Adorable and spooky space houses, pet fitness trackers and robots: weirdest and best tech at CES 2022

The world’s largest consumer electronics show known as CES looks odd this year, with far fewer attendees in Las Vegas boardrooms where consumer tech companies showcase their latest and greatest almost every January. .

One thing has remained the same, however: Companies delight us, confuse us, and anger us with their ideas on what the technology of the future might look like. Autonomous John Deere tractors? To verify. A smart home for cats? Absoutely. Dozens of metaverse arguments, a place we would love to visit if we could figure out what and where it is? You bet.

Some of the industry’s plans raise eyebrows. Others – like what we’d say are the first non-ridiculous augmented reality glasses – are worth getting excited about. Here are some of the best, worst, and weirdest products CES has to offer.

Dressing for the Metaverse

The age of the metaverse is almost here. But what’s the point of having fun with people in a sprawling, interconnected virtual space if you can’t feel the “world” around you?

This is where Owo’s smart – and sometimes painful – clothes come in.

Each of the Spanish firm’s form-fitting vests is fitted with electrodes in 10 locations on your torso and arms, all controlled by an app running on your phone. Why electrodes? Obviously, to stimulate your muscles to simulate the sensation of falling through the air, bugs buzzing behind your back and, uh, being stabbed.

AR glasses that are (almost) beautiful

If you come to CES looking for portable displays, you will never leave dissatisfied. But if your goal has been to find one that doesn’t at least make you a little silly, that’s another story. A prototype developed by TCL could do the trick.

Unlike its previous portable displays, TCL’s latest facial computer uses what it calls holographic waveguide technology to display an image in front of your eyes without letting anyone else see it. And because the lenses built into these glasses are almost completely transparent, we end up with a pair of augmented reality specs that you can wear all the time. Best of all, they actually look like something you might want to wear.

But what is a laptop like this actually supposed to do? The prototype software we saw was far from complete, but it did mention the ability to control phone calls, view photos, and even display text on a virtual teleprompter.

Later, however, TCL hopes that this headset – or one of its descendants since it runs on a chip meant for smart watches – will become sophisticated enough to offer step-by-step instructions and display multiple virtual screens without cutting you off from the rest of the world. It will probably be years before the company breaks the code, but hey, at least they look down.

Space house

Some CES presenters are thinking about when people will be living in fully connected homes. Sierra Space thinks about when people live in giant bouncy houses on the moon.

With a space plane called Dream Chaser, the company presents a scaled-down version of a large inflatable space house named LIFE Habitat. LIFE arrives in the folded space inside a launcher, then expands to three full floors – enough living space for four astronauts, scientists, filmmakers or even tourists, according to the company.

A fitness tracker … for cats

At least according to companies selling biometric devices for pets, including Korean brand PurrSong, which this year presented a fitness tracker for customers of the feline variety called LavvieTAG at CES. It is part of a suite of connected products from the company, which promotes itself as an Internet of Things compatible “lifestyle design” for cats.

You might be tempted to poke fun at homeowners who turn to artificial intelligence to monitor how often cats fall asleep or use the bathroom (PurrSong also sells a product for this). But not so fast: Biometric analysis can be a valuable preventive measure to help the animals we love live longer and healthier lives, says Amélie Caudron, CEO of the French company Invoxia, which presented a collar for dog fed by AI at this year’s CES.

“The place of the animal in the family is changing,” says Caudron. “It’s no longer a dog-master relationship. We see ourselves as parents and our dogs as family.

Hungry and happy robot

True comfort is priceless, and for some people, that kind of peace only comes when animals or babies gnaw at them gently. If that’s you, a little product from Japan might just be the best impulse buy of your life.

Amagami Ham Ham may look like a small, stuffed cat or dog, but its robotic innards mean it can give you a light bite when you need a little solace – all you have to do is put on your finger in his mouth. And since there is nothing worse than a pointless chewing, Amagami Ham Ham relies on a set of HAM algorithms to ensure that his snacking patterns don’t become too repetitive.

At this point, you might be wondering why Amagami Ham Ham even exists. For Yukai Engineering creator and CEO Shunsuke Aoki, the answer is simple – it’s about giving people happy moments when they need them. That same desire inspired the company’s latest blockbuster product, a robotic cat butt named Qoobo, and that’s exactly the kind of mission we can accomplish.

Aoki hopes to launch Amagami Ham Ham through a crowdfunding campaign in a few months, and – assuming that succeeds – he aims to sell the robot in Japan and abroad for the equivalent of around $ 30.

A robot that probably bothers you

Humanoid robots are becoming more and more realistic, but only compared to their predecessors.

Just take Engineered Arts’ Ameca robot, a full-scale metal and plastic robot that blinks, shrugs, and grins like you and I – if you and I were human facsimiles on stilts.

Companies that purchase an Ameca model can display it at events and trade shows to welcome attendees and “build an instant relationship with anyone,” says its creator’s website. A video from Engineered Arts shows Ameca performing hand and facial gestures that are indeed natural, though noticeably slow. The company is careful to describe the robot as “non-threatening,” although the level of threat is in the eye of the beholder.

And Engineered Arts isn’t the only company selling human lookalikes at CES. DeepBrain AI presents its new software called AI Studios: just type a video script and the program will instantly generate a human deepfake to run this script. YouTubers, corporate trainers, and news presenters beware (maybe).

An air purifier / headset mixture

Wearable tech is almost a staple at CES, and that’s especially true as you walk through the startup wonderland of Eureka Hall. This is where we found Ible, a Taiwanese company that has created a very specific type of wearable.

The Airvida E1 is basically a negative ion air purifier that surrounds your neck. (It’s not that new; the company has released a handful of similar devices over the years.) But since it’s 2022 and we still need a quick way to avoid interacting with d other people, this new model has a set of built-in noise canceling bluetooth headsets. Like similar air purifiers, the Airvida is designed to help you breathe easier when pollen or smoke begins to float in the air. air.

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