Sunday, 14 January 2018


The Weirdest Tech at CES 2018
By Michael Kan,
PCMag, 12 January 2018.

Do you want a smart saddle for your horse? How about a piece of robot luggage that'll literally follow you around?

This year's CES had a lot of tech you'll probably never need. Amid a sea of new products are smaller vendors and startups offering up gear in niche areas. Some of it can be pretty amusing; much of it is deeply weird. Here's some of the more curious gadgets we saw at the show.

1. Focus1


Attention, teachers: are kids dozing off in your class? A company called BrainCo has designed a headband that'll monitor their attention levels. It may seem a little silly (not to mention a privacy minefield), but the product can reportedly pinpoint which kids are failing to understand a lesson using electroencephalography (EEG). BrainCo is already selling the product to a distributor in China and plans to launch the Focus1 in the US later this year.

2. Spartan Underwear


Why is this man smiling? Because his undies are blocking radiation. Duh. In its marketing materials, Spartan does not mince words: "Protect your nuts from cellphone radiation!" Prices start at US$45.

3. E-Vone


When a loved one takes a tumble, these smart shoes will automatically send you an alert. The shoes are built with sensors, wireless connectivity, and a battery that can notify an emergency contact with the wearer's location. It's not just for the elderly, though; E-Vone says it can also be helpful for keeping tabs on construction workers or hikers who roam alone, for example.

E-Vone plans to launch the product first in France this September, before bringing it to the US and China. The company is developing a whole catalog of shoes, each of which might be priced at 100 Euros. Customers will then pay 20 Euros a month for the alert service.

4. CX-1 Luggage


A Chinese company called ForwardX has created a suitcase, the CX-1, that can wheel itself around - all on its own. Its camera can recognize your face, body, and clothes, which it uses, along with its four wheels, to tail you for a max speed of 7mph.

Having this product around will no doubt elicit some confused stares at the airport. But for interested buyers, the product is slated to go on sale in late March or April, first on Indiegogo. Pricing is still being determined.

5. Acute Angle PC


One company at CES is helping consumers get into the cryptocurrency craze with a Windows 10 PC that'll mine the company's own virtual currency while you're away. Triangle Technology says the PC can mine about 30 of its Acute Angle Coins (and only Acute Angle Coins) if allowed to run for the whole day. Currently, that amounts to about US$45. The Acute Angle PC itself runs an Intel Celeron N3450 quad-core chip and has 8GB of RAM. The product will cost US$600 and starts shipping in March.

6. The Singing Machine Studio


Too afraid to sing some karaoke? This karaoke machine is built with Auto-Tune, which will correct your pitch. Anyone who sings through it won't have to worry about sounding off key; the software inside will process your voice as you sing. It can also play HD karaoke videos and record your vocal performance. The Singing Machine Studio is slated to arrive this summer for US$199.



There's a new way to take phone calls from your phone or smartwatch. Sngl is a special wristband that'll vibrate the sound through your hand.

When a phone call comes in, simply place a finger over your ear. The wristband will vibrate the sound up your hand into your fingertip. PCMag tried it, and it does work, although the vibrated sound is a little faint.

The wristband can connect to a phone or smartwatch over Bluetooth, and comes with a microphone embedded inside so the caller can hear you. It's priced at US$249 and is launching in March.

8. iJump Saddle


This smart saddle is designed to help competitive horse riders train. It works a bit like a fitness band; the saddle tracks the animal's locomotion, in addition to its heart rate.

To get the most out of the saddle, riders will use a smartphone app to record themselves riding the horse. They then replay the footage with the data gathered by the saddle shown underneath.

The iJump is available in France, and will arrive in the US in a few months. Horse riders can lease one for about US$150 to US$200 a month. [Video]



Yes, there is now smart underwear. SKIIN is a line of undergarments that can track you heart rate, breathing, temperature, and more.

The apparel is built with tiny sensors and conductive yarn that feel the same as fabric. Once the wearer attaches a small low-power battery module onto the clothes, the technology will activate and begin collecting the stats.

SKIIN will be available this summer and it's catering to the health-conscious crowd. An 8-pack of undergarments will cost US$499. One battery module lasts for 24 hours.

10. Short Story Dispenser


Print is not dead, at least according to the Short Story Dispenser. With it, you choose between reading a short piece of fiction that can be finished in one, three, or five minutes. Each dispenser will randomly select from thousands of different stories; for PCMag, it printed out an amusing romance tale.

The company behind it, Short Edition, says the product offers a "literary break" in your day. It already has 20 dispensers in the US. Mainly businesses are buying the product to give customers a bit of culture or amusement while they wait in line.

11. YaDoggie Scooper


This smart dog food scooper is designed to tell your family when you've fed your pet, so you'll never worry about overfeeding. A green light on the scooper means go ahead, while a red light means Fido has had enough.

The product comes from dog food subscription service YaDoggie, which is developing an app to which the scooper can send alerts. It will be bundled into that subscription service at the end of the first quarter. For a 40-pound dog, the subscription service costs about US$50 a month.

12. Bellus3D Face Camera Pro


Bellus3D was at CES to show off its 3D face-scanning device, the Face Camera Pro, which is now in production. The US$499 device can be used "for applications such as digital makeup simulations, virtual eyeglass design, facial surgery before-and-after simulation, dental orthodontics modeling, and custom face mask designs for scuba, industrial masks, and CPAP," Bellus3D says. That's great, but check out those scans. #NightmareFuel

Top image: Spartan Underwear. Credit: Video screenshot Spartan/Vimeo.

[Source: PCMag. Top image and some links added.]

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