There’s never any shortage of interesting things at the Consumer Electronics Show, especially devices or software that will transform the way people consume entertainment.
Then there are the oddities. These items may never be a big sales success — and may not even reach store shelves — but they each share a “what the heck is that?” quality that deserves some sort of recognition:
HapiFork: In a nation where obesity is running rampant, there’s certainly a place for technology to help control the problem. We’re just not convinced the HapiFork is it. The system tracks how fast you eat — as well as your total forkfuls per meal. If you bring the fork to your mouth more than once every 10 seconds, it will light up and vibrate, warning you to slow down. Is it effective? It’s impossible to say without testing. Is it expensive? Definitely. The HapiFork will cost $100 when it hits retail.
iPotty: Does technology have a place when it comes to potty training? Billions and billions of adults who managed to learn how without any gadgets might argue otherwise, but CTA Digital is trying to make the case. The company has unveiled a potty with an iPad attached, theorizing that kids will be more likely to sit still while nature takes it course, distracted by the tablet. It works with apps that reward kids who are successful in their quest. Think of it as the modern equivalent of training kids to read the newspaper on the can.
Dexim Music Stylus: The stylus is a pretty barebones device. For people who want to draw on their tablet or navigate with something other than their finger, it’s fine. But there’s no real tech in the tool — until now. Dexim’s stylus connects to your smart phone or tablet via Bluetooth, letting users both listen to music through it or talk to friends, if a call comes in. It will cost $80 when it launches in the second quarter.
QAT Audio Tech MS5 home music server: Music servers? Good idea. Music servers that automatically rip CDs when you put them in there? Even better. Music servers with enormous 2TB hard drives? Fantastic! China’s QAT Audio seems to have all the ingredients for success. It even won a Best of Innovation award. So what’s the problem? The horse-choking $6,000 price tag. The company says it’s still looking for a distributor.
Parrot’s Flower Power: If your green thumb comes from having to paint your long-dead houseplants, Parrot might have the answer. The Paris-based company has created a sensor that’s stuck in flower pots and alerts owners when they’re running low on water, when there are problems with the soil and when it needs some sunlight. The company’s not talking price or launch date at this point, but says it will hit the market this year.