The Wacky Side of CES

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Along with the new crop of Internet-connected TVs, tablets and other gadgets expected to debut at CES next month, there’s the usual hodge-podge of weird and interesting doohickeys designed to, um, stand out from the crowd.

Here’s a sampling of odd product announcements that have popped up in my inbox the last few weeks:

* Meet Karotz, a $130 “multipurpose Internet-connected rabbit.” Yeah: a rabbit. The robotic PC attachment employs voice recognition to let users sort email, read Facebook and Twitter updates, facilitate live chats, and play music, among other things. “Karotz speaks, sees, listens, obeys and wiggles his ears! He is ready to do anything to serve and entertain you!” the company promises. Possibly the perfect gift for fans of Jimmy Stewart’s performance in Harvey.

* The BabyPing is a Wi-Fi video baby monitor for use with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices “designed for the modern parents who insist on privacy but want all the conveniences of their existing technology,” slated to be available in the spring of 2012, according to the company. But guess what? It’s actually not as cool (or weird) as Exmovere Holding’s Exmobabywireless baby pajama attachment.

* Basis will demo a “personalized Web dashboard” for its wrist-based heart and health monitoring device that will let users analyze heart rate, activity levels and sleep quality. A key advantage of the Basis device versus competing products, according to the company, is that it “automatically detects when you’re sleeping and when you’re active.” A little too high on the spooky meter?

Id America will introduce “Spark” earbuds available in nine different colors modeled after — yes — a spark plug. That’s after the company “had so much success with the Gasket iPhone case (modeled after a car engine gasket),” according to their PR firm. Vrooom!

iDevices — the same folks who brought you the iGrill Bluetooth meat thermometer — will debut iShower, a water-resistant, Bluetooth-enabled speaker that plays music from Apple and Android devices. Looks like there might be a fight over the name: There appear to be at least threeotherwireless speaker products also advertised as “iShower.”

* Newer Technology has announced the iSesamo, a $9.99 tool for prying open electronic devices such as iPhones, iPads and BlackBerrys. (Not necessarily CES-related, but heck, isn’t a crowbar for mobile gadgets worth a mention here?)

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