The 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show doesn't begin in earnest until Thursday morning. But Las Vegas is already running at full tilt with press conferences, big announcements, and even a number of items that have been awarded "Best in Show" honors.

The press Tuesday was shown a number of very special items to be displayed at the show. They are the honorees for the Innovations Design and Engineering Awards which are selected by a panel of independent industry designers, engineers and journalists.

The awards run the gamut from auto accessories, audio components, computer hardware and peripherals to eco design and sustainable technologies, health and wellness, integrated home systems, portable power and even video displays. We got to get close-up looks at some of the winners.

Lenovo ThinkPad USB Portable Secure Hard Drive:

Optimized for safeguarding essential data while on-the-go, the Lenovo ThinkPad USB Portable Secure Hard Drive offers high-level 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard security within a slim and easy-to-use design. You can plug it into any computer, but until you punch in your password your computer won't even know it's there.

HP TouchSmart Desktop PC:

It's a next-generation, touch-enabled all-in-one desktop PC that combines a 22-inch high-definition widescreen with a powerful energy efficient processor and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) TouchSmart software that is optimized for touch interactions. Actually using it is even cooler than it sounds.

Sony Cyber-Shot t700 Digital Camera:

The 10-megapixel camera acts like a portable photo album in your pocket with its 4GB of internal memory that can store nearly 1,000 full-resolution or 40,000 VGA photos. It comes in five pretty colors too.

4Home Energy:

It's a whole-home and device-level energy management solution, providing energy usage awareness, monitoring, and management, both locally and remotely, benefiting consumers and service providers worldwide.

Psyko Audio Labs 5.1 Headphones:

The headphones use what the company terms a "revolutionary directional audio technology" that accurately reproduces 3D surround sound. The technology reproduces the user's natural way of hearing to ensure accurate audio reproduction. I can't wait to hear these in a home setting.

Fitbit Tracker:

It's a tiny wearable "wellness-tracker". In conjunction with, it is a complete solution for a healthy lifestyle, enabling one to track calories, steps, sleep quality and more.

LG Electronics Steam Laundry Pair (SteamWasher with Allergiene Cycle and SteamDryer):

LG has unveiled a top-of-the-line steam laundry pair featuring an industry-first allergen-reducing cycle, enhanced performance, unique steam clothing care options and ultra-large capacity.

Samsung 46-inch Super Narrow Bezel LCD Digital Information Display:

The super narrow bezel panel for multi-screen applications opens new business opportunities for media providers, government agencies, financial institutions, and the transportation industry for advertising and command centers. In person, it's very, very cool.

LG Dare:

Featuring a 3.2 megapixel camera/camcorder and Schneider-Kreuznach certified lens, the LG Dare (VX9700) offers outstanding image quality. Edit images on the three-inch touch screen with handwriting recognition and tactile feedback.

In addition to the above, Meade Instruments ( MEAD) was proudly introducing its ETX-LS telescope. The built-in GPS finds where you are and the computer inside maps the skies. So within minutes, you just type in what you want to view and the telescope does the rest.

We also got to see an award-winning gaming controller and a multi-function remote controller from Logitech ( LOGI) and a handheld video projector (they're called pico projectors) from Samsung. We'll tell you more when the official announcements are announced.

( Photo gallery: 2009 Consumer Electronics Show)

Gary Krakow is's senior technology correspondent.