CES is home to some of the hottest gadgets of the year, but there’s also a fair amount of weird and wonderful tech that graces the show floor.
Tripping over terrifying humanoid robots and Alexa-equipped coffee cups is all part of the CES experience, but which were the ones that furrowed our collective brow and had us asking ‘but why’?
We’ve picked 11 of the weirdest and most wonderful. Which one’s your favourite?
In this fast-paced, 24/7 world, sometimes the only place where you can get a quiet five minutes to yourself is on the throne, so you might as well make sure it’s as luxurious as possible.
Kohler’s high-end Numi toilets have been around for a few years but this latest version can be voice controlled, opens and closes automatically as your approach and even pre-heats the seat exactly to your liking.
If you’ve got one of Kohler’s Verdera mirrors you can even hook it up to your Amazon Echo, so you can ask Alexa to play encouraging music through the Numi’s built-in speaker while you make the necessary deposits.
While there’s no doubting the tech that’s gone into Kuri, it’s impossible to shake the feeling that this little domestic robot is a little bit creepy.
It all looks innocent enough on the website: Kuri will play music and podcasts for you; Kuri will listen as your kids read the same story to it for the thousandth time; Kuri will welcome you home from work every day.
But Kuri will also make videos of you arguing over how to load the dishwasher properly; Kuri will silently watch as you get undressed for bed; and Kuri will stand expressionless at the top of the stairs while you lay at the bottom in a pool of your own blood (maybe).
Didn’t manage to get a video of that though, did you, Kuri? How convenient.
There’s an episode in the latest series of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror in which a self-driving pizza delivery vehicle is involved in an unfortunate accident.
We’re not saying Toyota’s engineers have been spending too much time watching Netflix and not enough designing the future of takeaways but the e-Palette does look remarkably familiar.
The company’s vision has the prototype autonomous pod functioning as everything from a mobile hotel to an Italian restaurant on wheels. Whatever it ends up being, let’s hope Mr Brooker’s show doesn’t turn out to be too prescient.
Some people will seemingly try anything in an attempt to lose weight (except eat healthily and do some exercise, that is) so if you know someone with more money than will power, point them in the direction of Modius‘s slightly scary looking head gear.
The device uses electrical pulses to stimulate a part of the brain that researchers reckon decreases appetite and helps to reduce body fat. Modius says that you should notice a difference by wearing it for just an hour a day.
Not everybody is convinced by these claims, with sceptics pointing out that the company’s research isn’t thorough enough, but it doesn’t prove that it doesn’t work either. Anything to help us stop eating all these cakes…
No matter how cherished your friendships are, your mates aren’t planning on dropping by to fold your clothes.
That’s where the FoldiMate comes in – the rather hefty machine that’s capable of neatly folding 20-40 items in less than 5 minutes. It’ll even chew up and spit out pristinely presented bed sheets. Your folding days are over, right?
Now, there are a few creases we should iron out. Firstly, it’s the size of a photocopier and just as unsightly. Secondly, it’s not expected to be on sale until the end of 2019. And most importantly, it’s inept when it comes to socks and your unmentionables.
As unexpected announcements go, Kodak creating its own Bitcoin-style cryptocurrency is up there with Red Bull launching a range of sleeping pills (which, just to be clear, it hasn’t done).
The idea behind KodakCoin is that it’ll be used to reimburse photographers who’ve had their images stolen, with accompanying software trawling the web for offending snaps, although experts doubt the effectiveness of the scheme.
The photographic company has also created its own Bitcoin mining rigs, which look a bit like the traps Venkman and co used to catch ghouls in the original Ghostbusters movie, and will make them available to rent for far less than mining at home would cost.
What’s next, Kodak? Sunglasses for dogs?
Image credit: @chrisbhoffman
Phone case with a selfie light not enough for you? How about one that doubles as a selfie-snapping drone?
AEE’s Selfly uses a built-in camera rather than the one on your phone (you need that to fly it with) and can shoot stills or 1080p/60fps video.
Four flip-out propellers help it hover for up to four minutes, although if you’ve remembered to bring the second battery you can double that if you’re struggling to nail the perfect shot.
Of course, if the drone’s taking the picture of you it’s technically no longer a selfie but let’s not get into that.
A kidney-shaped cushion that breathes might sound like an idea from the first draft of A Nightmare on Elm Street but that’s exactly what Somnox’s sleep robot is.
The idea is that you cuddle it when you go to bed and the rhythm of your breathing will eventually match that of the robot and make it easier to drift off. It’ll even play lullabies, white noise or audiobooks to help.
There’s science to back all that up but we can’t help but think it’ll lead to strange dreams about your bed clothes and soft furnishings ganging up and trying to suffocate you. Best not load it up with Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’, then.
Do drunken nights out often leave you lying on the pavement cursing the lack of a wearable airbag to cushion your co-ordination issues? The Hip’Air is here to save you.
We’re being terribly facetious of course – this belt full of air is actually a solution to quite a serious problem. Particularly for the elderly, falls can be fatal and Hip’Air claims that its product will take 90% of the impact after a tumble.
It’ll go on sale in Europe in spring for €600 and has a battery life of up to a week, so you can wear it all the time in blissful peace that your hips are protected from any fall. Should you not fall that week, well, you’ve been wearing that ridiculous thing for nothing.
L’Oreal UV Sense
There are two ways to avoid sunburn: use your eyes and an app like Wolfram Sun Exposure to make sure you’re on top of the Factor 50, or get this little fingernail-based sensor to do the work for you.
Okay, it won’t summon a nearby robot to come and slap the suncreen on your shoulders, but the battery-free sensor tells its companion app when you should start seeking shade to avoid the famous lobster incident of Tenerife ’06.
It’s a bit of a bizarre thing to stick on your nail, but your skin will appreciate you spending money on derma-tech rather than another PS4 game. It’ll be about for Summer 2018 and will apparently cost under $50.
Spartan anti-radiation boxers
Most pairs of pants only have one job: to protect innocent bystanders from a glimpse of your family jewels – but Spartan’s high-tech boxers want to ensure the survival of the human race.
The company behind them thinks keeping your phone in your pocket could be impacting male fertility, so these budgie smugglers are made with 35% silver fibres woven into the fabric, creating a wearable Faraday cage that blocks 99% of mobile and Wi-Fi signals.
Good news for your little swimmers, but bad news for anyone who likes making phone calls with their pants on their head.