Offbeat home-based tech gadgets from the CES in Las Vegas

Browsing the cutting-edge products, gadgets, and appliances at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show felt like a surreal step into the future.

This year’s 56th annual CES, held last week in Las Vegas, Nevada, showcased 4 million square feet of technology for years and decades to come. This includes home robots and innovative foldable laptop-tablet hybrids that help keep (or keep) homes safe. to 97-inch “wireless” OLED TVs and smartwatches powered by artificial intelligence.

But for all the practical household items, 2023 CES also offered some ridiculously weird finds.Admittedly, some of the domestic technology of the future may be strange When wonderful at the same time.

Check out these quirky highlights from this year’s big show.

A dog communicator. Wouldn’t it be cool if your dog could send you a message?

A company called FluentPet showcased an upgraded FluentPet Connect communication system. This allows pet owners to program paw-sized push buttons with simple words such as “walk”, “water”, “outside” and “play” as examples.

Then, after training Fido (70% of dogs learn at least two words within a month, the company says), Furry Friend tapped one of the cavernous hexagonal tile buttons. Press one and you’ll get a notification. your phone.

(On average, dogs learn up to nine words with buttons, says FluentPet.)

This Wi-Fi connected gadget can also capture data accessed by your phone app, helping you track your pet’s progress and help data scientists improve the system if you opt in.

Fluent Connect is available for pre-order now for approximately $215 (US$160) and is expected to ship by February.

golden gadget. Withings, best known for its Wi-Fi bathroom scales, showcased the U-Scan sensor, a puck that sits inside the toilet bowl and analyzes urine.

Yes, this hands-free pee tester checks your nutritional and metabolic health, checking your pH, ketones, protein and vegetable balance, vitamin C levels and more. The second monitor is dedicated to reproductive information, focusing on the female luteinizing hormone for the ovulatory cycle.

CES is the Withings U-Scan — a palm-sized toilet pack that analyzes urine nutrition and ovulation information.

The data is relayed to your smartphone, where you can access the information with U-Scan’s companion app. The company says each sensor helps detect potential health problems early and can automatically detect differences between different individuals within a single household.

U-Scan will cost around $665 (US$500) when it releases later this year.

One cool refrigerator. The color-changing technology made headlines at this year’s show, and LG’s MoodUP refrigerator, which was first unveiled at his IFA exhibition in Berlin in September 2022, generated quite a bit of buzz at CES. rice field. His four giant LED panels on the refrigerator can display bright colors via the companion app.

In addition to matching (and changing) interiors to suit your kitchen, these 23 color options (totaling 190,000 combinations) have fun and practical applications. As the name suggests, it can be used to create a home party atmosphere. (And after all, the action is often in the kitchen). However, the refrigerator can also flash to let you know the door is slightly open.

A delicious addition: The MoodUP refrigerator also houses a large Bluetooth speaker for wirelessly playing audio from a nearby smartphone, tablet, or laptop. That’s right, colored panels also provide a light show and music.

Pricing and availability have not yet been announced.

Smell-o-vision for VR? View 360-degree content in virtual reality, listen to spatialized audio, and experience haptic feedback when you “touch” items in the VR world. So what’s next? It may smell.

OVR Technology, a Vermont-based startup focused on “digital scent technology,” has chosen CES to develop wearable cartridge-based scents optimized for virtual and augmented reality, mobile, and PC desktops. We launched ION 3, our solution.

Added OVR technology "digital scent" Technology to virtual reality experiences using ION 3 and replaceable cartridges that can emit scents based on what you see in the headset.

A device resembling an old-fashioned neck-worn headset (one arm outstretched and seated near your nostrils) connects via Bluetooth and emits perfume-like scents in various combinations to create “thousands” of can create unique scents. .

For example, imagine the scent of lavender while meditating in VR, or the smell of gun smoke during a first-person shooter game.

I distinctly remember seeing DigiScents’ iSmell demo at CES 2001. This computer accessory was pretty much the same idea as the ION 3, but the company folded before the product. released.

A “breathing” pillow. Finally, something strange, but perhaps strangely soothing, to help reduce anxiety and calm you down.

Yukai Engineering, a Japanese robotics company, showed off a soft pillow called Fufuri that “breathes” when you hug it.

such a pillow "I breathe?" Yukai Engineering's Fufuly is a smart pillow that "inhale" When "take a breath" (stretching), which helps relax the person you're hugging.

So the concept of a cushion subtly stretches to imply breathing in and out, transitioning from a normal ‘breathing’ state to a more relaxed one. Gentle rhythmic pulsations provide comfort and perhaps lull you to sleep.

Also at CES, Yokai Engineering demonstrated a cute humanoid bedside lamp robot called Lightony. This little head literally nods after a while. It is said to encourage humans to do the same. Lightony also responds to voice commands such as requesting a countdown from 100 or saying “good morning” to wake it up and turn it on.

Marc Saltzman is based in Toronto and covers consumer technology trends. He is a star freelance contributor. Follow him on Twitter. @marc_saltzman

chameleon car

If you can’t decide which color car to buy, BMW may have a solution for you.

BMW attended 2023 CES with the BMW i Vision Dee (“Digital Emotional Experience”) concept car that can switch between 32 shades. The midsize sedan utilizes e-ink exteriors in much the same way e-reader screens do, but with panels that let you quickly switch colors on the fly, mix and match them, and change the look of wheels and grilles. You can change it.

Ah "close the front door" Moments: BMW i Vision D ("digital emotional experience") concept car showed up in Las Vegas and was able to switch between 32 colors.

(At least that year at CES, BMW’s iX Flow concept car could oscillate between black, white, and grey.)

The i Vision Dee also has BMW’s latest HUD (heads-up display) that covers the entire windshield, giving drivers access to information, communications, augmented reality projections and what they call a ‘virtual world’. , little is revealed about it. that.

This technology could be commercially available as early as 2025.

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