2013 has gone and passed, but with it comes the dawn of a new year. How appropriate, then, that we take a good look forward with the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2014). For the last 47 years, the internationally acclaimed event has provided a glimpse at the technology and electronics of the future, and this year was no different.
While there’s no real way for me to sort through each and every robot or bloody smart-watch the show had to offer, I’m perfectly comfortable with pointing out a select few. The selection process for this was mostly arbitrary – choosing whatever I fancied on Google image search. Don’t blame me – I wasn’t there, obviously. I think the stuff I did pick out is interesting enough, and pretty representative of the event as a whole – from outrageously silly gizmos to actually impressive hardware.
As I always say, “let’s get started:”
To start things off, we’ve got the 3Doodler, which allows users to create physical knick knacks not unlike a 3D printer, but in pen-form. Now you can prance about like Harold with his Purple Crayon, or Rudy from Chalkzone, or any other children’s character with a magical writing utensil.
Honestly, it looks silly, but its (relatively) low price of $100 is sure to satisfy the needs of its only realistic buyers to conjure up private parts while they laugh at how funny they are.
2. Sony Playstaion Now
One of the only things from the event that gets me legitimately excited is Playstation Now. It’s a streaming service which promises to silence much of the disappointment over the lack of backwards compatibility in next-gen consoles, allowing you to play both new and classic games over any Playstation device. Maybe the cloud isn’t all that silly.
3. Goji Door Lock
I think everyone can fully admit that keys are totally bogus, and so not 21st Century. A San Francisco company has proposed the Goji – a lock controlled by your smartphone.
While a gimmick for some, I’m all for anything that prevents me from having to fumble around with my keys in the Canadian winter, before dropping them beneath the front porch and having to try and pick it up in the snow using a magnet glued to the end of a stick.
4. Oculus Rift
The Oculus Rift has been making rounds for quite a long time in the gaming world, but it remains so legitimately exciting that nearly every appearance is worth talking about. This year, Intel showed off the Virtual Reality headset’s expanding line of software prototypes, this time featuring the EVE Valkyrie video game. While the actual hardware might look a bit silly to the outside viewer, the immersion (and surprising lack of motion sickness) offered by the device opens up a breadth of new possibilities.
5. Tao Wellness WellShell
The Tao Wellness WellShell threatens to be one of the silliest gimmicks I’ve ever seen, both in name and application. While it claims to track your personal health statistics (be it heart-rate or sleeping patterns), which is all nice and dandy, its primary function is to serve as exercise device. Need I mention that the exercise in question would be squeezing the thing at various resistance levels. At a price-tag of $200, that’s plainly ridiculous – try going for a jog once in a while.
6. Parrot MiniDrone
While I’m not quite sure what all the buzz around this product is, I can definitively say that flying robots are almost never not cool, and the MiniDrone is no exception. For some reason drones have been making headlines lately, be it for their applications in either product shipping or death, so it should be to no ones surprise that bluetooth-controlled ones are the next logical step.
The company hasn’t released a proper release date or price yet, which makes me a little skeptical as to whether it’ll come out at all, but again, I remain hopeful. Flying robots are cool.
7. Samsung Curved Ultra High Definition TV and the LG 77-Inch Curved OLED
The trend in the TV world not that long ago was 3D – how it would change the living room and make all things magic and whatnot. I think everyone can say that (literally) headache-inducing trend has died off, and in its place we have something even more silly. Instead of changing the visuals of the screen, Samsung and LG have gone about changing the visuals of the TV itself, by making it… bendable?
I mean, the tech to make it happen is certainly interesting and all that, but I’d put my money on this idea following the same route as its predecessor.
8. Makerbot Z18 Industrial 3D Printer
I think everyone can say that 3D printers are the coolest things since ever, and actually pretty incredible when you think of the possible applications. However, with most demonstrations of the technology being seen in chess pieces and toy guns, it’s hard to get a grasp on the bigger picture. The Makerbot Z18 Industrial 3D Printer seems to solve this problem by being stupidly large and able to print stupidly large objects. At a cost of less than $7000, it’s very affordable, at least for larger companies, which I assume to be it’s target audience.
9. Netatmo JUNE UV Sun Bracelet
I’m honestly a little conflicted on this one – the JUNE Sun Bracelet looks stylish and professional, but its actual function leaves a lot to be desired. For $100, the device simply tracks how much UV exposure the user is getting, and notifies them if it becomes a little too much. It essentially fills the same annoying purpose as my mom on beach trips as a toddler.
I’d recommend this one to people who enjoy wasting money and looking fabulous.
10. Robothespian Robot
And, what better way to end things off than with that most awesome and cool in the land of electronics: a proper robot. From what I can tell, Robothespian doesn’t seem to do anything particularly useful aside from waving his arms about and looking cute, which is really all you can ask of a cool robot. Some (fools!) might argue that he’s stupid and doesn’t have a purpose, to which I would respond that they’re stupid. His purpose is joy and sunshine, okay?
And there you have it, be it legitimate or utterly ridiculous.
In the event that I missed anything particularly spectacular (and I probably did), feel free to let me know about it in the comments below.