Space homes, pet fitness trackers, and robots sweet and scary: The weirdest and best tech at CES 2022

The world’s largest consumer electronics trade show known as CES is looking weird this year, with far fewer conference rooms in Las Vegas as consumer tech companies show off their latest and greatest shows around January.

One thing has remained the same, though: companies delight, baffle, and irritate us with their ideas of what the technology of the future might look like. John Deere independent tractors? Check. Smart home for cats? definitely. Dozens of presentations about the metaverse, a place we’d like to visit if we could figure out what it is and where it is? defy.

Some of the industry’s plans are surprising. Others — like what we’ve argued are the first ever non-ridiculous augmented reality glasses — are worth getting excited about. Here are some of the best, worst, and weirdest products at CES.

Dressing up for the metaverse

The age of metaphysics is approaching. But what’s the point of spending time with people in a sprawling, interconnected virtual space if you don’t feel “the world” around you?

This is where smart – and sometimes painful – clothing from Owo enters the picture.

Each of the Spanish company’s bulletproof vests come with electrodes in 10 locations across your torso and arms, all controlled by an app running on your phone. Why the electrodes? Obviously, to stimulate your muscles to simulate the sensation of falling through the air, insects are buzzing on your back, getting stabbed.

Augmented reality glasses that look good (almost)

If you’ve come to CES in search of wearable monitors, you’ll never be left unsatisfied. But if your goal is to find one that doesn’t make you look at least a little silly, that’s a different story. The prototype developed by TCL may fit the bill.

Unlike older wearable monitors, TCL’s latest face computer uses what it calls 3D waveguide technology to project an image in front of your eyes without letting anyone else see it. And since the lenses included in these goggles are almost completely transparent, we’re left with a pair of augmented reality specs that you can wear all the time. Even better, it actually looks like something you might want to wear.

But what can such a wearable device do? The software on the prototype we saw was far from finished, but it did mention the ability to control phone calls, display photos and even display text on a virtual automated screen.

Despite this, TCL hopes that this headset – or some of its descendant since this headset runs on a chip dedicated to smartwatches – will become sophisticated enough to provide turn-by-turn directions and display multiple virtual screens without alienating you from the rest of the world. It’ll probably be years before the company cracks the code, but hey — at least it’s canceling the look.

space house

Some CES providers think longingly when people live in fully connected homes. Sierra Space thinks about the time when people lived in giant inflatable homes on the moon.

Alongside a space plane called Dream Chaser, the company is showing off a scaled-down version of a large inflatable space house called LIFE Habitat. LIFE arrives in space folded inside the launch vehicle and then expands to three full floors — enough living space for four astronauts, scientists, filmmakers or even tourists, the company says.

Fitness tracker … for cats

At least according to companies that sell biometric devices for pets, including Korean brand PurrSong, which introduced a fitness tracker to customers of a cat collection called LavvieTAG at CES this year. It’s part of a suite of connected products from the company, which describes itself as a “lifestyle design” for cats that supports the Internet of Things.

You might be tempted to scoff at owners who turn to AI to monitor how often cats sleep or use the bathroom (PurrSong sells a product for that too). But not so fast: Biometrics could be a valuable preventative measure to help the pets we love live longer, healthier lives, says Amelie Caudron, CEO of French company Invoxia, who introduced an AI-powered dog collar at this year’s CES.

“The pet’s place in the family is changing,” Codron says. “It is no longer a dog-lord relationship. We think of ourselves as parents and our dogs as members of the family.”

happy hungry robot

True comfort is priceless, and for some people, that kind of peace only comes when animals or children gently gnaw on them. If this is you, a small product from Japan could be the best buy-in of your life.

The Amagami Ham Ham may look like a plush cat or dog, but its robotic guts mean it can give you a chomp when you need a little reassurance – all you have to do is put your finger in its mouth. And since there’s nothing worse than uninspired chewing, Amagami Ham Ham relies on a set of HAM algorithms to make sure its drooling patterns don’t get repeated too often.

At this point, you may be wondering why Amagami Ham Ham exists. For creator and CEO of Yukai Engineering Shunsuke Aoki, the answer is simple: it’s all about giving people moments of happiness whenever they need it. This same desire inspired the company’s latest successful product, a robotic cat butt called Qoobo, and that’s exactly the kind of job we can get our hands on.

Aoki hopes to launch Amagami Ham Ham through a crowdfunding campaign within a few months and, assuming that succeeds, aims to sell the robot in Japan and abroad for the equivalent of about $30.

A robot may be bothering you

Human-like robots are becoming more realistic, but only in comparison with their predecessors.

Just take the Ameca robot from Engineered Arts, a robot made of metal and plastic, that blinks and shrugs its shoulders just like me and you—if you and I were a mean bot.

Companies that purchase the Ameca model can place it at events and trade shows to greet attendees and “establish an instant relationship with anyone,” its creator’s website claims. A video from Engineered Arts shows Amica performing hand and facial gestures that actually seem natural, albeit noticeably slow. The company is keen to describe the robot as “non-threatening,” although the level of threat is in the eye of the beholder.

And Engineered Arts isn’t the only company promoting the human appearance at CES. DeepBrain AI showcases its new software called AI Studios: just type a video script and the software will instantly create a fake human to perform that script. YouTubers, company coaches, and newsreaders (maybe) warn.

Air Purifier / Ear Bud Mixing

Wearable technology is almost inevitable at CES, and that’s especially true when you’re wandering the emerging wonderland of Eureka Hall. This is where we found Ible, a Taiwanese company that made a very specific type of wearable.

The Airvida E1 is, in essence, a negative ion air purifier that goes around your neck. (That’s not all that’s new; the company has released quite a few similar devices over the years.) But since this is 2022, and we’ve always needed a quick way to avoid interacting with other people, this new model has a set of earbuds. Built-in bluetooth noise canceling. Like similar air purifiers, Airvida aims to help you breathe more easily when pollen or smoke begins to get stuck in the air. air.

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