Earlier this week, nearly 200,000 tech enthusiasts and exhibitors from the world over descended on the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV. There have been a great many robots, even including a
toilet paper robot. There have been mattresses. In fact, there have been smart versions of nearly every household appliance the mind could dream up. Also, a $9,000 oxygen chamber. As a CES newbie, I have been nothing short of overwhelmed by the more than 4,500 exhibiting companies on the show floor, wandering around with my CES media lanyard and probably looking more like a college freshman during orientation. Needless to say, I have seen a lot of crazy stuff. But my favorites can be distilled into a few key categories: namely, robots, vibrators, and of course, all the beauty. Ahead, here's what is jumping out as the key tech trends of 2020. There's A Robot For That
The robots showed up big time this year, from
, which promises to bring you toilet paper when you're otherwise occupied, to a series of freakishly cute robots intended not for productivity but instead for emotional support.
Of this latter group, my favorites were
Qoobo, pictured here
, a self-described "tail cushion that heals your heart." While it does not respond to voice commands the way
Sony's Aibo robot dog
does (or is at least supposed to), Qoobo responds to pats and caresses and wags its tail accordingly.
Even cuter than Qoobo and Aibo is
Lovot, another robot
intended to provide emotional therapy. It kind of looks like a hobbit with a camera on its head and rolls around on wheels whilst batting its big, round eyes. You can also dress it in a
flannel t-shirt and glasses
. It will follow you, coo at you, and cuddle you. And it
can all be yours for $3,000
— that is, when it comes to the U.S...whenever that will be. (It's currently only on-sale in Japan.) It is perfection, and I think my cortisol levels dropped immediately when I spotted it amidst the madness of the CES showroom floor.
Samsung is also throwing its hat in the ring with a
new robot called Ballie
— a less cute Aibo that rolls around and doubles as a home security device as well as a fitness assistant. I also observed a robot named
Reachy (made by Pollen Robotics)
playing tic tac toe, and
Roboclette, a Swiss robot
that slices cheese.
More Face Scanners Aplenty
You heard it here first — skin analysis apps are going to be everywhere this year. (A personal horror to me — I can't stand taking a selfie and having all of my face's flaws pointed out to me by my phone — but it's apparently a thing that the people seem to want.)
Neutrogena's Skin360 app
, you take a photo of your face, and the app does the work for you — recommending a unique combination of products meant to address your specific skin issues and then tracking your progress over time. Of course, it should be noted that the app only recommends Neutrogena products, of which there are certainly many, but if you really have problem skin, you're still better off seeking help from a professional rather than an AI assistant.
L'Oréal's new Perso at-home skin treatment
device takes this technology a step further by dispensing personalized foundation, lipstick, and skincare combinations from its accompanying device based on your skin concerns. Duolab and Reduit, two French beauty companies, also caught my attention for their similar personalized dispensing systems for skincare and haircare, respectively. All three of these dispensing systems come in futuristic, shiny robot-looking devices. Whether or not all the smoke and mirrors are necessary, I'm not sure, but at a moment where items like beauty mini fridges are sweeping the culture, these seemingly very extra devices feel right in line.
And then there was a literal inkjet printer for your face made by
Opté Skincare that scans your face
for hyper-pigmentation and then uses printing technology to cover it all up with serum in one single movement.
More More Than Just A Bullet
Sex tech has had a fraught history at CES (just last year,
Lora DiCarlo's innovation award was rescinded
and the company was banned) but it's finally getting its due time in the spotlight. I've seen
of fancy vibrators, proving that long gone are the bullets of yesteryear. I have come across no fewer than 10 vibrators on the showroom floor this year, and on the whole, they've been both smart and sleek AF.
Lioness is a smart vibrator
that provides AI assistance for your orgasms. There's
, which debuted a new very compact and very bendable
device called Poco
that looks like a tiny and cute finger.
, a sex tech veteran, that let's you connect your music to your vibrator and, say, make it pulse along to "Love in This Club" if you so desire and lets you share the experience remotely.
then there's Lora DiCarlo
— perhaps the sleekest-looking of the bunch, which debuted three new products, including a personal massager called Osé (pictured in the center) that does...a lot of stuff at once. And of the more simple variety is
Crave, known for their vibrator necklaces
and now rings, which pass as cool jewelry pieces but double as powerful sex toys.
More Smart House
From smart toilets to smart cooking assistants, CES was full of literally every household appliance and accessory made smart.
I played basketball with a voice-activated Simplehuman trash can. I stood in front of a smart mirror with the ability to detect outfit repetition (
Nessa by Shiftall
). I watched in awe as different food dishes were placed beneath an augmented reality pendant lamp (
BeamAR by Shiftall
) that then projected the name of the food onto the table beside it.
I also watched as a
Litter-Robot spun around (with a toy cat inside of it
), demonstrating its ability to self-clean, and marveled at many smart toilets. For example,
Kohler's Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet
, which has dynamic lighting, Alexa functionality, Bluetooth, and a heated seat, because doesn't want to ask Alexa to play "thank u next" whilst sitting on the toilet.
More Meditation Station
This year, we saw huge strides in health technology — from the practical to the plain ol' extra.
brought innovations in new wearable breast pumps, and kegel machines were on full display from Elvie and OhMiBod.
As far as wearables, the
Embr Wave bracelet is a personal thermostat
that uses thermal science to improve sleep and well-being.
Muse is a fabric headband
for biofeedback-enhanced meditation meant to optimize relaxation.
I also watched a $9,000 oxygen chamber spin on a swivel and pump oxygen into its leather interior as well as, like, four smart toothbrushes and toilets.
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