The Consumer Electronics Show, better known as CES, is an annual festival of technology that takes over Las Vegas in January each year.
It features big names like Samsung and LG alongside small companies you’ve never heard of, all crammed onto massive show floors where they hype their latest and greatest gadgets, television sets and computers.
But it’s not all TVs and laptops at CES. There’s a stranger side to the show. Here are 10 of the weirdest products unveiled at this year’s event.
1. Kohler Konnect faucet
There are many things you can do with your Amazon and Google home voice assistants. You can turn up the heat, turn off a light, and turn on the radio. Kohler, a company known for its kitchen and bathroom accessories, now wants you to use your voice to control your restroom faucet.
The new Kohler Konnect app lets you command everything from your bathroom mirror to your shower. The company unveiled a whole line of Konnect-enabled products, but perhaps the oddest of the bunch is the Sensate faucet. You can command it to spit out a specific amount of water. It will even notify you if it notices itself leaking. Welcome to the future.
2. Ujet electric scooter
What’s so weird about a scooter? Plenty. A new scooter from Ujet is electric and it folds up when not in use. Ujet calls it “a new design for urban pioneers.” Customers can customize everything from the color to the seat height, but one of the most impressive features is a range of up to 90 miles. What's most eye-catching about it are the crazy spoke-free wheels. It’s like a scooter designed for the world of “Tron.”
3. Sublue WhiteShark MIX
Sublue introduced its James Bond-style WhiteShark MIX underwater scooter through a crowdfunding campaign last year, but it really ramped up the marketing with a splashy appearance at CES. You hang onto the double-propeller contraption and let it pull you along underwater. You can also attach a camera to film your dolphin-like adventures.
4. Kolibree Magik AR toothbrush
Here’s one for parents who have trouble getting their kids to brush their teeth properly. The Kolibree Magik toothbrush turns the daily teeth-cleaning regimen into an augmented-reality game. The interactive toothbrush works with an app featuring a variety of different themes, from pirates to princesses. It rewards kids for brushing in the right places for the proper amount of time. This sounds like something even adults might find fun.
5. ForwardX CX-1 suitcase
Do you have trouble recognizing your luggage from a crowd of similar baggage? That won’t be a problem if your luggage recognizes you instead. The ForwardX CX-1 carry-on suitcase uses facial recognition technology to identify its owner. It’s also self-propelled and will follow you around like your very own Star Wars robot. ForwardX showed this intelligent suitcase off at CES and plans to launch it later this year.
6. L’Oreal UV Sense
How much sun did you get today? Too much? You could know for sure if you have a L’Oreal UV Sense attached to your fingernail. This tiny wearable gadget is battery-free and runs for up to a month on solar power while measuring your exposure to UV rays. The UV Sense talks to a smartphone, which lets you track your time in the sun and will help remind you to put on sunscreen. L’Oreal expects to launch UV Sense in the U.S. in time for summer.
7. LG’s rollable OLED TV
You just finished watching a movie, so you roll up your TV and tuck it away until later. For CES 2018, LG Display unveiled a flexible 65-inch OLED display that rolls up into a tube. The display is a prototype, so don’t expect to unfurl one in your living room anytime soon.
8. Toyota e-Palette
Commerce on wheels is nothing new, just look at the food truck boom. But Toyota’s self-driving e-Palette Concept vehicle is a truly strange take on the idea. Toyota said the odd-looking creation could be customized to handle deliveries, ride-sharing services, or “on-the-road e-commerce.” The concept looks like a big box on wheels with the sides encased in tinted windows. The e-Palette could be used to deliver fresh made-on-board pizzas, hold a small professional office (accountant house calls, anyone?), or even carry an entire small retail store. Toyota said it plans to conduct feasibility tests of the vehicle in the early 2020s.
9. Helite Hip’Air
We’re all familiar with the concept of airbags in a car, but airbag tech company Helite wants to offer airbags for your hips. The Hip’Air is an airbag you wear around your waist. It inflates when its sensors detect a fall. The system is geared for seniors who are at risk of breaking their hips. It looks like a big belt when not inflated. It will be interesting to see if this unusual safety gadget catches on.
10. Neutrogena Skin360 SkinScanner
If you’re the sort of person who loves moisturizers, face creams, and other skin products, then Neutrogena has your number with the Skin360 SkinScanner. The system consists of a scanning tool that takes close-up images of your skin and an app that helps you track changes and get recommendations for skin care. Neutrogena calls it “dermatology-grade technology.”
You're loving all the new tech, but don't forget about the gadgets you already have. There are some serious security issues you must deal with right now.
The recently discovered Meltdown and Spectre threats are a problem for a wide range of computers, so be on your toes.