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Welcome to the tech industry's 2022 kickoff
CES: The tech industry’s chance to show its greatest new products, demonstrate its latest promising innovations, take the pulse of the entire tech world … and see what sort of mad science is going on at the extremities.
No visit to CES, virtual or otherwise, would be complete without a [virtual] ramble through the exhibit halls to find tech products that will change the world, and those that you’ll probably never hear about again.
Not all of the 15 CES innovations featured here fall into the latter category: Some are practical, if not a bit odd. Others, like many CES innovations before them, fail to really address the need they’re designed to in a practical manner. That, or they are utterly and completely pointless.
Signing off on documents, verifying deliveries, and making purchases are just some of the instances in which we need to verify our identities and securely indicate that we are who we say we are. The move to digital documents has made identity verification a much more important topic than it used to be, and BYSTAMP thinks it has the solution in the form of a digital stamp called KEYMO.
As mentioned above, new tech needs to be seamless to be practically usable, but what the KEYMO amounts to is having to add a screwdriver handle to your everyday carry so that you can digitally stamp documents. There has to be a better way, and there is: Passcodes, biometrics, and other technology that doesn’t add another piece of physical hardware that can get lost or otherwise makes identity verification more cumbersome.
Tenminds Motion Pillow
If you’ve ever slept next to, or in an adjacent room to, a snorer you know how horrible it can be. What if, instead of your having to constantly poke a snoring person or pound on your shared wall, their pillow could roll them over for you?
The Motion Pillow from Tenminds does just that. It’s filled with several small airbags that inflate and deflate when an accompanying unit detects snoring. The pillow changes shape to move the snorer’s head into a snore-free position, and will keep doing it whenever said snorer heads back to the lumber yard.
Kohler PerfectFill bathtub technology
Here’s a question for you: Have you ever reached over to turn on your bathtub faucet and thought, “This is way too much work?” If so, Kohler’s PerfectFill bathtub technology is the tech for you.
PerfectFill is a system being demoed by Kohler that promises to fill a bathtub to the perfect temperature “all without lifting a finger,” which is fantastic for those with mobility issues. Marketing it as a luxury that helps contribute to “ultimate relaxation”? I think most of us can still relax if we have to turn the faucet first.
Tired of the Peloton users in your life telling you how amazing it is? Take that sort of product ecosystem and translate it to a vertical climbing machine, and you have CLMBR.
I’m not going to knock stationary exercise equipment: I have a folding stationary bike that’s great for lousy weather days when I can’t run. CLMBR is anything but conveniently sized, though: It doesn’t have a large footprint, but is over seven feet tall. Move it out of the way and it’s still a black metal giant looming over the room it’s in.
It was only a matter of time before the Roomba evolved again. It’s already taken a new shape as an autonomous lawn mower, and now a new variant has emerged in the form of the Snowbot, a fully autonomous snow blower that can handle up to 12 inches of snow.
Snowbot can be programmed using an app, and users set its coverage area using a series of four beacons that have to be set up to indicate boundaries. In addition, Snowbot can be controlled via remote, which could be a lot of fun in the dead of winter.
AMAGAMI HAM HAM
Japanese company Yukai Engineering has brought several strange products to CES over the years, but its latest product takes the cake. Called Ham Ham, the product comes as either a kitten or Shiba Inu dog that gently nibbles on your finger when it’s inserted into its mouth.
Why, you may ask? There’s no better explanation than the one given on AMAGAMI HAM HAM’s website: “The charming gesture where pets and babies gently nibble your finger with their small teeth. Sadly, you need to harden your heart and scold them for this act. AMAGAMI HAM HAM frees all humanity from such dilemmas.”
So go on, enjoy the gentle nibble of an adorable animatronic cat or dog on your finger. It’s weird, but it’s really cute, too.
Smart security systems are pretty cool, but all of them lack the ability to smoke intruders out of your home like a gopher under a golf green. The Essence MyShield doesn’t lack that ability, nor does it lack a camera and two-way microphone/speaker so you can yell at intruders as you unleash the MyShield’s smokescreen on them, which can reportedly fill a room in less than 30 seconds. The smoke is harmless, so leave your supervillain dreams at the door to your MyShielded room.
PitPat weighing bowl
It’s important to keep your pet’s food balanced: Too much and a dog can get overweight, too little and it’s going to be undernourished.
For the most part, feeding a dog is simple: Just measure out a couple cups of food in the morning and evening and they’re happy. If you go to greater lengths, such as weighing your dog’s food to ensure meticulously balanced nutrition, PitPat thinks you should buy its dog bowl with a built-in scale.
Or you could just use a kitchen scale, which you probably already own.
The Mutalk, from Shiftall, is on its face a good concept: It’s a Bluetooth microphone for use in VR and the metaverse that blocks outside noise from leaking into virtual worlds. Where it gets weird is in its application.
Toto, in talking about its smart toilet, said that good tech seamlessly integrates into your life without disrupting your other activities. Mutalk looks like it’s anything but seamless.
Shiftall also displayed a new minimal VR headset and a heating/cooling vest for VR, but the Mutalk is the only product that it doesn’t show being worn, and probably for good reason: Pairing it with an Oculus Quest 2 would look weird, at best.
Moving in VR can be tricky, especially in limited spaces. But what if your feet had controllers on them?
That’s the problem JP Technology Initiatives, Inc. wants to solve with its Foottroller, a surprisingly hard-to-say name that, when paired with a VR headset and Mutalk, will help users cut quite the futuristic cyberpunk figure.
Toto Wellness Toilet
Chances are good that you’ve heard of, and sat on, Toto toilets. Toto knows that, which is why it has decided to leverage brand recognition and ubiquity to go straight to the source to get a report on your health.
The Toto Wellness Toilet, while still a concept, is designed to read … everything … that goes into its smart bowl, collect data on it, and report it to a smartphone app, which in turn generates notifications that recommend adjustments to diet and provide other health metrics.
It’s a neat concept, and the metrics it can provide to people with health conditions, if accurate, would be a huge boon to remote medicine. Still, it’s yet another case of the tech industry turning satire into reality, which bears a mention on that aspect alone.
Remember books? For that matter, remember sheets of paper, magazines, postcards and every other surface we read things on? They’re all square, oddly enough, which meant that the obvious form factor for a smartphone, which you hold in your hand and read things on, would be a square or rectangle.
Do you want a circular Android phone? If so, one exists in the form of the Cyrcle Phone, which you can see at CES, and preorder now.
Enhance Automotive S3XY buttons
Tesla CEO Elon Musk named the first four Tesla models S, 3, X and Y with his tongue firmly in his cheek, and this set of sticky buttons designed to be attached to a Tesla are named using the same humorous convention.
The buttons can be individually attached to a Tesla and customized via an app to do lots of different stuff that a Tesla’s built-in interface can do — think of them as shortcut buttons.
One example — no kidding — is setting one of the buttons to open the glove box with a touch instead of having to navigate through a menu to do it.
We really are living in the future.
IL Science FOLLINIC
Welcome to the year 2022, where people are still trying to figure out how to use technology to regrow hair. Korean company IL Science has created the FOLLINIC, which it said restores hair loss by “stimulating hair follicles with microcurrent and 4-wave LEDs to restore the biorhythms of the tired scalp.”
FOLLINIC also includes a scalp camera that it said can “measure hair and scalp conditions” in order to make recommendations for proper shampoos and other hair care products. Whether or not it works is up in the air, but humans have been looking for miracle hair loss cures for centuries, and nothing’s been the right ticket to lush locks yet.