Of the 3,600 exhibitors at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas there were bound to be a few eccentric inventions, as there are every year. Especially as this year there were more start-ups presenting – 500 companies – than ever before.
Here are our highlights of the gadgets and innovations you can chuckle at, deride, or possibly lust after depending on your inclination.
A robot that watches you sleep
(Credit: Associated Press)
George Orwell would be up in arms at this one. Not brushed your teeth for the recommended 2 minutes? The Mother robotic sensor hub will know about it.
Mother, a skittle-shaped smart sensor hub with a disconcerting smiley face can also watch over you when you sleep and let you know when you’ve had a disturbed night. It can remind you when you haven’t taken the pills you need, and tell you off if you haven’t walked off that sneaky piece of chocolate cake. Its creators say ‘it makes any household object smart’.
How does it work? Once you’ve placed a Mother sensor on the item you want to monitor, Mother tracks its movements and sends notifications, alerts or reminders as appropriate. That’s Mother for you
The toilet you only need to clean once a year
Everyone’s least favourite bathroom cleaning task could soon be an annual event if Japanese company Toto have anything to do with it.
The advanced technology used in their latest Neorest self-cleaning toilet means you don’t have to clean the toilet bowl for over a year, according to a spokesperson. However ‘Bowl’ is the operative word here. The bowl in the prototype is automatically kept hygienically clean for a considerable length of time but any other part of the toilet is not. At a mere £6,704 that’s one expensive annual clean.
How does it work? The flush sprays the bowl with electrolysed water – a combination of a special chemical glaze and disinfectant – which coats the bowl with a bleach solution. A UV light in the lid charges the water making it capable of breaking down viruses and bacteria.
The machine that brews your own beer
This is less weird tech and more a beer lover’s dream tech. A machine small enough to fit on your kitchen worktop which brews your own beer with the touch of a button. You’ll be able to work your way through more than 100 Pico beer recipes. Similar to a coffee machine, you load pre-made beer packs into the PicoBrew machine and in only a few days, you’ll be saying ‘cheers!’ to your own homemade craft beer tipple.
How does it work? Insert a PicoPak – a pre-packaged box of grain and hops – into the machine and connect a mini-keg filled with water. The machine’s internal scanner will read the PicoPak’s barcode to download the correct PicoBrew recipe. It’ll then start fermenting unless you want to adjust the automatic settings so your beer is more or less alcoholic or bitter.
The helmet that aims to make your hair grow back
If you’re follically challenged, the iGrow headset could be for you. If you’re not, you’ll look like you’re wearing a boxy bike helmet on your head with a weird red glow around your eyes. It’s not one you’ll be wearing down the pub but if you’re longing for the lush hair of your youth this one’s for you. The manufacturers Apira Science are so confident in its effectiveness that they’re offering a 6 month money-back guarantee.
How does it work? iGrow uses low-level light therapy to encourage hair follicles to regrow. A combination of laser diodes and LEDs create an optimum follicle stimulation wavelength. It’s approved by the American Food and Drug Administration for over-the-counter sales.
The fitness tracker for your dog
Ever wondered what your dog gets up to in the garden when you leave him for a few hours? Is the reason Bruno’s putting weight on more to do with him being lazy rather than him over-eating?
With PitPat you can collect evidence of what your dog gets up to you when you’re not with him. There are more than 200 breeds with optimum stats for each one to benchmark against. To keep tabs on your pooch costs around £40.
How does it work? Simply clip it on to your dog’s collar. Then PitPat monitors how your dog exercises and compares the results with recommendations for your dog’s age and breed to suggest exercise guidelines. You can then set goals so there’s no more hiding under the bed for any mountainous mutts.
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