The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is well known for being the home of some of the weirdest, most off-the-wall consumer technology that exists. Small companies of all kinds take their wacky ideas to the show floor, hoping to catch the attention of the world. Sometimes, even some large technology companies bring some of their most strangest products to CES, as you’ll see in the list below.
This year’s show had a wide smattering of weird gadgets that are range from interesting to not-so-useful (at least, not yet). Here are the 10 that caught our attention for being the weirdest of the weird:
The RippleMaker is a kitchen gadget that imprints an image on the foam of your coffee drinks. The machine connects to an app on your phone, where you can select from the pre-loaded library of images, or even upload your own. It’s pretty gimmicky—the sort of thing that a coffee shop might be interested in—but the image looks nice and it’s a nice spin on the whole idea of latte art.
Nothing weird these days about meditation and using meditation apps to enhance that experience. The Muse brain sensor, though, has just enough weird in it to make it on the list. Essentially, you strap this wearable device around your head and it measures how peaceful or at rest you are. It does this through a variety of sensors around the device that measures brain signals firing off in your noggin.
This experimental demo is the one piece of technology on this list that could actually go somewhere someday. LG had a screen that could be rolled up at CES, which as of now is a pretty interesting idea. It’s mind-boggling to think about how the technology behind it works—but perhaps even more mind-boggling to think about what this could be used for that you’d actually want.
Many of the products that show up at CES are projects that either were Kickstarted previously or will shortly be live for fundraising. CleverPet is one we covered much earlier in the year, billed as a “video game console for pets.” A more accurate description is probably “Simon Says” for dogs, but the general idea is a little device that feeds your pet when it solves the puzzle of pushing the different flashing lights. Are your pets at home really this bored? Really?
There are plenty of attempts to create technology that brings music-making to the non-musical. PhonoTonic is this year’s big attraction in this arena, which comes in the form of these two spheres. Full of sensors that connect to your smartphone, the PhonoTonic tracks your movement to produce sounds and beats. The cool part is that they can be assigned different roles such as rhythm or melody, as well as for different genres of music.
Image courtesy of Getty Images / Alex Wong.
Samsung’s always got crazy ideas for your essential home appliances. This year, Samsung brought the FamilyHub Fridge, which is a fridge that has basically a massive touchscreen display on the right door. The weird part is that it looks like a blown up smartphone plastered to your appliance. It looks like it works pretty well, unlike previous attempts to do such things, but I also can’t imagine having this thing in my kitchen.
There are plenty of smart pans out there, none of which are all that helpful. SmartyPans is a frying pan and scale that counts your calories through an app using its database and the built-in scale. Because counting calories in home cooking can be difficult, SmartyPans could be pretty useful for some, though it’s pretty limited to cooking things in just a single pan.
People have tried all sorts of ways to wake themselves up in the morning, but this has got to be the most bizarre. SensorWake is an alarm clock that makes no sounds, but only gives scents. That’s right—SensorWake pushes out distinct odors such as coffee, seaside, or croissant at a designated time.
There’s a big emphasis on health tracking every year at CES, but the SmartBelt is one of the weirdest, most interesting attempts to do that. But monitoring both your daily steps and the changing in belt tension to tell you how much you’re overeating. It’s more information than I’d ever want to have on my waistline, but leave it to Samsung to do something this weird with health tech.
The Somabar is tried and true CES—cool idea, but probably not all that practical. Somabar is a robot bartender that can perfectly make all of your favorite cocktails. Using an app on your phone, you can choose whatever cocktail you want—so as long as you’ve got the right ingredients. I imagine actually using this thing, but seeing the success of the Soda Stream, you never know what might catch on.