CES is an annual trade show that people turn to for presentations of new products in the consumer electronics industry. But it also has a knack for introducing us to some of the weirdest in upcoming technology. Although CES 2022 was cut short due to COVID-19, this year’s announcements are still as weird and wacky as you would expect—and I’ve compiled 10 of my favourite ones.
1. A robot cat that lightly nibbles your finger
Arguably the funniest thing to come out of this year’s CES, the Amagami Ham Ham is a soft toy cat that can softly nibble on your finger to try and relieve your stress. The word “amagami” roughly translates to “sweet biting” in English. Made by Yukai Engineering in Tokyo, the soft toy is supposed to “give you innocent, comforting pleasure to brighten your day”.
The toy will automatically engage its motor once you stick your finger inside of its mouth. It also offers about 20 different nibbling patterns. As weird as this sounds, I’m curious to try out the sensation of having my finger nibbled at by a robot cat. The soft toy also looks really comfortable.
2. “Earbuds” that fight humidity
Never in my life have I thought about wanting a product that “cools down” my ears, but now I’m curious. DearBuds are an earcare device have a similar weight and look to wireless earbuds, and come with a charging case—but they are not actual audio devices.
The Bluetooth ear device tracks “ear humidity”, as humidity in the ears apparently range from 40% to 69%. The charging case itself will show the percentages of ear humidity, environment humidity, as well as different modes and battery levels. The DearBuds will then automatically use the appropriate levels of light, heat, and airflow to “quickly expel humidity trapped inside the ear in just 3 short minutes”.
You’re probably wondering why you’d want to keep your ears cool. Well, Dearbuds claim that excessive humidity in your ears can cause a risk of fungal infection, as well as excess earwax.
3. A “magic wand” that dyes your hair
L’Oreal unveiled a nifty “magic wand” that can help you dye your hair at home. It might just look like a potentially expensive applicator, but the L’Oreal Colorstick also mix the hair colour to your chosen shade.
Colorstick also pairs with Coloright, an AI-connected hair colour system which was announced during CES 2022 as well. it lets users virtually try on desired shades, and it also lets you make a customised hair colour with more than 1,500 custom shades possibilities.
4. A microphone that looks like a horse-feeder
You might have noticed that most of the items listed so far can help people deal with being by themselves during the pandemic. And this mouth-covering microphone really takes the cake. I mean… a voice suppressing microphone to stop you from making too much noise when you’re working at home or playing video games? And it also wraps around you like a horse-feeder?
The Mutalk Microphone is described as a Bluetooth microphone with a mute function “that prevents your voice from leaking out”. It’s also apparently meant for VR experiences, as the “voice is one of the biggest problems for VR metaverse users”.
“If you live in an apartment complex, your neighbours will probably complain if you make loud noises. You want to make a lot of noise in the VR space, shout, laugh, and even say things that your family would be embarrassed to hear,” said Shiftall.
It does look really dumb, but VR goggles look a little dumb as well from the outside. However, it might prove useful if you’re banking on the “metaverse”—which a lot of companies during CES were.
5. An exercise bike from Black Mirror
Screens in front of exercise machines like treadmills aren’t new, but this new exercise bike from LG is giving off Black Mirror vibes. Virtual Ride seems just like a regular exercise bike, but with three 55-inch OLED screens stacked floor-to-ceiling while curving overhead in an r-shaped form.
The whole setup lets “you ride a bike through a forest at night or down the street of a European village”. But while other exercise machines have offered something like this before, the elongated screen sort of takes you in another world “in the most realistic possible way without actually being there”.
Virtual Ride aims to make users feel like they’re exercising outside. But I can foresee potential video games being used on it, too. However, it gives off a little bit of a dreary vibe because being outside can be considered a luxury now—especially during the pandemic.
6. A reclining chair you won’t want to get up from
LG also introduced something called the Media Chair—which seems like a fancy First or Business Class airplane seat with a large TV screen attached to it. The futuristic-looking recliner has speakers built into it, too.
The actual TV itself is a 55-inch, OLED TV with a curved display. It is also able to rotate around on the chair’s frame. So, even if you recline further back into your chair, the frame moves along with you and the TV attached to it will always be in your line of sight.
According to LG Display, the Media Chair right now is not a product, but they are working with a Korean massage chair company to sell it as a final product soon.
7. Contact lenses that display real-time info
InWith Corporation has introduced “the world’s first soft electronic contact lens” during CES 2022. Company’s CEO Michael Hayes says that the lenses will work with your smartphone or another external device “to show you real-time information about the world around you”.
This reminds me of what a smartwatch might be able to do. However, having the info displayed right “in front of your eyes” is very cool and seems like you’re living the life from your favourite science fiction movie.
Another company, Mojo Vision, introduced a smart contact lens that displays images and text. However, they’re learning more towards how it could help with sports and fitness.
With the contact lens from InWith, you’ll be able to see things such like—What is the speed limit on this road? What direction are you heading? Where is the next exit and how many miles away? The lenses are also expected to help people who suffer from Presbyopia (the loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects).
8. A “smart watch” for your dog
Invoxia introduced a collar for your dog that not only tracks where your pet is, but is sort of like your dog’s own smart watch. The Smart Dog Collar can measure your dog’s heart and respiratory rate, keep tabs on their activity levels (walking, running, resting, scratching and barking) and their daily routine. You’re also able to share the data with your veterinarian, so they can establish a diagnostic baseline built on objective long-term data. Whereas fitness trackers for dogs generally rely on a combination of just accelerometers and GPS sensors.
According to Invoxia CEO Amélie Caudron, the radars are capable of taking readings, regardless of how furry your dog is. The collar can also sit more loosely and comfortably around the dog’s neck—which is not the case for smartwatches on humans.
For now, the Invoxia collar is only for medium to large-sized dogs. It might be a while until something like this for smaller dogs is introduced. Maybe we can expect something like this for cats, as a health tracker for them could be useful, too.
9. A printer for temporary tattoos
I’ve had some experience with a tiny portable printer before, but never one that could actually print something on your skin. Prinker has been around for some time, as the Prinker S was introduced in 2020.
However, the Prinker M has been newly introduced, and it is a lot smaller than the previous version. While Prinker S is created for pro and heavy usage, Prinker M is more casual users—but it will still let users experiment on temporary tattoos without any commitments to the real thing.
Consumers can choose tattoo designs from the Prinker library of more than 11,000 designs. ButPrinker M also allows fully customisable tattoo designs as well. You can purchase it now for RM835.99—a bargain compared to the RM1,675 Prinker S.
10. A car that can change colours
BMW has introduced an incredible colour-changing car that you might only see in movies with special effects—the BMW iX Flow. The vehicle is able to change its exterior and rim colour at a touch of a button. It can also display different designs and patterns as it is not just limited to changing to a single solid colour. However, it looks like you can only choose variations of black and white.
The car is wrapped with electrophoretic paper, aka E Ink paper—similar to displays of E-Readers like the Kindle. The wrap contains millions of microcapsules, and each microcapsule contains negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments.
Using E Ink paper also means that it doesn’t use any energy to display the colour. It is only when the colour is changed that energy is used. If you want to learn more about the iX Flow, you can read Duke’s coverage on the vehicle.
All in all, the products introduced this year were just as cool, weird, and intriguing as products introduced in previous CES showcases. And as we’re all trying our best to get through the pandemic, a lot of the products introduced—although weird—seem to be things we would actually use if we’re cooped up alone in our houses. The finger-nibbling cat would be the first thing I would ask for if we needed to be quarantined again.