World’s most incredible gadgets revealed
ROBOTS that just want to be hugged, pillows that train you to stop snoring, bath mats that monitor your posture, and handheld printers to apply makeup to your face were among the wacky but innovative gadgets shown off at a preview of the world's biggest consumer technology show in Las Vegas.
Some of the tech world's biggest brands showed off their latest creations before the Consumer Electronics Show kicks off, alongside innovations from up-and-coming firms with out-of-the-box ideas, and established skincare, audio, and even toothbrush brands looking to upgrade their products.
And consumers are likely to get access to many of the unusual devices within months.
Smart home technology dominated the sneak peek, with everything from makeup to mailboxes getting an intelligent makeover.
Consumer Technology Association research vice-president Steve Koenig said the devices shown at this year's CES wouldn't merely be connected to the internet but would be smart enough to adapt to or predict human behaviour.
"We're increasingly confronted with an entirely new IoT and that is the intelligence of things," he said.
"Artificial intelligence is permeating every facet of our commerce and our culture. We're talking about technology's influence on human behaviour."
Some of the more unusual applications of smart home technology at CES Unveiled focused on sleep, for example, including the Motion Pillow equipped with a microphone to detect snoring, and four airbags that inflate individually to move sleepers when they began snoring.
"The idea is to move the sleeper without actually disturbing them," Tenminds spokesman Chad George said. "It moves them into a position where they can breathe well again."
The second-generation smart pillow is expected to launch in April for $US420 ($A604) .
Other smart sleeping gadgets included a wearable headband designed for bed called the Muse S, which helps the user calm down before resting, and a sensor-packed headband called the UrgoNight, expected to cost $US500 ($A720), in June, that users train with during 20-minute sessions during the day to produce brainwaves that will help them sleep at night.
"It measures special brainwaves clinically associated with sleep," spokeswoman Suzanne Ong said, promising that 15 to 20 sessions could induce a good night's slumber.
CES Unveiled also showed off truly unexpected gadgets for outside the bedroom too, including the Mateo smart bathmat that secretly weighs you and checks your posture while you dry yourself after a shower. It sends an alert to your smartphone if it notices anything awry, and will cost $US179 ($A257) when it's released late this year.
Danby also showed off a smart mailbox to register and protect parcels that will set you back $US399 ($A574) in late October, though users might have to nail it down and connect it to a power source, while Japanese firm iKuddle showed off its 'cat ecosystem' that includes a smart litter box that analyses a kitty's waste, and a connected water fountain and feeder to monitor their health.
And, for humans, there are a host of innovations in skincare and make-up in development.
Procter & Gamble showed off what spokeswoman Lauren Thomas described as "an inkjet printer for your skin" - a handheld device that captures 200 photos of your skin per second to analyse it and then deliver small amounts of pigment and anti-ageing moisturisers.
The Opte is expected to launch in the Australian summer with a price guide of $US600 ($A864) with $US100 ($A144) refills.
L'Occitane also showed off a personalised skincare solution, the Duolab, that takes users through a questionnaire and dispenses personalised moisturiser heated to 37 degrees, and L'Oréal showed three smart make-up devices that dispense personalised skincare, foundation and lipstick based on your outfit, preferences, and information from a wrist-worn tracker.
And, of course, it wouldn't be the Consumer Electronics Show if there weren't robots on show.
Japanese creator Kaname Hayashi won hearts to his adorable Lovot robots, which feature large, animated eyes, a camera to recognise their human partner and a furry exterior designed for patting.
Groove X spokeswoman Nanako Aoki said the adorable roaming androids, which will cost $4000 ($A5760), were designed for "people who live by themselves or families with kids" who just wanted playful company.
Yukai Engineering also showed off an early prototype of its "emotionally available" Bocco Emo robot designed to respond to commands, and Pollen Robotics demonstrated how its humanoid robot Reachy could play noughts and crosses.
The modular robot will be sold to companies interested in training it in parts, with a chest and one arm costing $US9000 ($A12,961), while the whole thing would set you back $US17,000 ($A24,482).
CTA research director Lesley Rohrbaugh said robots and other devices on show were a window to the technology that would transform our homes.
"We expect in the future that he entire home will be connected so it's not just devices and fixtures," she said. "Smart roofing systems, smart walls, that is what we're expecting for the smart home of the future."