Inventions go on display at Geneva fair

A handsfree umbrella, parachutes for airplanes and other quirky inventions went on display Wednesday at the opening of the world's biggest fair for new gadgets.

Even the ribbon-cutting was done by a humanoid robot.

A thousand inventions all had their debut in Geneva, including a robotic claw hand, a high-tech screen to play simulated golf and a ball designed to protect its user from electromagnetic waves generated by WiFi and other household devices.

Television, radio and microwaves all use electromagnetic waves that vary according to wavelength, energy and frequency.

Jaques Surbeck of Geneva said the ball aims to improve health. "This one works in order to linearize the waves in order to allow them to be compatible with the biological experience," he said.

Officials said 789 exhibitors from 46 countries and 60,000 visitors are expected at the fair, which runs until April 22. "We can hardly believe this given the cost of the Swiss franc and the economic situation throughout the world," said the fair's president, Jean-Luc Vincent.

An international flavor and the draw of the unexpected appealed to visitors.

"There are many funny inventions, and I recognize that people from many different countries are here," said visitor Christine Epiney.


Philipp-Moritz Jenne contributed to this report.