CES 2019 is in full-swing with a huge variety of tech on show. From the usual major players to start-ups, everyone who has anything to show off is there. Covering consumer tech from all corners of the globe, CES is undoubtedly the largest product demo in the world and at 50 years, one of the oldest too.
CES - The home of tech companies with big budgets but no purpose
Sadly CES seems to be getting better known for showcasing useless innovations that no one asked for. There’s definitely some tech there that answers customer problems but we thought it would be more interesting to pull out some of the less-useful examples that no one is asking for or needs. And there’s plenty to choose from…
The Little Cat
Who knew we had the problem of how to exercise a cat. Apparently, we do, so there’s a product for that. Basically a giant hamster wheel, except this gadget is intended to be ‘smart’, so naturally connects to an app and allows to you set exercise plans, monitor calories burned, watch your cat mid-session through a camera and even record voice samples for encouragement. At a mere £1,400, your cat will be feline-fine in no time! (sorry). Alternatively, buy a laser pointer for a fiver.
Frankly, I don’t know how domestic cats have survived for the past nine and half thousand years on earth without it, I really don’t.
There's the standard promo video too if you want to see it in action - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3US_jzrvSxY
Kohler’s Alexa-powered, voice-activated flush toilet
Not only does the Numi 2.0 Intelligent toilet have speakers, a heated seat, a bidet function – even a dryer – but it comes with Amazon’s Alexa integrated for voice-commands. Use cases include the obvious flushing request to the little more… random… such as ‘pizza ordering or music playlist selecting’. Because being unable to order a pizza whilst sat on the loo is one of the biggest UX challenges of the past decade.
An update from the first generation version, 2.0 comes with LEDs around the bowl for what Kohler states as “a more immersive experience” which sounds about as appealing as falling into the bowl mid a number 2.0. Bargain at $8,000.
An at-home cat ancestry DNA testing kit
Back on the cat theme, who knew we needed to know the bloodline of our favourite moggie friends. Now you can uncover the ancestry of your pet with this DNA testing kit, all within the confines of your cat-centric home. Basepaws’ kits are available for about $95 and will help pet owners understand their history from health, traits, and habits by providing disease markers and breed characteristics. Whilst home testing for humans I totally get (Thriva is extremely useful), I think it’s a pretty niche pool of people who are spending their day worrying about the genetic make-up of the cat.
However, very useful for when your cat is next on Jeremy Kyle questioning the paternity rights of his litter.
Foldimate - An automatic laundry folding machine
Caveat – ok, so this one is a bit different as in I might actually like this one, and possibly people HAVE been asking for it, but that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.
Foldimate are solving the problem of folding laundry – a task clearly too daunting for some people who are prepared to part with over $1,000 to avoid the chore. I can’t say folding laundry is that big an interruption in my day, and certainly not to part with that kind of money for a one-off device. But maybe, just maybe, come back to me when a machine can wash, dry and fold in one programmable cycle – then you’re into Jetson’s territory.
Baby clothes and bed sheets are out the question for now, but you can adjust the folding methods to suit your needs. Which is quite cool…
BotBoxer - The only robot for martial arts
A “high-tech training machine for combat sports designed to be your personal sparring partner”, or, more simply, a small punch bag on a pole that judders around a bit.
Priced at $20,000, you have the option of buying this over-sized, under-whelming awkward ‘robot’ that stutters about a bit or hiring a professional boxing coach to train you for a year. However, it does have a wealth of sensors and some ‘AI’ so it’s smart – nice and generic there. So we should all part with the cost of a mid-priced family car immediately and take to our garages and spare rooms to become the next karate kid.
Of all of the nonsense on show, this has to be up there as one of the worst offenders.
Some other things we’ve seen that are worth a mention include Samsung’s latest ‘smart fridge’ that messages your phone when you’ve left the door open – rather just being smart enough to shut it for you and leave it at that. More cat-related junk too, a cat facial recognition feeding bowl didn’t seem high on my list of priorities or problems and Gillette’s latest smart heated razor. Anyone who wet shaves would never consider doing so cold, although admittedly, this is a gimmick from Gillette.
We’ve not even scratched the surface of tech on show that no-one asked for, if you see any that you think are particularly pointless, feel free to mention to us @383project on Twitter and we’ll add them to the list.