CES is full of inventions that leave many speechless: airbags for motorcyclists, inflatable farms, leggings who aspire to increase sports performance, pots that aim to turn plants into pets, razors that fit in the palm of your hand, photo frames with speakers And robots more typical of science fiction. At the largest consumer electronics show on the planet, which takes place from January 9 to 12 in Las Vegas, anti-snoring pillows, smart mirrors or systems promising to read the emotions of babies and pets are usually exhibited year after year. These are some of the most curious inventions of this edition.
Among the most curious devices of 2023 were interactive masturbators, printers for dyeing hair or masks for confidential calls. In this edition, a facial recognition bulb from Lepro sneaks into this list. “It can analyze users’ expressions, capture their emotional state and recommend lighting effects tailored to their mood,” explain its creators. The bulb is also equipped with an algorithm that simulates the human hearing system and synchronizes the lights based on the music being played to “create an immersive audiovisual experience for the user.”
There to start up French Neoplants claims to have created a plant that can exhaust air 30 times more efficiently than a standard houseplant. This is how Alexandre Galbiati, marketing director of the company, explains it: “We work on the DNA of plants. “We bioengineered them to insert a gene that makes them capable of absorbing contaminants and transforming them into plant matter.” At the moment they only sell it in the United States, because in this country it is allowed to edit the genome of plants, as Galbiati points out.
A stroller that swings by itself
In one of the rooms at Mandala Bay, one of the hotels where CES is held, a stroller swings automatically. A few meters away, Kevin Huang, CEO of Glüxkind, observes him. This Canadian company has created a stroller that uses artificial intelligence to make parenting easier. The aim is to give parents “an extra pair of eyes and hands when they are away from home”. “You can climb the steep hills of San Francisco effortlessly or go down a hill with hand strokes without worry, since the cart, in addition to moving, can stop and brake automatically,” he explains. At home, the stroller can also be useful. For example, “rocking the baby while you read a book, drink coffee, or rest.”
A robot to walk well
A wearable robot whose intention is to make walking an “easy and effective” exercise. This is how Wirobotics defines one of the most curious inventions of CES. The robot in question is made up of a sort of belt that attaches to the knees with irons. It has two modes. One for assistance in “walking with ease and safety, which helps you lift your legs and push them toward the ground.” And another exercise, which provides some resistance and aims to strengthen the legs. With this mode enabled, it’s like walking in water. Although the robot is mainly designed for the elderly and people with Parkinson’s disease or sarcopenia, a condition characterized by a loss of muscle mass and strength, was also designed with young people in mind. “This can be effective in getting them to adopt a calm posture when walking,” says company employee Ji Young Kim.
A case to transform the iPhone into a Blackberry
No more cell phones with physical keyboards. They were gradually replaced by touch devices favoring a large screen. Clicks technology has developed an iPhone case for the nostalgic, because it is partly reminiscent of a Blackberry. In fact, its creators claim that among them are former employees of Blackberry, Apple and Google. At first glance, this box has two disadvantages: its high price – it costs 125 euros – and its large size, which makes the terminal more reminiscent of a large television remote control than a mobile phone.
Artificial intelligence that designs clothes
Generative AI goes way beyond ChatGPT. “Everything you see here was generated by an AI,” explains Florent Michel, pointing to several bags, pants and leather jackets adorned with diamonds. He is an employee of Imki, a to start up which works alongside fashion brands to apply AI to clothing design. Before, designers had an idea, they started by drawing it by hand then used programs like Photoshop, according to Michel. Now, “all they have to do is write it and see the results.” What is the difference between these clothes and those designed by a human? “None. That’s the question,” said Michel.
A head for avatars
Some inventions on display at CES seem straight out of the series Black mirror. If last year certain avatars of deceased loved ones attracted attention, in this case one of gadgets more surreal, it’s a head for avatars. It’s called WeHead and its goal is “to make you feel the presence of a virtual human or digital clone of a person in the physical world.” “As people enter virtual worlds through their digital avatars, WeHead offers developers the ability to bring these characters into the real world through a physical device,” note its creators.
A “gadget” to touch virtual reality
Palmplug is a device that monitors every hand movement. Thanks to haptic technology, gives the user the sense of touch in video games. This is what company employee Kevin Shi says: “Imagine there is a car in front of you and if you touch it, you feel the vibration. Or let’s say you put your hand in moving water and feel it,” he says. This device can also be used to carry out rehabilitation, for example after a stroke. “It is possible to prepare the exercises as if they were a game so as not to get bored so quickly and send the data that comes out of the glove to your doctor,” explains Shi.
Artificial intelligence that translates medications
“We cannot go to Google Translate and obtain the drug equivalent to Tylenol (paracetamol) in France. You won’t get the answer,” says Cristopher Burrow, head of Humetrix’s medical informatics and data analytics group. This company developed SOSQR Global, a platform powered by artificial intelligence which translates medical terms and recipes into over 20 languages and over 150 countries. Which could be useful “if you’re traveling and a specialist needs to look at your medical history or when the medication you’re using has a completely different name elsewhere.”
A telescope that makes astronomy easier
Using a telescope for the first time can be frustrating, according to Unistellar’s Laurent Marfisi. “The first problem is that you may not see much with a normal telescope. The second is that these devices are difficult to maneuver,” he emphasizes. Your business has a solution: a smart telescope to make astronomy more accessible. The device was designed to identify what is in the sky, take photos and send them to your mobile phone. You can also send notifications. “For example, it will tell you that today is a good day to see Jupiter in your neighborhood,” says Maggie Zaboura, another employee of the company.