The Consumer Electronic Show is the pinnacle of human endeavor, the absolute peak of the tech world, the brightest minds gathering to inspire each other in the race towards the singularity. Sadly this year (and most recent years) it’s been more like a race to the bottom with chancers and giants alike trying to cash in on whatever the hot trends are for the year. The Las Vegas show was particularly awful this year though, with few genuinely good announcements to dwell on and an even larger dumpster fire of the rest to wade through. So here’s the hottest coals of that fire.
KodakCoin and Mining Rig
Bitcoin has had everyone in a flurry to understand and implement the blockchain in whatever their business is. That and other buzzwords related to cryptocurrencies have seen completely tech-agnostic brands soar through the stock prices as speculation runs just as rampant as the BTC conversion rate (and transfer fees). Kodak, a company famously so anti-technology that they spurned the digital photography revolution at the cost of thousands of staff, is now amending for their scepticism by jumping feet first into the future.
They’re offering rentals on a mining rig that they’ll run from their headquarters in Rochester, NY off a coal-burning power station they have on-site. There’s some seriously squiffy maths going on in their valuation of the return on your $3700 two-year investment, and they also pocket half the coins your particular rented machine mines anyway. It’s all smoke and mirrors and neither of which are being used for better photography.
An AI toilet
Kohler, a sort of luxury car of the bathroom world, have introduced the Numi – a voice-activated toilet integrated with Alexa. If you’re sat on the can doing your daily and want to hear some Smashmouth erupting from the bowl, then yeah, it’ll play music for you. It also has bidet spray settings (also voice-activated) which aren’t really the most popular outside of mainland Europe and Japan but it’ll do that for you too if you ask nicely.
LG’s insubordinate robot Chloi
One thing that won’t help you no matter how nicely you ask it seems to be LG’s home assistant Chloi. LG’s marketing chief in the US David VanderWaal had the unenviable task of introducing Chloi, intended to interface with the company’s new line of washing machines and other home products. But on stage she quickly stopped listening to her master and became quite difficult. Not the best introduction, unless you’re in the market for a teenager.
Electroshock therapy "weight loss" headband
Modius Health were on the floor in Las Vegas with what they described as a weight loss essential. The headset, similar to a head-mounted display without the screen and two creepy tendrils that attach to saline pads behind your ears, sends electrical currents through your brain. What they’re trying to do is target the hypothalamus, one of the deepest organs of the brain, in order to disrupt the body’s “set point” which controls how hungry you are. In reality, tech journos at the event said they felt disoriented and nauseous while neuroscientists said that if the FDA were approached for approval of this weight loss treatment Modius would be “laughed out of the building”. If a slight headache and some nausea are on your list of top experiences, the Modius is $499.
Laundry folding machine that still needs you to do work
This thing’s been at CES two years in a row now and it still looks like garbage. The FoldiMate costs $980 and is currently available for pre-order, whereas last year it was just being announced. It folds 20-40 items in two to four minutes but you have to prep each item by clipping them in individually so that its little grabby robot arms know where to put the corners. That is not what I want from a $1k machine, I want to just dump my entire dryerload into a big hopper and it shoots out pristinely pressed shirts straight into a drawer. It turns out there is something that does this, the Laundroid, and it costs $16,000. Ok that’s fair.Load Comments