CES: Kooky Stuff Roundup!
The Consumer Electronics Show, which sprawls a sensory overload across two million square feet (that’s 35 football fields) this week in Las Vegas, can be a useful forecaster of the kinds of stuff we’ll (someday) bring into our lives and homes.
It can also be an electronic petri dish of the spectacularly weird. Connected forks, to scold you when you’re eating too much, or too fast. Brainwave-sensing headbands, to tell you when you’re in a bad mood. Sensors, to monitor everything from sun exposure to canine/feline psychology.
Consider this a curated assembly of the kooky at this year’s CES — starting with the combo LED light bulb and JBL Bluetooth speaker, from Sengled. Each $60 bulb screws into an ordinary lamp, then plays stereo sound from two built-in, three-watt speakers. A companion app controls the streaming while regulating the lighting.
Too busy to work out? Maybe you need the “tiny gym in your pocket,” called “WellShell,” from TAO Wellness. It’s a plastic, squeezable thing, about the size of a (computer) mouse, but more swoopy. Its purpose: To give you an isometric workout, no matter where you are. (A marketing video shows a woman on a plane, squeezing the thing with both hands, as it blurts out “Flex! Flex! Flex!”)
Inside each WellShell: A pressure sensor, accelerometer, heart rate sensor, GPS tracker, and gyroscope. No pricing yet; a tag of between $200-$300 is expected.
Yoo hoo, runners: Are your socks smart enough? New from Sensoria (tagline: “the garment is the computer!”), the socks use “novel textile sensors” to detect activity type and impact force. Data transmits through a “featherweight, detachable anklet,” over BlueTooth, to a companion app.
To trick out your smooth moves, Austin Powers-style, there’s the $270 Logbar ring. Slip it on, learn a few gestures, boom! The (decidedly chunky) ring turns on the TV, checks the weather, turns on the lights, uploads a photo, and so on. Great if you don’t mind looking like you’re plucking imaginary flies out of the air. One catch: The app has to be on and active for the ring to work.
Speaking of chunky: New this year is a big, plastic, waterproof bracelet, called “Child Angel.” With its built-in GPS, your kids will never lose you again!
Tired of scraping the gunk off your grill? This one’s for you: The Grillbot. Like a Roomba, for your grill! Each 30 minute cleaning cycle uses three “powerful electric motors” to de-gunk your BBQ. Comes in four colors for $130.
Lastly: H+ Technologies calls its invention “Magic Box.” We call it holographic TV, baby! Perfect for a CES. Invented by Masters graduates of the Centre for Digital Media, the Magic Box converts 2D content into holographic 3D, displayed inside the box. Bonus: You can use it to charge your phone and tablet, too.
This column originally appeared in the Platforms section of Multichannel News.