Offbeat home-based tech gadgets from the CES in Las Vegas

Seeing the latest products, gadgets and devices at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show felt like a surreal step into the future.

This year’s 56-hour annual CES took place last week in Las Vegas, Nev., covering four million square feet of technology for the years and decades to come, from home robots that could help maintain (or secure) our homes to innovative foldable laptop-tablet hybrids. to 97-inch “wireless” OLED TVs and smart watches powered by artificial intelligence.

But for all the practical home gadgets, CES 2023 also offered some silly and weird discoveries. Sure, some futuristic native technology can be weird and wonderful at the same time.

Check out these extraordinary events at this year’s big show:

Real fur, dog communicator. Wouldn’t it be cool if your dog could text you?

A company called FluentPet showed off its upgraded FluentPet Connect communication system, which allows pet owners to program paw-sized push buttons with simple words like “Walk,” “Water,” “Out” or “Play.”

After you’ve trained Fido—70% of dogs learn at least two words within a month, the company says—your furry friend presses one of the buttons on the porous, hexagon-shaped tiles, and you’ll receive a notification on your phone.

(On average, dogs learn up to nine words with buttons, says FluentPet.)

This WiFi-connected gadget can also capture data that can be accessed via a phone app, so you can track your pet’s progress and, if you choose, help data scientists improve the system.

Now available for pre-order for around $US215 ($160), the Fluent Connect should ship by February.

A golden gadget. Best known for its WiFi bathroom scales, Withings showed off its puck-shaped U-Scan sensor that sits in your toilet and does a good job of analyzing your urine.

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Yes, this hands-free pee tester examines your diet and metabolic health, checks your pH, ketones, protein and vegetable balance, vitamin C levels, and more. The second monitor is for reproductive information, focusing on the luteinizing hormone ovulation cycles of women.

The data is transferred to your smartphone, which allows you to access the information in the U-Scan companion app. The company says each sensor can help detect potential health problems early and automatically tell the difference between different individuals in the same household.

The U-Scan will cost around $US665 ($500) when it’s released later this year.

One cool fridge. Color-changing technology was a hot topic at the show this year, and LG’s MoodUP refrigerator, which was first presented at IFA in Berlin in September 2022, generated a lot of interest at CES. The fridge’s four giant LED panels can display bright colors using its companion app.

As well as matching (and changing) your kitchen interior, these 23 color options (190,000 combinations in total) have both a fun and practical use: as the name suggests, they can be used to set the mood for a house party. (and after all, the action is often in the kitchen). But the fridge can also flash to let you know the door is slightly open.

A tasty addition: the MoodUP fridge also has a loud Bluetooth speaker to wirelessly play sound from a nearby smartphone, tablet or laptop — and yes, the colorful panels can also create a light show and timed music.

Pricing or availability has not yet been announced.

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Smell-o-vision VR? You can see 360-degree content in virtual reality, hear spatial audio, and even experience haptic feedback by “touching” items in the VR world. So what next? It could be the smell.

OVR Technology, a Vermont-based startup focused on “digital scent technology,” chose CES to launch ION 3, a wearable cartridge-based scent solution optimized for virtual and augmented reality, mobile and PC.

The device, which resembles old-school headphones you’d wear around your neck (with one hand reaching out to sit by your nostrils), connects via Bluetooth and can emit scents like perfume in different combinations to create “thousands” of unique scents . .

For example, imagine the scent of lavender while meditating in VR, or the smell of gun smoke while playing a first-person shooter.

Let’s see if it actually comes out: I distinctly remember at CES in 2001 when I watched a demo of DigiScents iSmell, a computer accessory that was more or less the same idea as the ION 3, but the company folded before the product. was issued.

“Breathable” pillow. Finally, something strange – but perhaps strangely soothing – that helps reduce anxiety and create peace.

Japanese robotics company Yukai Engineering showed off its Fufuly, a soft pillow that “breathes” when you hug it.

This means that the pillow concept subtly expands and contracts to signify inhalation and exhalation, and will transition from a normal ‘breathing’ position to a more relaxed position, hoping that the person hugging it will join in with this slower rhythm. The gentle rhythmic pulsation is designed to provide comfort and possibly lull you to sleep.

Also at CES, Yokai Engineering showed off its cute humanoid nightlight robot called Lightony, with a little head that literally nods after a while, and is said to encourage people to do the same. Lightony also responds to voice commands, such as requesting a countdown from 100 or saying “good morning” to wake up and turn on.

Marc Saltzman is based in Toronto and covers consumer technology trends. He is a freelance contributor to the Star magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @marc_saltzman

The chameleon car

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If you can’t decide what color car to buy, BMW can offer you a solution.

BMW showed up at CES 2023 with its BMW i Vision Dee (“Digital Emotional Experience”) concept car, which can switch between 32 shades. The mid-size sedan uses an e-ink exterior, unlike an e-reader screen, but lets you quickly change colors or a combination of them via panels — even changing the look of the wheels and grille.

(At least at CES this year, the BMW iX Flow concept car could switch between black, white and gray.)

The i Vision Dee also features BMW’s updated HUD (heads-up display) that covers the entire windshield to give drivers access to information, communications, augmented reality projections and something called “virtual worlds,” but little was revealed about that. how to.

This technology could be ready for use as early as 2025.


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