The Weirdest New Tech at CES 2021
CES delivers some real winners each year, but it also has a rich history as a breeding ground for weird technologies. In years past, the show has yielded peculiarities such as cell phone radiation-blocking underwear, a waistline-monitoring smart belt, and a vending machine for fresh loaves of bread. It's hard to forget Charmin's 2020 RollBot, a robot that can bring you a spare roll of toilet paper when you run out (strangely foreshadowing the great TP shortage that came just months later). Despite being all-digital this year due to the coronavirus, CES 2021 offered no shortage of oddities. On the list of strange new innovations is a poop-analyzing toilet that offers dietary advice, smart perfume you can customize from an app, and a headless robotic pet meant to soothe your angst. And it only gets weirder from there.Toto Wellness Toilet Experiencing digestive distress? In the future, your toilet might be able to help. The Toto Wellness Toilet examines your stool to determine whether you're healthy. Its companion app then offers recommended dietary changes to improve your digestion. It's just a concept at this point, but it could hit the consumer market in the next few years. Petit Qoobo If you're having trouble coping with loneliness amidst COVID-19, getting a pet can help. But if you're not in a position to care for a living animal, the Qoobo furry therapeutic robot might be the next best thing. Designed to bring you the same type of joy as an actual animal, the Qoobo doesn't have a head, but it has a tail that wags in response to your affection.Ninu Smart Perfume These days, practically everything is smart—and now your perfume or cologne is getting a high-tech upgrade, too. Dubbed the world's "first smart perfume," the Ninu works with an artificial intelligence-powered app to let you create a personalized fragrance blend with a few clicks. If you get tired of the scent, or want to change it up for a special occasion, you can easily do so in the app. Like a lot of products announced at CES, the Ninu is currently in the prototype phase. The company expects to start taking pre-orders in March and kick off mass production in the second half of the year.XPG Mana Gaming Gum Known for its SSDs and PC cases, XPG is branching out to a new market: Chewing gum. Meant to be chewed during long gaming sessions, the XPG Mana gym packs lutein, a vitamin that's good for your eyes, and, of course, caffeine to keep you awake.GM Cadillac Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Vehicle There's no shortage of vehicle technology at CES, but GM's futuristic electric flying taxi concept was the weirdest car we saw at this year's show. The Cadillac Vertical Take-Off and Landing is basically a giant self-driving drone with four helicopter-like propellers. It promises to transport a single passenger at a speed up to 55 miles per hour, and GM is also working on a version with two seats. The company hopes to one day use the vehicle as part of a zero-emission air taxi service.Pet Portal Pet doors aren't weird, but a smart one that costs $3,000 is certainly out of the ordinary. If you're a dog owner with money to burn and an eye for aesthetics, you might be interested in the Pet Portal from MyQ. It works with a custom collar sensor to open like an elevator, either automatically or by request, when your dog wants to go out or come back in. It also lets you monitor your pup's comings and goings from your phone in real time or on demand. It's available for pre-order now (with a $100 deposit) and slated to start shipping in limited quantities this spring.Razer 'Project Hazel' N95 Mask Wearing a face mask has become the new norm, but many CES 2021 vendors showed off high-tech COVID-19-fighting face coverings with capabilities that extend beyond filtering germs. Binatone's MaskFone can eliminate some of the muffle when you're talking on the phone, and the AirPop Active+ can monitor your breathing and keep track of when you need to change the filter. But Razer's prototype 'Project Hazel' is the weirdest (and flashiest) mask we saw at the show. It features customizable lighting zones on each ventilator that can shine 16.8 million colors, bringing the aesthetics of a gaming rig to your face. There’s no word on pricing or when it may hit the market.Samsung Bot Handy We can all use an extra hand around the house, and a new prototype robot from Samsung aims to do just that. With the ability to "pick up objects of varying sizes, shapes and weights," the one-armed Bot Handy can help with household chores, like sorting the dishes and tidying up messy rooms. Employing advanced artificial intelligence technology, it's even smart enough to differentiate the material of various objects, so it knows how much force to use when picking something up. ColdSnap Keurig revolutionized the way we make coffee, and now, a device called ColdSnap aims to do the same for ice cream. Place one of the shelf-stable ColdSnap pods in the rapid freezing machine, and you'll have a single servicing of ice cream in 120 seconds or less. It's also capable of making frozen yogurt, coffee, smoothies, and cocktails. Best of all, there's no mess to clean up. Ampere Shower Power Shower singalongs could soon get a major upgrade thanks to a new waterproof Bluetooth, the Ampere Shower Power. It fits any showerhead, and should never run out of battery because it's charged by the flow of water. It's currently available on Indiegogo for $79.
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