The 10 Weirdest Gadgets Of CES 2019
There was a phrase I kept hearing when at Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show a couple years ago - a lot of people referring to the event as “Weird CES.”
CES has been the hotbed of technological innovation for over 50 years, with much of what becomes commonplace in the world today being shown as a concept a few years before on this show floor.
And for every winner, there is a fair few bizarre concepts that will leave you with a bamboozled look on your face and a whole lot of questions.
1. Sony GTK-PG10 - The Beer Pong Speaker
Weird Sony is the best Sony. Take a look at their gadget history books and you’ll see a whole host of baffling form factors and odd product category choices.
But this…this is a new one that took me by surprise. Behold, what I will call the Beer Pong Speaker from now on - an outdoor party speaker with a water resistant tabletop and cup holders.
Just when you think your portable audio prayers have been answered, look what comes along!
Ever felt brushing your teeth was too much of a chore? Well then, dear stroppy child who’s trying to stave off going to bed before 9pm, allow me to introduce you to the Y-Brush… No, it’s not a mouthguard for full-contact sports.
From French company FasTeesh, this can effectively clean your teeth in 10 seconds. Each tray is lined with nylon bristles positioned at particular angles for effective brushing.
Pretty fascinating, but also just a weird concept.
Train your brain to sleep better with this weird head band that, I’ll be honest, doesn’t look that comfortable to wear, specifically for brain training.
Sleep tech is a growing category, and I’m all for anything that helps improve a good night’s kip - which this has all the tech to do, providing electroencephalogram therapy in three 20-minute sessions per week.
But this is a bit of a weird answer to this question of sleep technology, with more direct interpretations like sleep-tracking beds making way more sense.
4. Hyundai Elevate Walking Car
Korean car company Hyundai was one of a few manufacturers to have a presence at CES - which in turn has transformed this gadget show into one of transportation.
And while you’re sure to see plenty of cars that follow normal design language tropes, weird CES also extends to four wheels…or articulated robotic legs in the case of the Elevate.
Planned for emergency service usage, the four legs of this car can act as both wheels and individual legs for traversing tricky territory, such as climbing over a 5ft wall or stepping over a 5ft gap. Certainly an oddity, but a nice glimpse into the future.
5. PiBo - The Social Robot
Looking for a pet robot? You’ve got a weird answer in the form of PiBo, a pet robot from Korean company Circulus.
Kind of like a reverse Furby, PiBo will learn about you through communicating with users and figuring out your tastes/interests.
The AI powering it is so sophisticated that it can even understand the same word has different meanings in different situations. After asking a user what it means when the word is used with a different inflection, it realises and adapts.
Look forward to seeing a lot more from PiBo in the future.
We all love cuddly robots. I got to meet one - Buddy - a couple years ago. One of my favourites of this year has to be Lovot, made to “nurture people’s capacity to love.”
This companion robot has received a whole lot of love from the wider community, as this fuzzy robot is deliberate in getting in your way and creating emotional attachment.
The tech behind this weird little creature is also insanely good - 50 sensors across the body, a microphone and three cameras giving it a 180-degree map of the room, along with the AI capability to recognise up to 1,000 people.
This one is a simple one to describe - everyone hates folding clothes. The Foldimate is here to take the pain of this chore out of your life. Put clothes in and five seconds later, the machine throws them out, perfectly folded.
Get through all your washing in about five minutes, which for a price of around £770 requires someone who is at the peak of their aspirations for laziness, along with possessing plenty of money to burn.
8. Mui Smart Display
Just because it’s “weird CES” doesn’t mean it can’t be one of the coolest things I’ve seen.
So, why is a plank of wood one of my favourite finds of the year? On the surface, it’s a rather simple display that outputs info.
But with a touch-sensitive surface, Google Assistant built in and a whole host of integrations (control your thermostat or light dimmer using the surface, have it show voice assistant responses in text, and much more), it’s usefulness far outweighs the minimal look & feel.
Okay, so it turns out a lot of us play on smartphones when on the toilet. And further to that, we have a bad habit of being clumsy - dropping said phones into the bowl or floor.
The fix? Something you’d see bounced out of Dragon’s Den rather quickly - the StallMate is essentially just a phone stand/toilet door lock combo.
But I do have some concerns… What if the distance from the toilet to the toilet door is too far to actually do anything on your phone? Can they just do the stand? A weird invention here.
10. Kohler Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet
Speaking of bathroom breaks…
Toilet time has changed over the decades - from being a simple porcelain transaction with a magazine, to a far more complex entertainment experience with your smartphone (maybe complimented by a StallMate).
And now, for the hefty price of £5,500, you can take things to the next generation with this Intelligent toilet.
Amazon Alexa enabled with high quality speakers and a heated seat, plus ambient lighting to set the mood. It’s a one-of-a-kind luxury lavatory that is the absolute definition of “weird CES.”