The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a yearly event showcasing exciting new technology and products. CES 2021 may have been online only, but there were still hundreds of companies showing off their latest and greatest innovations.
We’ve already picked out some of the best in our CES 2021 Highlights, but there is also a host of more… unique products on show. Let’s take a look!
Lenovo put a kindle on their laptop
Lenovo decided that the normal laptop design didn’t have enough screens - so they added another one! The ThinkBook Plus has an E-Ink display built into the front - the same screen technology used for Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader. This secondary touchscreen can be used when the laptop lid is closed to quickly read notifications & scrawl notes without having to start up your machine properly.
The 13” ThinkBook Plus is available now for people tired of duct-taping their tablet to their laptop.
New AI ‘pet’ is basically a Tribble
‘ Moflin’ is an ‘AI Pet Robot’ that was Kickstarted last year, and shown off at this year’s CES - where it won an award for Robots Innovation. Vanguard Industries claim that Moflin has “emotional capabilities that evolve like living animals”. It can analyse changes to its environment, and will grow attached to its owner over time. However as interesting as the tech is… it kinda looks like a Tribble. They really should have leant on that for the marketing! Hopefully they don’t breed like Tribbles...
Razer made a facemask...
Razer - famous for their gaming peripherals with customisable RGB lighting - came to CES with a number of new products. Alongside new mice and keyboards, they announced they had designed a facemask to fight COVID-19 and it’s definitely… a thing.
‘Project Hazel’ is a transparent plastic facemask with a pair of air filters on the front - making it look like a gas mask. They also serve as speakers, broadcasting your voice so it’s not muffled by the mask. Finally, because it’s Razer, there is full RGB lighting on the mask, allowing your face to glow neon green or pink. There is no current release date for Project Hazel, so you may be better to grab a standard cloth mask while you wait.
...And a gaming chair
The facemask wasn’t the only thing Razer was showing off - they also unveiled ‘Project Brooklyn’, a gaming chair that is nothing short of astounding. The black chair looks contains a bevy of technology: haptic feedback built into the seat, you feel your games. Modular armrests that unpack into a full table for a keyboard or snacks. Customisable RGB lighting that can react to activity in the game.
All of this is dwarfed by the real showstopper - a deployable 60” wraparound OLED screen that extends from the back of the chair and unfolds at the press of a button. The screen is so large that it would cover almost all of your vision, providing total immersion as you game.
Unfortunately Razer aren’t ready to sell Project Brooklyn just yet - this was just a concept design. But *what* a concept design! Rest assured the final product (if it ever appears) will be astounding - and astoundingly expensive!
LG unveil a smart bed with hidden TV
LG were all about cutting-edge TV design this year, and one of their more… unique designs was this Smart Bed with a 55” translucent OLED display built into the base. At the press of a button, the flexible OLED screen rises up, allowing you to watch TV when you want, without having to have an unsightly TV hanging around.
While the smart bed is an interesting - and unusual - design by itself, the translucent OLED display has the potential to be very exciting tech. Translucent displays already exist, but generally are either low-quality, or are barely translucent and hard to see through. A high-quality, clear display has many applications for everything from your home to public transport.
Next-generation smart glasses
Smart Glasses have been attempted several times - most prominently by Google - but have never seen success. That hasn’t stopped Vuzix from trying again with their next generation of Smart Glasses, unveiled at CES. These Micro-LED powered glasses have one sizable improvement from previous attempts - they actually look good! Indeed they look just like normal glasses at a glance, which is a step forward!
They have a number of exciting features - including full smartphone support, with small speaker built into the arms, and a microphone hidden by the nosebridge. The screens allow for an augmented reality overlay - showing notifications from your phone, or turn-by-turn navigation.
It remains to be seen whether this attempt will lead to mass-adoption of smart glasses, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on Vuzix as the prepare to launch this year.
Panasonic made a Final Fantasy Soundbar
Panasonic unveiled a rather strange collaboration with Japanese game series ‘Final Fantasy’, releasing a Dolby Atmos soundbar especially for gamers. The ‘Soundslayer’ is a 2.1 soundbar with several modes specially designed for different types of games - first person shooters, RPGs, etc. The drivers are custom tuned by the audio team behind Final Fantasy XIV, and have all the extras you'd expect - wireless streaming, a built-in subwoofer & DTS:X support.
It's a nice bit of gear, but the major unadressed issue is that it's called the 'SoundSlayer'. Now I’m a massive Final Fantasy fan, but even I think that's a ridiculous name. Nice designs on the soundbar casing though!
A smart doggie door
Dog doors are ripe for reinvention and upgrade, and so at CES we saw the ‘myQ Pet Portal’, a next-generation smart dog door. The company will build you a custom-sized door, complete with a pair of elevator-style sliding doors at the bottom. The system links to a chip on your pets collar, sliding the doors open as they approach - no more scratching at the door to be let in or out! Of course, it also comes equipped with 2 wi-fi enabled cameras, so you can monitor the door from your phone and see what your pet is up to. The cameras have 2-way talking mode as well - so you can use it to scare the postman by yelling weird phrases in German as he appears! That alone should justify the cost - if you agree, there is a $100 deposit to pre-order the Pet Portal. The finished product should ship in ‘Spring 2021’.