More than 3,000 tech innovators headed to Vegas last week to show off their latest and greatest at this year’s Consumer Electronics Showcase (CES), which proves to be a playground for the technologically curious. Of course, popular everyday products like phones, TVs and computers account for a lot of the hype (does anyone really need a Lamborghini phone?), but every once in a while the most unexpected “oddball” invention ends up catching on and becoming part of everyday life. Here are 7 quirky gadgets from CES 2015 that are head scratching at first, but have really compelling future implications. Which ones might change the game?
According to Toshiba, this android woman has the world’s highest level of natural and realistic facial expressions. With 43 pneumatic activators keeping her movements smooth and silent and enabling her to make a few facial expressions, her purpose is to be a “Communication Android” for use in homes and service industries. She spent CES telling audiences about the her origins, her life goals and her anatomy—and singing John Denver songs. Yes, it’s fascinatingly creepy to be in her presence. Watch out, she might steal your job one day. [photo via Mashable]
Yep, just “Ring.” This wearable piece by Logbar gives you the “bippity boppity boo” powers of Cinderella’s fairy godmother over your own home. With Ring on, you can open your curtains with a twirl of your finger, turn of the lights, adjust the thermostat, play music and more. Each action is initiated by a specific gesture, like drawing a shape in the air. This is Logbar’s second version of Ring, and it’s less bulky and has less interference problems than its predecessor, but still has room for improvement. This may be one worth following to see what it becomes.
3. Panasonic Smart Mirror
As you watch your disembodied head float before you on the smart mirror, you can try on different hairstyles (including facial hair), makeup and accessories. The mirror paints these digital effects onto your face in real time, with impressive accuracy. The mirror also analyses your skin condition and make relevant product recommendations, but let’s be real, a lot of us really just want to try on a handlebar mustache. This one probably isn’t likely to show up in your home anytime soon, but could be a game-changer for some industries. [photo via Huffpo]
4. Zuta Labs Pocket Printer
Remember when printers were cool? When it was fun brought your projects and musings to life on paper? Well, if you wrangle enough hopelessly mauled A4 sheets and finicky ink cartridges in your life, they start to seem more like psychological torture devices with a rude fetish for paper-jamming. Thankfully, the diminutive Zuta Labs Pocket Printer brings back the magic of the printed page. Just send a document from any wifi-enabled device, place the Pocket Printer on the paper’s corner, and it goes to work. It’s oddly satisfying just to watch it slide back and forth, and its ability to print on any size of sheet gives it a lot of potential.
5. Skechers Game Kicks
Skechers went old school and new at the same time this year by embedding the classic Simon memory game (players mimic sequences of lighted buttons and sounds) onto kids’ shoes. The sounds can be turned on or off for different situations where kids may need to be able to play quietly. The Simon game is simple, but perhaps these shoes will pave the way for more future wearable games for kids. And if you’re wondering, no they don’t come in adult sizes. [Photo via Engadget]
6. 94fifty Smart Basketball
The world’s first smart basketball! This ball is equipped to measure spin, acceleration and other parameters that help players improve their game. With the corresponing app for iOS or Android, players can analyze their shooting and dribbling, and find places to improve. The app also enables players to compete against each other on leaderboards with real-time scoring and gives audio and visual feedback. Luckily, this one can be used by adults as well as kids. So if you’re hankering to pick up your ball skills again after, well, years off the court, this might be your chance! Using detailed measurements to improve athletic performance is nothing new for professionals, but making this kind of tech available to the everyday player (and soccer moms and dads) could be very addciting. Basketball is just a starting point.
A quick peek at creations by 3Doodler pen users reveals one thing for sure: an ugly drawing in 3D is still an ugly drawing. But there are also some pretty amazing pieces, and one doesn’t have to be Michealangelo to enjoy the fun world of possibilities opened up by this pen. While 3D printing is making waves across industries, this concept of freehand 3D seems likely to go far as well. Not to mention that with a bit of improvement, the McGuyvering possibilities could be endless. Just imagine the day you lose one of those tiny plastic bits that holds your IKEA nightstand together, and you can draw a new one right on the spot. Is this the duct tape of tomorrow?