Fitness trackers

Space homes, pet fitness trackers and creepy sweet robots: The weirdest and best tech at CES 2022

The world’s largest consumer electronics show known as CES is looking odd this year, with far fewer attendees in the Las Vegas conference rooms where consumer tech companies showcase their latest and greatest almost every day. month of January.

However, one thing has remained the same: companies are delighting us, confusing us and angering us with their ideas of what the technology of the future might look like. Autonomous John Deere tractors? To verify. A smart home for cats? Absoutely. Dozens of presentations on the metaverse, a place we would like to visit if we could figure out what and where it is? You bet.

Some industry plans raise eyebrows. Others – like what we’d say are the first-ever non-ridiculous augmented reality glasses – are worth getting excited about. Here are some of the best, worst, and weirdest products CES had to offer.

Dress for the Metaverse

The age of the metaverse is almost upon us. But what’s the point of hanging out with people in a sprawling, interconnected virtual space if you can’t feel the “world” around you?

That’s where Owo’s smart – and sometimes painful – clothing comes into play.

Each of the Spanish company’s form-fitting vests are fitted with electrodes in 10 places on your torso and arms, all controlled by an app running on your phone. Why electrodes? Obviously, to stimulate your muscles to simulate the feeling of falling through the air, bugs buzzing on your back, and, uh, being stabbed.

AR glasses that (almost) look good

If you come to CES looking for portable displays, you will never leave dissatisfied. But if your goal has been to find one that doesn’t make you look at least a little silly, that’s another story. A prototype developed by TCL could do the trick.

Unlike its previous wearable displays, TCL’s latest face computer uses what it calls holographic waveguide technology to display an image in front of your eyes without anyone else seeing it. And because the lenses built into these goggles are almost completely transparent, we’re left with a pair of augmented reality specs you can wear all the time. Even better, they actually look like something you might want to wear.

But what is a laptop like this actually supposed to do? The prototype software we saw was far from complete, but it did mention the ability to control phone calls, view photos, and even display text on a virtual teleprompter.

Down the road, however, TCL hopes this headset — or a descendant of it since this one runs on a chip intended for smartwatches — will become sophisticated enough to offer step-by-step instructions and display multiple virtual screens without shutting you down. rest of the world. It’ll probably be years before the company cracks the code, but hey, at least it’s getting noticed.

space house

Some CES presenters look forward to when people will live in fully connected homes. Sierra Space thinks of when people live in giant bouncy houses on the moon.

In addition to a space plane called Dream Chaser, the company presents a scaled-down version of a large inflatable space house named LIFE Habitat. LIFE arrives in space folded inside a launch vehicle, then expands to three full floors – enough living space for four astronauts, scientists, filmmakers or even tourists, according to the company.

A fitness tracker… for cats

At least according to companies selling biometric devices for pets, including Korean brand PurrSong, which showed off a fitness tracker for customers of the feline variety called LavvieTAG at CES this year. It’s part of a suite of connected products from the company, which bills itself as an IoT-enabled “lifestyle design” for cats.

You might be tempted to scoff at owners who turn to artificial intelligence to monitor how often cats fall asleep or go to the bathroom (PurrSong also sells a product for this). But not so fast: Biometric scanning can be a valuable preventative measure to help the pets we love live longer and healthier lives, says Amélie Caudron, CEO of French company Invoxia, which presented a collar for AI-powered dog at this year’s CES.

“The place of the animal in the family is changing,” explains Caudron. “It’s no longer a dog-master relationship. We consider ourselves as parents and our dogs as a member of the family.

Hungry and happy robot

True comfort is priceless, and for some people, that kind of peace only comes when pets or babies gnaw on them gently. If that’s you, a small Japanese product might just be the best impulse buy of your life.

Amagami Ham Ham may look like a small toy cat or dog, but his robotic innards mean he can give you a light bite when you need a little comfort – all you have to do is put on your finger in his mouth. And since there’s nothing worse than meaningless chewing, Amagami Ham Ham relies on a set of HAMgorithms to make sure his munching patterns don’t get too repetitive.

At this point, you might be wondering why Amagami Ham Ham even exists. For the creator and CEO of Yukai Engineering, Shunsuke Aoki, the answer is simple: it’s about giving people moments of happiness when they need it. That same desire inspired the company’s latest blockbuster product, a robotic cat butt named Qoobo, and that’s exactly the kind of mission we can achieve.

Aoki hopes to launch Amagami Ham Ham in a crowdfunding campaign in a few months, and assuming that succeeds, he aims to sell the robot in Japan and overseas for the equivalent of around $30.

A robot that probably bothers you

Humanoid robots become more realistic, but only compared to their predecessors.

Just take the Ameca robot from Engineered Arts, a life-size metal and plastic robot that blinks, shrugs and grimaces like you and me – if you and I were human facsimiles on stilts.

Companies that purchase an Ameca model can place it at events and trade shows to welcome attendees and “build an instant rapport with anyone,” its creator’s website claims. A video from Engineered Arts shows Ameca performing hand and face gestures that are indeed natural-looking, though noticeably slow. The company is careful to describe the robot as “non-threatening”, although the threat level is in the eye of the beholder.

And Engineered Arts isn’t the only company peddling human lookalikes at CES. DeepBrain AI introduces its new software called AI Studios: just input a video script and the program will instantly generate a deepfake human to run that script. YouTubers, corporate trainers and news anchors beware (maybe).

An air purifier and a mix of headphones

Wearable tech is almost unavoidable at CES, and that’s especially true when you stroll through the start-up wonderland that is Eureka Hall. This is where we found Ible, a Taiwanese company that created a very specific type of wearable.

The Airvida E1 is, at its core, a negative ion air purifier that goes around your neck. (It’s not all that new; the company has released a handful of similar devices over the years.) But since it’s 2022 and we still need a quick way to avoid interacting with other devices. ‘other people, this new model has a set of built-in noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones. Like similar air purifiers, the Airvida is designed to help you breathe easier when pollen or smoke begins to hang in the air. air.