Disco fridges and tech that wants you to pee on it: The 7 weirdest gadgets announced at CES 2023
The absolute strangest future technology on offer at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.
With 100,000 expected attendees and nearly 20,000 products displayed by more than 4,500 companies, CES 2023 is the undisputed home to this year's latest and greatest future technology and cool gadgets.
However, it’s not all flying cars and high-end gaming gear exhibited over four days at the Las Vegas Convention Centre. Like previous editions of the Consumer Electronics Show, this January’s fair is also unveiling a feast of gizmos we can, at best, call weird and wacky.
Here’s our selection of the quirkiest innovations presented so far.
The sensor that really wants you to pee on it
Are you regularly incensed by how your toilet just sits there, not actively rooting for you to pee in it? Then do we have a gadget for you. Crafted by US health monitoring company Withings, the U-Scan instructs users to attach itself to their toilet bowl so it can happily analyse your urine.
The two cartridges that come with the U-Scan can gather a lot of data from your number ones. The first monitors nutrition and metabolic information (measuring pH, ketone and vitamin C levels), providing information into your kidney and digestive health. And the second cartridge is made for those who want to better track their menstrual cycles by monitoring levels of LH (luteinizing hormone), which peak when fertility is likely at its highest.
After you've made, ahem, use of the sensor, you view can your health insights on the Withings app on your phone. After you’ve washed your hands thoroughly, of course.
An eyebrow printer
Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer invents a shotgun that applies makeup? For good or ill, L’Oréal’s new Brow Magic machine, a handheld electronic makeup applicator, has made this a near reality.
Using 2,400 tiny nozzles, the device prints brows in 1,200 drops-per-inch (dpi) resolution, using a scan of your face to place them in the desired spot (we advise just above your eyes). Then to apply, all you need to do is move the printer across the eyebrow in a single, sweeping motion.
With the accompanying Brow Magic app, you can also choose various brow shapes and thicknesses before you start printing – the app will even suggest personalised recommendations on effects like micro-blading and micro-shading.
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And in the event you’re not keen on the brows machine-stamped to your face? Fortunately, they’re not permanent, and can be wiped away with standard makeup remover, says L’Oréal.
A disco fridge
At long last, your fridge can be the heart and soul of the party with LG's new MoodUp machine. Coming with customisable colour-changing LED door panels, this high-tech refrigerator can also blast music through its built-in Bluetooth speakers.
Fortunately, the MoodUp won’t turn your kitchen into a nightclub permanently: you have full control over the door panels and can choose from 190,000 total colour combinations from the accompanying LG app.
The fridge also comes with some nifty features to make daily living easier. For instance, leave a door open for too long and a panel will flash to alert you. Coolest of all, you can turn one panel of the fridge transparent, letting you see what’s inside without letting in warm air.
An oven that live streams your cooking
While some people argue the term ‘AI’ (artificial intelligence) is needlessly attached to new tech, Samsung's Bespoke AI Wall Oven is out to prove them…erm, fairly on the money.
That’s because the main feature of this oven is its internal camera that lets you keep a closer eye on your cooking from your phone. You can also live stream your meal-in-progress to your social media followers.
To be fair, this device does come with other practical features. Samsung says the oven can optimize cooking conditions for 80 specific dishes and alert you if there’s any danger of burning. Plus, its front 7-inch colour display screen on the oven can effectively turn transparent, showing you the live feed from inside so you can check your food without opening the door. A soufflé paradise.
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A robotic cushion
Want to wind down after a hard day’s work? Well, why not snuggle a pulsating cushion?
That’s the thinking of Yukai Engineering, the company that has invented the Fufuly pillow that, they claim, helps lower your anxiety levels. How? With gentle rhythmical pulsations to stimulate your belly and induce slower and deeper breathing.
Although Yukai says the product was developed based on research from the University of Tokyo, the pillow itself hasn’t been scientifically tested.
A messenger service for your dog
Water. Outside. Bone. Play. Just some of the delightful words your dog could soon text you with FluentPet’s new app-connected talking button tech.
Made famous by TikTok’s Bunny the dog, the previous version worked by training dogs to press buttons that speak voice commands recorded by owners. So, press the button with a bone on and the recording of the owner saying “bone!” plays.
The thinking is that dogs will already know what these words mean and can therefore communicate what they want from you. Not every dog will gain fluency, but FluentPet says that over 70 per cent of dogs using the system will understand two buttons within a month and in total learn up to nine words.
The new version, FluentPet connect, will still play voice commands through a speaker when your pooch presses a button, but will also send the command to your phone via an app. Handy and, let's face it, extremely cute.
A chopping board with in-built screen
Just in case you’re too lazy to look up at any laptop/smart home screen likely inches away from where you’re cooking, the Blok chopping board comes with a detachable 13-by-20-inch display.
Currently priced at an eye-watering $699 in the US, the Blok board also describes itself as the ‘Peleton of the kitchen’. Why? Well, for an extra $39 a month you can access a library of recipes, and take part in live cooking classes with friends. You can easily persuade your mates to fork out for this, right?
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Thomas is Digital editor at BBC Science Focus. Writing about everything from cosmology to anthropology, he specialises in the latest psychology, health and neuroscience discoveries. Thomas has a Masters degree (distinction) in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield and has written for Men’s Health, Vice and Radio Times. He has been shortlisted as the New Digital Talent of the Year at the national magazine Professional Publishers Association (PPA) awards. Also working in academia, Thomas has lectured on the topic of journalism to undergraduate and postgraduate students at The University of Sheffield.
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