CES 2013 gets weird


CES isn't just about phones, computers, and televisions — the largest consumer electronics show in the world is also home to a number of odd, strange, and downright confusing products. From "smart forks" to devices that sync with your phone to make sure your plants don't die, the products on the Las Vegas Convention Center show floor are just as unique as the people in this lovely city. If you've got a taste for the peculiar, make sure to keep checking back here.

11 updates and 432 comments below.


Winbot 7 window cleaning robot uses a vacuum seal to stick to the glass

Robots are supposed to do our dirty work, so why not have them deal with the unenviable task of cleaning the outsides of our windows? It's certainly been done before, but here at CES 2013 we've just had the opportunity to try out a new model, the Winbot 7 from Ecovacs. Like a Roomba (as well as other window-cleaning robot competitors), the Winbot 7 automatically moves along your window surface while cleaning and squeegeeing the glass. What makes this robot better than the rest is that it uses...

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The weird and wild interfaces of CES 2013

The public side of CES may all about showing off consumer gadgetry, but there's another, more lucrative CES going on behind the scenes. If you toured the private meeting rooms of the South Hall instead of the display booths, you'd find dozens of small manufacturers pitching themselves to the behemoths of the tech world, angling for an OEM deal or a partnership or even an acquisition. This year, the hottest commodity is a new take on UI. Depth cameras, gaze trackers, motion sensors: the...

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StickNFind Bluetooth stickers let you track any object with your phone

If you're the sort of person who's always losing their keys, Sticknfind may be your solution. The project, which has currently passed its Indiegogo funding goal by over 900 percent, pairs an iPhone or Android app with 4.1mm-thin "location stickers" that work with Bluetooth 4.0 and can attach to almost anything. The idea is that you'll be able to track any object within a range of 100 feet — battery life is said to be around a year.

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Release your inner cross dresser with the future of advertising

Remember how ads in Minority Report were interactive? We've just played with a demo unit of such a system here at CES 2013; it's called Swivel digital signage, and it uses a Kinect sensor to place clothes and accessories onto passersby. The idea is that advertisers that use digital signage will not just show static images of models wearing clothes. Instead, as people walk up to the sign, they'll get to virtually "try on" the clothing. To do so, the company behind Swivel, FaceCake, scans and...

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At CES, Thomas Edison materializes in the mist to help you win a free iPad

They say the ghosts of CES past sometimes roam the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Lonely souls, forever trapped in show floor purgatory, searching for someone — anyone — to free them from existential limbo. Sometimes that ghost is Thomas Edison, and this year, he wants to help you win a free iPad. But not before he shoots off another tweet from the aether.

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Jan 08 5:53p

What it's like to drive a 1600-pound mechanical spider

Today I was lucky enough to experience driving the Mondo Spider, a 1600 lb, five foot-tall and eight foot-long mechanical spider powered by hydraulics. The spider was built in 2006 by eatART, a non-profit in Vancouver, B.C, and can move at up to four feet per second. The spider used to run on gas, but was retrofitted in 2009 with a 5 kWh Lithium Ion battery, so like any Chevy Volt, you only need a wall outlet to charge it up. "It is the world's first zero-emission walking vehicle," eatART...

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Jan 07 8:05a

The future is now, the future is weird: an expedition into the dark heart of CES

In a world where everyone’s mom has an iPhone, how is technology supposed to feel futuristic? Continue reading »

Jan 06 8:12p

Ion Audio's Scratch 2 Go can turn you into a suction-cup DJ (hands-on)

Last year at CES Ion Audio showed off an iPad hardware peripheral to give aspiring DJs a better way to control music on their tablets, and this year the company is back with another approach — using suction cups. Scratch 2 Go is a set of controls that users physically stick onto the face of their iPad, giving them a tactile experience without taking their fingers off the screen. Five different controls are provided: a crossbar for switching between tracks, two scrubbers for scratching your...

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Parrot's new Flower Power project wants to help keep your plants alive

Parrot, the company responsible for the well-known AR Drone, is working to make gardening easier with its brand new Flower Power project. Simply place the Flower Power device — which looks like a colorful leek — in the soil near any of your plants, pair the device with your iPhone or iPad, and you can track all of your plants' needs from anywhere. Once you've paired the device with your phone or tablet, you can choose your plant from a library of about 6000 plants, and if you're not certain...

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Hapifork measures every bite and tracks every meal on your iPhone

One of the wildest and most whimsical gadgets we've seen in quite a while is here on the show floor at CES: the Hapifork. It's a "smart fork" that has a Bluetooth radio, a capacitive sensor, and a vibration motor built in. The idea is that as you eat, every time the fork touches your mouth it triggers the sensor, measuring your bites on the app. If you eat too quickly, the fork vibrates to tell you to slow down.

French creator Hapilabs' contention is that eating too fast is a cause of...

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