be worn or mounted on a wall. Sonamba isn't all work and no play, though. It includes a digital picture frame — photos can be loaded remotely over the wireless connection. It also offers texting and e-mail, and several games to help keep the brain cells lively. There are several plans available, starting at $69 a month.

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