More CES 2020: The Weird and Wacky Applications of Tech

The lifting of the ban on sex tech is not the only intriguing development at CES 2020. The event wouldn’t be the same without the bizarre, eccentric, and novelty tech items. Here’s a rundown of the peculiar technologies sported at the annual Las Vegas tech show.

OneWheel Yeti Cooler

Who thinks it would be a good idea to combine a high-end cooler and a skateboard together? Apparently, the guys responsible for OneWheel Yeti Cooler do. They created a device that can carry beverages or food while regulating the temperature to keep the contents cold or hot for as long as possible, and one human rider.

Image credit: OneWheel, fair use (YouTube video screenshot)

It’s not hard to imagine how difficult it would be to ride this electric skateboard. Oh—did we mention that OneWheel indeed has only one wheel? Not many do well riding skateboards with four wheels. Imagine the challenge of riding one with just one. Here’s a video clip of the OneWheel cooler, which is exactly a cooler with one wheel fabricated to be tough enough to be rideable. 

Charmin’s Toilet Paper Robot

It’s a robot designed to bring toilet paper to you when you need it. What’s not weird and wacky about that? There’s nothing innovative and sensible about it, except maybe for the possibility that it’s just a marketing ploy to get people to talk about Charmin at a tech event. Charmin is an American brand of toilet paper. This robot barely does not have AI in it to “guess” if you have already run out of toilet paper and go to your aid. It can’t even navigate its way to your bathroom on its own. You have to program it first to get the right path.

Image credit: Charmin, fair use (YouTube video screenshot)

Charmin’s Fart Sensor

Another silly idea from Charmin is its fart sensor. No, it’s not a device that identifies the person who just farted. What it does is to indicate whether or not the toilet room is “safe for your nostrils.” It measures the stinkiness of the room, especially after someone uses it, to warn the next user of the offending smell. With it installed, the next user would know if they want to wait for a few minutes first to let the undesirable odor dissipate.

Image credit: Charmin, fair use (YouTube video screenshot)

Segway-Ninebot’s S-Pod

Segway is not done trying to achieve what it failed to attain back in the day. Now with Ninebot in its name (after it was purchased by a Chinese company in 2015), the creator of the self-balancing personal vehicle appeared at CES 2020 to show a new device called S-Pod.

This new personal vehicle tries to address the pitfalls of the old Segway, which was notably expensive, prone to accidents, and inconvenient to use as it required riders to stand for extended periods. S-Pod is marketed as a personal transporter that makes use of the highlight Segway self-balancing feature. But it has an uninspired twist: a third wheel. This third wheel is meant to make it easier for users to embark on the device and prevent riders from falling. It makes the unit stable whenever it stops.

Image credit: Segway, fair use (YouTube screenshot)

If you fancy going around the city, parks, or hallways looking like a X-Men’s Professor X, you may want to waste money on this fancy vehicle capable of running up to 25 MPH and has a range of 40 miles.

OHCO’s Esqape VR Massager

Massage chairs are a regular presence in the annual CES event. However, there’s something about Esqape that makes it a standout as far as bizarreness is concerned. It is touted as the “world’s first VR massage experience,” but as one writer for Gizmodo writes, the Esqape massage chair neither offers the fun of playing a VR video game nor the relaxation of getting a massage. It provides something interestingly unusual, but the combination of virtual reality and machine massaging does not seem to work. Or perhaps the creators of Esqape need to do more tweaks first to achieve the desired effects.

Sauce Slider

Do you need to move your sauce to another plate without leaving traces and altering its shape? Then the Sauce Slider is for you. This handy device snappily projects a thin non-stick tongue-like component to scoop whatever sauce you want to pick up. It looks interesting, but still largely devoid of practical applications. It can be used to pick up sauces that spill onto the floor or table, but who wants to buy a device worth hundreds of dollars just to clean spilt sauces?

Petit Qoobo 

Do you want a fat cat without a head but with a wagging tail for a pillow? Do you want people to think you’re weird? Then get a Petit Qoobo. This robotics-infused cushion is the newer version of the Qoobo that debuted some two years ago. It’s not that different from its older sibling, except for the smaller size, which means you can carry it around more easily as you travel, and attract the curious gazes of strangers.

The tech listed here are not necessarily bad and totally unwanted. If anything, they are an amusing demonstration of how there’s still a lot to  explore and develop when it comes to technology. They may not be the best examples of consumer tech, but they help spark ideas of what to avoid or what to improve on next time.