CES 2020 is now done and dusted, and as has been the case in past years, the Las Vegas-based event did not disappoint in the sheer volume of new consumer products that were announced.
Some were practical objects, some pushed the boundaries of innovation and others were just plain weird. In honour of the weird and wonderful technology we saw announced at CES 2020, we’ve done a roundup of the five best and strangest products from the show.
While these probably won’t change the technology landscape anytime soon, they are interesting to look at and talk about.
Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR
First up is a futuristic looking concept car from German carmaker Mercedes-Benz. In recent years motoring has been a key focus at CES, and the company used this week to showcase a vehicle which encapsulates its view of the future – The Vision AVTR.
The car is inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar film, and while we first said huh?, the design elements do give a nod to what we saw in the film. An example of this is the series of moving vents on the rear portion of the car, as well as a lack of a conventional steering wheel. The cabin space is also meant to be more immersive, and leverages gesture controls in order to operate.
Will we see this car hit the road in an official capacity? No, probably not, but the tech and design elements from it will certainly filter down to other cars from Mercedes-Benz.
Shifting gears drastically for our second piece of weird CES 2020 tech is the Y-Brush. Apart from looking like no other electric toothbrush on the market, the big selling point of the Y-Brush is take it only takes 10 seconds to brush your teeth.
The instructions for this gadget are fairly simple. Place any toothpaste of your choice in the mouth guard-esque design (which features bristles inside). Put in your mouth. Turn it on and chew for seconds. Flip it over and repeat the process.
Available in select countries for now, the Y-Brush costs €109 for the solo model, and €25 for the mouthpiece. Whether it takes off is unknown, but we would certainly be willing to give it a try.
Our next gadget comes from South Korea in the form of the spherical robot – the Samsung Ballie (yes, a better name is needed). It is a spherical robot, and definitely not the first of its kind to hit the market. What does differentiate it is that Samsung has made it smart.
To that end it has a camera for object detection, as well as a system for voice recognition, which means it can be given instructions and follow you around the house.
Precisely how smart Samsung is aiming to make remains to be seen, but if it has the same sort of digital assistant functionality that a smart speaker has, the Ballie could be a very handy gadget indeed.
At this stage though no word on when and indeed if Samsung aims to sell it locally.
Panasonic VR Glasses
The fourth gadget comes from Panasonic and is a set of VR glasses. What makes these ones special is their steampunk-esque design, as well as the fact that they are the first VR glasses with HDR-capable UHD visuals.
These glasses aren’t designed for gaming specifically, but rather other immersive experiences which leverage 5G and other high-speed connectivity, the Japanese company explains.
Adding to the immersive experience are earphones integrated into the arms of the glasses, along with shutters on the sides of the lenses in order to block out any light and keep you focused on the action.
For now there is no word on when these glasses would hit the market.
We’ve saved the best for last in terms of weirdness, with the world’s first smart potato. Yep, you read right, a smart potato. This project is currently being funded on Indiegogo and at the time of writing is sitting at 3 percent of its R426 377 goal with 59 days to go.
While the potato gets a lot of the plaudits, it’s actually the high-bandwidth interface antenna (called the Neuraspud) that’s doing the heavy lifting here, which is paired with a mobile app to turn the potato in a digital assistant of sorts that can answer questions. The spud is providing the power for the system to do so.
Backing this project will cost R489 at the most basic tier, and we’re hoping this project comes to fruition purely for how weird and wonderful it is.