This is the show that starts before it actually begins. CES is the consumer electronics show that makes Sin City sizzle at exactly this time every year. Those who love tech flock there to see what's on and show their wares.
Serious as it may be, CES is also always a feast of the weird and the surprising. Though many of the whackier products don't make it to commercial, they do show you the infinite possibilities that remain untapped in the tech startup space. Here are some:
Did you know umbrellas don't like it when you neglect them? Well, that's how it is with Oombrella, a Bluetooth-connected umbrella that will send you a distress signal if you move out of its range. Apparently, someone believes it's important to have smart umbrellas. In fact, the idea has been explored before and there have been smart umbrellas that connect to your phone and are able to tell you when it's going to rain — right to the point when the drops begin to fall.
The Oombrella is very pretty, so its makers believe one would buy this expensive item for its looks if nothing else. Oombrella is still a Kickstarter project and yes, many have pledged for it.
A most peculiar 'personal acoustic device' called Hushme fits around your neck and over your mouth to muffle you up while you talk on the phone. Conversations stay private this way and don't bother anyone else close by. You can also use it to listen to music because of the earbuds. You can imagine needing to take a call at the office without disturbing colleagues or not having to shoot out of the room just because you need to talk to someone. Hushme is also a product about to go into crowdfunding and comes from a Ukrainian company based in the US.
This year, VR seems to have travelled from the headset to your shoes. The 'Taclim' shoes are connected to your VR headset and let you see your feet in VR and move in certain patterns to interact with the content. Along with VR gloves and haptic feedback, it enables a user to feel the VR world. Made by a company called Cerevo, Taclim will let you feel the grass under your feet — when it's only there virtually. You can even kick a monster away in a game. It looks like technologists will go to any lengths to build a parallel universe that talks to our present one.
Robotics is all over the place at CES this year and not just for people. The Easy Play robot is a ball that keeps your pet busy while you're not there. The robot ball, made by a company called Gosh, rolls around to play, has stored messages to talk to your pet, and even gives treats. Some pets are convinced and others not. A built-in camera will let owners see what's going on and through which they can also talk to the pet.
Showcased at CES is a toothbrush called Prophix which is already up for preorder at $299. Why would you pay that much for a toothbrush? This one can see and remove plaque from your teeth. First, you connect it to your phone. Now, when you use it, it will take pictures of what's inside your mouth and build up a record of what's going on. The toothbrush has various attachments that will customise your oral health routine. You can even watch a live video feed as you brush, so that you don't miss out any spots. Attachments also help massage your gums and keep the circulation going. What a way to spend one' time.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)