The International CES, a sensory overload sprawling across 2 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, maybe) bring into our lives.
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. It hasn’t been priced, but a tag of $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 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. It’s like a Roomba, for your grill! Each 30-minute cleaning cycle uses three “powerful electric motors” to get the gunk off your grill. It comes in four colors and is priced at $130 a piece.
Lastly: H+ Technologies calls its invention “Magic Box.” We call it holographic TV, baby! Perfect for a CES. Invented by master’s graduates of the Centre for Digital Media, the Magic Box converts 2D content into a 3D hologram displayed inside the box. Bonus: You can use it to charge your phone and tablet, too.