The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is the showcase for the year’s top tech, and the time when we get a first look at manufacturers’ plans for the upcoming twelve months. As well as the products you expect, like widescreen televisions and gaming consoles, IoT speakers and kitchen appliances, there are always more than a few surprises in the concept category! 2017 was no exception, with some incredible and highly unusual products and ideas making their debut. Here are a few of the strangest new products revealed at CES 2017, with a look at how they could progress and develop in the coming year.
Razer’s Project Valerie
As far as laptop design goes, this concept from Razer is pretty out there. However, the idea is certainly not crazy – far from it. ‘Project Valerie’ is the company’s three-screen laptop concept, featuring folding screens which close up like a normal laptop for easy transport, but which can be extended for multi-screen working and for 3D gaming. Surrounded by three high definition screens, the player can enjoy a truly immersive experience without the need for a VR headset – and they can take that experience wherever they travel. The triple display is designed to snap screens automatically with no need for resizing, and it accommodates standard widescreen ratios available on the majority of video games and movies.
Meld Smart Stove Knob
This is actually pure genius, unless you are one of those organised kinds of people and are also blessed with a good memory. If leaving the stove on is something you worry about, give yourself some peace of mind for around $200 (£170). This smart knob attaches in place of the regular cooker controls, with a small wall-mounted unit supporting the software. A mobile app then communicates with the device, and lets the user know whether or not the oven has been turned off. While this handy gadget is not the most exciting thing to be revealed this year, it could be extremely useful and it might even save a life someday. For homes with young children who might turn the oven on – or elderly residents who could leave the stove on – this could be an invaluable gadget.
Kerastase Hair Coach
Do you often find yourself wondering exactly what condition your hair is currently in, or wish you had a gadget which can dramatically improve your hair brushing game? Nope, us neither. However, hairdressers and beauty fans might appreciate this interesting gadget made by tech company Withings and hair gurus L’Oreal. The standard paddle brush has in-built sensors and links to the mobile app, which gives detailed information about hair strength and softness, as well as a coaching guide for brushing. It claims to reduce breakages and lead to healthy hair management habits, though at a $200 (£170) starting price it is hard to see who the market for the brush will be.
Somewhere between office equipment and cosplay accessory, the Hushme is essentially headphones for the mouth. The device claims to muffle the voice during calls for complete privacy, and it has been cited as the future of call centres and telesales roles as it can reduce office noise levels and keep calls confidential. It certainly looks ridiculous, but does it work – and is it therefore worth it? The device does certainly reduce speech sound in a busy, noisy environment while ensuring the caller can be heard, though in a quiet room there is some sound leakage. Perhaps the most appealing feature is the built-in voice-changer app, which could be good for a few prank calls if you are inclined to make them.
If sounds and lights aren’t getting you up on a morning, perhaps smells might do the trick. The Sensorwake Oria is a scent-based alarm clock which sprays the user with a strong scent in order to rouse them from slumber. At around £122, this is one pricey alarm clock – but if nothing else has worked for you, this might be the answer. The company claims that the scents are designed to awaken the senses in a slow, natural and comfortable manner, so if aromatherapy does it for you then this might be a top gadget pick. Alongside the futuristic tech demonstrated at CES however, this seems like a gimmick that will quickly fade into obscurity.
Take your own face wherever you travel with this smart backpack, perfect for those who want to extend the reach of their selfies beyond social media posts. A screen on the back of the bag can have any image from your mobile camera set to display – in black and white like a classic Instagram kid, of course. You don’t just have to use it to advertise your own face – any image can be used to create the bag’s design, and it can be customised as often as you want right from your screen. That said, it is a rather expensive way to carry your purse and books around – and it remains to be seen how long the technology will last under the normal wear and tear conditions which backpacks tend to face!
Jagger & Lewis smart collar
If your family dog is a complex and mysterious character and you want to break down a few barriers, try this smart collar which promises to translate the dog’s mood and relay it back to you. It monitors actions like barking and growling, scratching, food and water intake, toilet habits and more, and can alert you if there is a problem or if your dog is in an unusual mood. At $200 (around $170) this is one expensive way to keep an eye on your dog – especially when you already have your own set of eyes with which to monitor and care for him. However, if added peace of mind counts when it comes to your furry friend, then perhaps you might find this reassurance useful.
Images with thanks to respective publishers and used through Creative Commons license
Main image with thanks to Wikipedia
Product details correct at the time of writing