Quirky Tech at CES 2016: Robots, Smart Fridges, Other Smart Things

More than the now, CES 2016 is a showcase of technology’s potential. It’s a showcase of what will hit the market soon and in the distant future.

There has been absolutely no shortage of new technology we can all drool over. Some are cute, some quirky, while others are attempts to make your everyday things smarter.

Here are some that caught our attention.

Virtual Reality

Predictably, futuristic Virtual Reality was also very much present.

HTC Vive Pre

The ‘Quietly Brilliant’ company showcased its own take on a VR headgear. The Vive Pre promises to do what other VR headgears can and is also equipped with a front-facing camera that allows the users to see the real world as they go around the virtual one. No word on the product’s release date as of writing.

Oculus Rift VR

Of course we can’t talk about VR and not mention Oculus Rift. Oculus VR is finally ready to ship a consumer version of the Oculus Rift VR and it’s not cheap. At $599 you get the headset, a sensor for motion tracking, an Xbox One controller and a copy of Lucy’s Tale. Sadly it doesn’t yet come with a PC to give it juice and unfortunately for Apple lovers, the Oculus Rift VR doesn’t support Mac. Speaking of PCs we dug into the required specs, and you’ll need a pretty powerful one if you wanna take the Oculus Rift VR for a spin.

Force Band

Any Star Wars fan has dreamt of using The Force and Sphero – maker of that little BB-8 Droid showcased at IFA back in September 2015 – now let’s you do that. Sort of.

The Force Band for BB-8 is a wrist-worn contraption that lets you control adorable BB-8 through hand gestures. It’s one way to live out your Jedi fantasy.

Cerevo’s Tipron

If you’re not into a robot that rolls around like crazy (and we’re not sure why you wouldn’t be because that thing’s absolutely adorable), maybe this robot from Cerevo is more your speed.

Cerevo’s Tipron is a projector on wheels. It stands a foot and a half when folded but doubles that size when it’s ready to blast moving images to an unsuspecting wall. If you do a lot of presentations around your office it would be pretty cool to have this thing follow you around as you control it through an Android app. It casts up to 80 inches of 720p video on any flat surface.

Smart Fridges
Samsung Smart Fridge

No more milk? Ran out of eggs? Samsung’s new Smart Fridge lets you spy inside your fridge and shop straight from the huge slab of screen attached to it.

The Smart Fridge has cameras inside allowing you to check what’s there and what’s not. So what happens after? You can do your grocery shopping with a few taps on the screen. Installed on the smart fridge is MasterCard’s shopping app making sure you get everything you need. You can even put together carts from more than one store.

Smarter’s Fridge Cam

Just bought a refrigerator? You can still peek inside without having to dole out some serious cash on Samsung’s fridge of the future thanks to Smarter’s Fridge Cam. Mount the cam inside your fridge and an accompanying app allowing you to remotely check the contents of your fridge.

LG Signature Fridge

Checking the insides of your refrigerator without opening the door seems to be a thing at CES 2016. Not to be outdone, LG puts its Knock-On feature on a fridge. Literally knock on the door and it’ll light up to show you what’s inside.But LG takes it a step further with the Auto Door feature that detects when your foot is near the fridge and, like magic, gently opens the door for your convenience. Yes, that’s an actual thing now. Because, you know, it’s so hard to open a fridge door.

R2D2 Fridge

Here’s a fridge that’s not exactly smart. Nevertheless, you could say, the force is strong in this one.

Luke Skywalker’s robot companion was replicated and this one is actually a remote-controlled roaming fridge that can hold maybe a few drinks. At $8,300 it’s a little pricey for something can hold just a few cans of beers, but hey just imagine sitting beside R2D2, and not running out of refreshments as you binge-watch the Star Wars films.

Unfortunately this adorable fridge isn’t on display.

“It turns out that it’s a Haier Asia refrigerator. That arm of Haier has the Disney license to show the droid in Asia, but Disney hasn’t given approval for the beer-toting R2-D2 to appear in America,” a report on techhive.com said. That’s just too bad.

Connected Home

From Smart Fridges we move on to smart fans.

Smart Fans

Hunter Fan Company showed off two models called Symphony and Signal. Both fans have Wi-Fi built-in letting users connect it to Apple HomeKit – the Cupertino company’s program for connecting and controlling your devices at home. So you can turn on or off the fan either by a few taps or ask Siri to do it for you.

Hydrao Smart Shower

If you’re concerned about how much water you use up in the shower, there’s also a nifty tech to help you monitor and manage your water use. Called the Hydrao Smart Shower, it connects to your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth that gives you three alert levels letting you know if you’re reaching an alarmingly large amount of water in the shower.

Other Tech
Sony PS-HX500

Sony loves taking care of audiophiles and the PS-HX500 turntable is just another testament to that.

The PS-HX500, which desperately needs an actual name, is more than just your average turntable. Sure, it can play any of the old records you have lying around, and that’s great but its headline feature is letting you convert the records into Hi-Res audio whether it be Sony’s DSD file format or into 24-bit WAV files.

Ili – Wearable Translator

Breaking the language barrier is a daunting task and the most popular solution thus far – Google Translate – though useful, is still very much far from perfect. Ili by Logbar brings us a step closer with it’s wearable translator. Speak into it and it’ll and sound off the translation for you. Currently the only available languages are English, Japanese, and Chinese. Ili will slowly roll out updates and that could they’re being thorough with the translations. Languages in the pipeline are French, Thai, Korean, Spanish, Italian, and Arabic.

Plus it’s introduction video is pretty catchy parodying the many videos on YouTube of guys trying to get kisses from random girls. Except in this one they have an English-speaking white dude trying to get smooches from Japanese women.

LG’s rollable 18-inch display

LG seems to be a fan of rolling things. Back at IFA 2015 they showed off the Rolly Keyboard and now at CES 2016 they show off something that you could potentially pair with that rollable keyboard – a rollable display.

Yep. Not sure why you would want to roll displays, for portability maybe, but LG shows it’s doable as it flaunted an 18-inch, 1-millimeter-think OLED display. It’s just a prototype at this point but the company hopes to bring it to the market in the next few years. Maybe we’ll see roll-up smartphones soon.

How would you like to wake up to the smell of the ocean? Or coffee, or chocolate? No, seriously. If you’re not a fan of loud sounds disturbing your wonderful slumber, you might want to try this alternative – Sensorwake.

Instead of blasting your ear the Sensorwake aims to gently wake you up by releasing a pleasant scent. Sounds crazy? Not so much. Raising over $200,000 as a KickStarter project, Sensorwake reportedly has a 99% success rate of waking people up.

There are currently six scents available: ocean, lush jungle, croissant, coffee, chocolate or peppermint. So, what scent would you want to wake up to? We think the absence of bacon is a huge oversight. ;)

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