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October 2008's 8 coolest gadgets revealed

Ceatec: robots, video cards and games consoles

October 2008 saw Japan's biggest electronics show: Ceatec. More than 196,000 visitors to Ceatec got a chance to see the best of the Japanese electronics industry, including some exciting prototypes of devices that are still a long way from hitting the market.

R&D: Toshiba Direct Methanol Fuel Cell

In the next six months we should see Toshiba's first DMFC (direct-methanol fuel-cell). The company won't say what form it will take but it should be out sometime before the end of March. DMFCs produce electricity from a reaction between methanol, water and air.

The only by-products are a small amount of water vapor and carbon dioxide, so DMFCs are often seen as a greener source of energy than traditional batteries. Another advantage is that they can be replenished with a new cartridge of methanol in seconds.

We got a clue about the possible device at Ceatec when Toshiba showed a cell phone based on a fuel cell. The fuel cell was integrated into the clamshell phone under the keypad and made the handset a little thicker, although not considerably. Watch this space for details of the DMFC when it's announced!

Toshiba DMFC

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(Additional reporting by Sumner Lemon and Chiara Castañeda)

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