Wednesday, January 16, 2013

International CES

Ner ner ner ner, outside the hotel window
Photo Credit:  Bailey Karfelt

Let’s skip over why this fiction writer was at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas wearing an engineer badge, and just get to the good stuff. There was plenty of shtuff, but let's keep an open mind. The massage section intrigued, and was my favorite - a veritable gymnasium of back rubbing possibility! 

HealthmateForever makes a device that looks like an iPod, only instead of headphones you attach electrodes to your back and it generates low frequency bioelectrical pulses. Am pretty sure I had similar treatment to this once in Physical Therapy. I saw knock-offs of this product around Las Vegas, but the salesman insisted HealthmateForever is the only one with FDA approval. You can control the speed, and type of shock. It felt like various electrical zaps, painless though sometimes uncomfortable. Some people adored it. I would much prefer having my back rubbed by hands. Though, after sitting through a sales pitch for fifteen minutes while wearing it, I have to admit that I dragged my bag through the conference the rest of the day and my shoulders didn’t cramp up. Possibly a coincidence, can’t say for sure. It’s out of my price range, besides I’d give it a week before I lost the wire connector or washed the electrodes.

A robo-massager
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

There were rows of massage recliners, very cushy and inviting given the million square feet I was traipsing. Sadly with 150,000 attendees, there were long lines and a scrum whenever one opened up, so I didn’t get to try it. Though I had a vision of it too, broken, in the corner of my living room, one visit from my friendly neighborhood giant and that puppy wouldn’t be rubbing anyone’s back. Besides, I prefer Robbie, my massage therapist. Someone who responds to, “Is that all you got?”  There were also helmets that gave some type of head massage. They looked very Jetsons meets Total Recall, and I envisioned a vibrating head and biting my tongue.

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

The brain wave sensors came next. Yep, a headband you can wear at home while it senses your brain’s activity. I quizzed a woman working the Muse Brain Wave Sensor Band booth. Why do you want your brain waves sensed? The reply is it can tell you when you're stressed. And you can see how your brain is working and know if it is working efficiently. (I think we can all answer these questions right off, for free.)  It can improve your focus. (I like to focus on bits of several things at once. I’m doing it on purpose.)  You can connect Muse to your Bluetooth and track your results. Is this something you'd do? I do not want to have to do paperwork or keep stats on my brain. But in the future, I am told, we will be able to play games or operate appliances using this technology. I already use my brain to play games, and my arms too (mad skills, right here), and if my appliances were to ever do what I’m thinking – there would be random explosions happening throughout my house. Just today, look what my dryer did to me. I’m simply not cut out for housework I tell you. I wish that sucker HAD known what I was thinking, but don’t worry, I told it.

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt
My favorite brainwave detector headband had cat ears on top of it. They moved to show people how you were feeling. I didn’t get to try it on, and I really wanted to see what position they moved into for “feeling like an ass with cat ears on my head”.

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

The robotic section included plenty of furry electronic pets, considered therapeutic. Robo Seal  because I suppose a real seal wouldn’t be nearly as clean for a nursing home. The Dancing Robots were interesting, the technology intriguing. I’m sure great things will be engineered with it. In the meantime I’d rather scratch a live stinky dog, or dance with real people. How do you feel about robotic pets, and Dancing Robots?

In the realm of household appliances, there were devices that clean your windows and those little vacuums that trip around your house vacuuming all day long. I asked, “What about the socks on the floor?” and was told to pick them up first. Well, sheesh, can’t we get one of those dancing robots to pick up socks?  Do you have any use for an automatic vacuum that will kill itself choking on a sock? 

Then there is the hapifork . It’s an electronic fork that criticizes your eating habits. It’s based on the eat-slower, eat-less, feel-fuller philosophy. Personally I can take an hour to eat my morning bowl of oatmeal, so I don’t think that is my problem. Unless hapifork is used on chocolate, soda, and cookies, I just don’t see how it can work. Though some friends asked what hapifork does to you for being bad, now there is an interesting idea. Maybe next year one of the dancing robots will chase you with it. What do you think about that idea?

My favorite gadget is practical. Liquipel - is a coating that will waterproof your electronics. Worst gadget?  Hah, you be the judge.

Photo Credit:  Bailey Karfelt

Click to judge -> CES Unveiled (Call of the Weird) Video

There were absolutely NO hover suitcases, and not even a whiff of a Stargate, and I cannot tell you how disappointed I was in that. If you could have any gadget you can dream up, what would it be?  


  1. You'll remember the tails I was telling you about? The ones that wag when you're happy...I think they'd go with the ears quite nicely.
    I think if I could dream up any gadget it would be a super house cleaner. Or maybe a Smarthouse that kept itself clean?
    I don't like cleaning, so that's where my thoughts are.
    But I think it would be awful if I could control my technology with my brain.
    I'm pretty sure I'd hurt someone.
    And I don't think I could pull it off as being an accident...

  2. Very entertaining blog. I am fan. Gadget...hmmm. The debt eraser o matic 5000. That I wouln't mind taking out a second mortgage for. Lol.

  3. Am with you Kelsey on a self-cleaning house. Imagine? Good point on controlling technology with your brain. What if your first thought when the doorbell rings, and your writing, isn't a very friendly one?

    I wished I'd had my phone coated in Liquipel this week. It - um - fell into a bowl of water. If you know what I mean. A bag of rice overnight saved it! Still, next phone I'm trying out that product on. A necessary technology in my opinion!

  4. LaDonna - Those would sell well in this economy. If they had them, I missed it. ;) How about a fuzzy robot that goes with you and never lets you spend money? "You don't need bottled water, pour a glass at the sink for free." "Make your own coffee at home, what are you thinking?" "Buy the storebrand, it's cheaper." "You don't need shoes." "No chocolate, no cookies, no chips, put it back." Their murdered little electronic bodies would be smashed in parking lots everywhere.