Held every January, CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas offers a global platform for tech and design giants to launch their latest products. It's a great opportunity to take the temperature of the industry, and see which way the wind is blowing. And for 2023, the short version is: well, it's all gone a bit weird.
Only a few years ago, the most you expected from brands at CES was a new range of laptops, with slightly faster processors, or minor tweaks to an existing smartphone. Now, though, it seems like no everyday product or service is safe from the reach of AI and the web. And the results can be quite perplexing.
We've already told you about BMW's colour changing vehicle, DeepBrain's Re;memory service, which lets you talk to digital twins of your dead loved ones, and Peugot's car that looks like a cat. Now here are some more of the weirdest creations to get showcased at this year's event.
The weirdest tech at CES 2023
01. A smart pebble that analyses your pee
Withings is a French manufacturer of fitness gadgets, so it raised a few eyebrows when it showcased the U-Scan: a Wi-Fi powered device at CES that analyses your urine. It's basically a toilet-mounted, pebble-shaped shell that you pee into, and you'll get a ton of health data sent to your phone within minutes. This can help you improve nutrition and hydration, as well as helping with menstrual tracking and ovulation window determination. The U-Scan will launch in Europe during the second quarter of 2023 for €499.95; learn more in the video below.
02. A robot pillow that breathes
It's nice to have someone to share a bed with. But for those who don't, this might be the next best thing. Fufuly, developed by Yukai Engineering in partnership with the University of Tokyo, is a robotic pillow that inflates and deflates as if it's breathing, and hugging it promises to help reduce people's anxiety. It comes with three operating modes: regular, deep, and a mode based on popular breathing techniques. Fufuly will launch in Japan this year through crowdfunding, with a global launch to follow, but no prices have been announced yet.
03. A disco fridge
As the saying goes, all the best parties end up in the kitchen. So why not bring the party there, with this colour-changing fridge from LG? The Moodup Refrigerator comes complete with a built-in Bluetooth speaker and colour-changing LED backlit panels, which can sync to the music, turning your kitchen into a disco inferno. Or, if you just wanted to set the right ambience for your culinary efforts, you can customise the lights using any of 190,000 colour combinations. Pricing and availability has yet to be announced.
04. An oven that films your food
The Samsung's Bespoke AI Oven has a lot of smart features, but the headline is a camera that watches what's happening to your food as it cooks. That means that with the use of some sophisticated AI, it can warn you that your meal is about to burn. It can also suggest cook times and temperatures for more than 80 different dishes and ingredients. And YouTubers, Instagrammers and Twitch users will appreciate the ability to livestream your cooking from inside the oven. The Samsung Bespoke AI Oven will launch in the US later this year, but no pricing has yet been announced.
05. A TV for people who hate cables
Do you truly hate trailing wires, and want as few of them in your living room as possible? Displace TV is a 55-inch, 4K TV that doesn't have a power cable, because it runs on four hot-swappable batteries. On the back, there's an active-loop vacuum system that lets you stick it to the wall without a mount. And you can stream content to it wirelessly... although to be fair, you do that via a separate box, which does need to be plugged in. The makers point out, though, that this box can be put in a cupboard, so technically this does let you have a TV in your living room without a wire in sight.
Also, if 55 inches isn't big enough, you can connect multiple TVs together: so in theory, you could join 16 of them together to make a 220 inch TV. You'd need a pretty big living room for that, though. The Displace TV costs $3,000 and will launch later this year.