Over the years, the Consumer Electronics Show has witnessed the introduction of many groundbreaking technologies alongside a flurry of absurdly pointless gadgets that just make us go, “huh?”
Every year, CES feels like it’s divided into two tiers. On one hand, there are the mammoth announcements of new industry standards and the introduction of novel technology in mainstream appliances. And behind that there’s the gadget circus, where enterprises big and small present their creations and compete for a place in the limelight.
More often than not, these inventions are too kooky or underbaked to be taken seriously. Here are 10 weird, wacky or downright useless gadgets that showed up at this year’s CES.
Kitoki breathing device
The premise behind this invention actually makes some sense. Normally, people resort to cigarettes or vapes when they’re stressed out. The contradiction there is that moments of high stress and anxiety are precisely the times you need fresh air in your lungs.
To remedy that, a Japanese business has devised Kitoki, a wooden egg with a sippy cup tip. Lost your job? Your spouse is leaving you for your best friend? Your pet morphed into a gremlin? Just grab your Kitoki wooden egg and blow some air into it. The egg will buzz when it “detects” that you’re relaxed. Yep. And that’s about it.
Did I mention, this costs around $100?
The Qoobo is a furry robotic pillow resembling some kind of dead Pókemon and its sole function is to wag its tail when you stroke it. Development was funded through a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 and the product is now ready for commercialisation. It retails for $200 and is available in two colours, “Husky Gray” and “French Brown”.
Self-described as “the 1st open platform designed to deliver a digital detox and change users sleeping habits,” Seraphin basically turns your phone into a night lamp. The app plays soft music and provides detailed stats of your sleep activity for you to… analyse.
Ovis smart suitcase
AI company ForwardX has received both mockery and praise for Ovis, a suitcase that basically follows you around like a dog.
This curious suitcase uses a series of sensors to detect and follow its owner while avoiding obstacles and other humans. This thing is programmed to never lose sight of its “master” and, most impressively, has a “manual mode” which allows the user to grab the handle and carry it. Mind-blowing, isn’t it?
Ovis also comes with a smart wristband that vibrates when it’s more than 2m away. If you’re tempted, it will be available during the first half of 2019 for around $1100.
Mookkie is a smart pet bowl with face recognition. No, really. It works with both cats and dogs and is programmed to visually recognise your pet so nobody else can eat from the bowl. Tired of your roommates stealing your cat’s succulent canned turkey & chicken? No problem! Mookkie only opens the dispenser when it correctly identifies your pet.
Mookkie will be available from September 2019 with a retail price of $260.
Somnox sleep robot
Marketed as “the world’s first sleep robot”, the Somnox is a pillow-bot designed to help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling refreshed.
Simply get into bed, hug this thing and it will synchronise to your breathing. The Somnox plays guided meditation, lullabies or audiobooks to help you get to sleep and is currently available for pre-order for around $970.
Giiro posture coach
Giiro is a little robot that serves as a personal posture coach for those who like to use standing desks. The little fellow has 600 sensors to accurately monitor the user’s posture; it also reminds you to stretch and pairs with an app that delivers detailed stats of your “posture performance” throughout the day. It even has Alexa built in so you can control your smart home devices. The Giiro retails at around $350.
Monit smart diaper sensor
Because we all know poop is practically undetectable, this gadget uses state-of-the-art sensors and artificial intelligence to tell parents that, yeah, that it’s time to change the nappy.
Parents rejoice! With Monit, not only will you get the cries of the baby and the unbearable smell, but also an alarm on your smartphone to remind you of it all. Isn’t technology cool?
Osé robotic massager
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We won a CES Innovation Award for Robotics and Drones – then they took it back (link in bio). Why is CES threatened by empowered women and the products that empower them? #CESGenderBias . . . . Thx to @rebellious.pr for all the love and content! #linkinbio #cessomale #womenintech #womenofsextech #sextech #innovation #engineering #robotics #genderbias #sexism #everydaysexism #misogyny #sexpositive #nonbinary #loveislove #sex #vagina #vulva #feminism #sexeducation #sexpositive #sextoys #girlboss #females #femaleceo #femaleboss #girl #girlpower #girlsrule #girlsquad @ces
“Osé uses advanced micro-robotics to mimic all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue, and fingers, for an experience that feels just like a real partner.”
Startup Lora Dicarlo has developed a high tech sex toy for women that stimulates both the clitoris and the G-spot to produce hands-free blended orgasms. This sleek device was granted the CES innovation award by their panel of experts, but the Consumer Technology Association – which runs CES – reversed the decision, stating they had included the gadget by mistake and are entitled to withdraw any immoral or obscene entry at any time under their rules.
Of course, the move has proved to be highly controversial and the startup has protested the decision in an open letter, slamming the organisation for having a gender bias.