Some of the world's coolest and whackiest technologies have once again come together at CES 2022. While last year's digital-only event saw MOFLIN, an AI Pet, and a "Stillness bath", this year provided yet another crop of truly odd and unusual products. Though some of these will shortly be available to buy, others have debuted as concepts, and it is not clear if they will be as strange once they are finally available to consumers.
What are some of the strangest technologies at CES 2022?
Here are some of the strangest innovations from this year's CES. Some of these have debuted for the first time, while others are returning from last year, though they are hopefully in a slightly improved state, given that another 365 days have passed since their initial debut.
And if you think that this is all the weird and wonderful stuff to come out of CES, think again. The list is obviously far from exhaustive, and it's also in no particular order.
1. Get play-bitten with Amigami Ham Ham
First up, one of the weirdest products at CES 2022. Tokyo-based robotics startup Yukai Engineering unveiled its Amagami Ham Ham, a plushie that nibbles on your finger. Yup, you read it right. The robot is designed to recreate the somewhat pleasing sensation that people get when human babies and pet animals softly bite on their fingers.
The robot uses a special algorithm, “HAMgorithm,” to randomly select from two dozen “nibbling patterns” to keep users interested. "Most people like the nibbling sensation but know they need to teach their children or pets to stop it, because kids and animals will otherwise bite them with full force eventually. Amigami Ham Ham is a robot that frees humankind from the conundrum of whether ‘to pursue or not to pursue’ the forbidden pleasure,” said Yukai Engineering CMO Tsubasa Tominaga, who came up with the idea for the robot during the company’s internal hack-a-thon earlier this year.
2. The world's tiniest lab, now in your hand
Fluigent, the leader in microfluidics, unveiled OMI, the world’s tiniest lab at CES 2022. OMI can mimic living organs such as skin, lungs, or even the brain. It is smaller than a shoebox and emulates biology through organ-on-chip to predict the human response.
Portable and connected, the in vitro models that are enabled by OMI could provide significant advances in the understanding of aging, the ability to personalize treatments in record time, the development of drugs, and the study of infectious diseases. Experiments are simplified, automated, and reliable – and could also drastically reduce the need for experiments on animals, according to Oakland News Now.
Fluigent’s OMI is one of the first automated human organ modeling platforms on a chip for in vitro testing of drugs, toxins, and therapy. It could also help scientists to develop better modeling of human organs, allowing the culturing of cells in conditions close to the in vivo environment. This, in turn, provides a closer evaluation and prediction of actual human responses.
The company claims the OMI is a step ahead in microfluidics, and will also make it possible to carry out preclinical research much faster, cheaper, and with higher efficiency.
3. This 3D Steering Wheel Display arrived from the future
Japanese nanotech startup Imuzack has developed a prototype display system that enables driver warnings to pop to from the steering wheel and float in midair. What's better, you don't need any eyewear in order to see them.
In order to create the holographic illusion, carmakers would have to embed a 2.8-inch screen in the steering wheel with Imuzak's microlens sitting above it. According to Imuzak, the possibilities for its use are endless, and not limited to vehicles. Someday, we might see 3D midair floating images in places like toilets. elevators, ATMs.
4. Samsung has unveiled an energy harvesting remote!
Last year, Samsung debuted a TV remote that could be recharged using indoor light, or outdoor light using a USB. Back then, it was a "first of its kind" innovation for the brand. At this year's CES, Samsung took it one notch higher and unveiled the Eco Remote that can charge itself by harvesting power from the radio frequencies generated by other devices in your house, such as Wi-Fi routers.
This energy-harvesting process collects RF and converts it via a power-management chip into electric energy to charge the new remote. Last year, Samsung had said that the solar remote would help prevent waste from a projected 99 million AAA batteries over seven years.
5. Your smartphone will finally stop eavesdropping
Pozio Cradle, a listening blocker that also provides wireless charging for smartphones, is now available for orders. The world's first phone charger that prevents eavesdropping was showcased at the CES this week.
"If smartphones were a person, that person would hear our most sensitive conversations and know everything there is to know about us, including our finances, mental and physical health, relationship status, and more. Should that sensitive information get into the wrong hands it could be problematic, to say the least," said Dave Nickel, CEO of Pozio. "We are offering the world's first wireless phone charger that blocks our smartphones from listening to us until we want them to."
Pozio uses patented technology that works in the background to prevent the always-listening microphones in smart devices from hearing private conversations. You can place the smartphone in Pozio Cradle to charge the phone and it immediately starts protecting the user's privacy as well.
6. To pet or to robot?
Macroact's Maicat wants to be your friend. A cute and interactive, AI-powered autonomous robot cat, Maicat incorporates AI into robotics, generating empathetic and personalized experiences for the user.
Autonomous control and AI technology enable the robot to understand and adapt to its environment. At the same time, passive and active sensors support it to navigate and operate in the home, and allow easy integration with other smart home technology via third-party applications. More than a robot cat, Maicat could be the center of the smart home.
7. Snore your troubles away
10minds' Motion Pillow 3 uses sleep tech to tackle snoring, a common sleep issue that affects around 90 million Americans, and can prevent many from getting a good night's rest. The Motion Pillow, which debuted at previous CES events, returned with Motion Pillow 3, which looks unassuming but harbors sophisticated AI technology inside. The pillow has an accompanying AI Motion System fitted with an acoustic sensor to learn the unique sounds and patterns of each individuals' snoring.
Once the AI system recognizes the sound of your snoring, the Motion Pillow, through an air pressure sensor, locates the position of your head. One of the four mini airbags then slowly inflates to turn your head to the side, opening up your airways to reduce or stop the snoring. Once snoring has stopped, the airbag deflates back to its starting position.
There’s also a sleep tracking system that monitors your sleeping patterns and trends, with a companion app to analyze the data. This gives a better understanding of your sleep habits and sleep patterns in general.
8. Your dog will not cross physical boundaries with this tag
Wagz has unveiled the Wagz Tagz accessory, an innovative way to let your dog know where it shouldn't be even when you're not at home to scold it. While a pet can be our best friend, that doesn't mean we want them sleeping on the bed or drinking from the toilet bowl when we're not there. Paired with the Freedom Smart Dog Collar, it's a harmless way to stop your dog from entering the places it shouldn't be in, all while letting it walk around your home or in the yard.
Wagz Tagz works like an invisible barrier, according to a press release. Just clip the Freedom Smart Dog Collar on your pup, then place the tag under a sofa cushion, next to the garbage, or wherever you’d rather your pet not venture. When the collar’s circle of reference meets the tag’s circle, it triggers a humane, shock-free correction whenever your pet enters (or jumps on) an area designated as off-limits or unsafe. Correction options include vibrations, audible cues, and ultrasonic sounds (individually or in combination). Simultaneously, you get a notice on your phone that your dog has attempted to misbehave.
Wagz said the setup is simple and works with both Android and iOS devices. You can set the boundaries from 3 feet up to 15 feet and manage multiple dogs by getting them each a Freedom Collar.
9. This Dendama is 'tricky'
A connected generation of the traditional Japanese Kendama toy, the Dendama, by Axell Co., has three types of sensors that can recognize multiple tricks, thanks to the accompanying mobile app.
The electric ball has been completely renewed and released as a Gummy series with colors that resemble gummy candies. You can enjoy various exclusive games and content by connecting your Dendama with the free "Dendama app" via Bluetooth.
10. Aesthetic, tech-oriented, and soundless. The dream
How about a system that filters noise and complexity out of the mass of incoming information and reduces the data to only what fits a minimalistic display? Mui Lab Inc, a Kyoto-based IoT startup, has introduced a new calm, visual interface that works with Alexa.
The interface is a version of the "mui Board," the company’s award-winning smart-home control hub made with natural wood. When users speak to Alexa, the interface executes their voice commands (e.g., setting a timer) silently via a minimalistic visual display, and provides haptic control (e.g., a control bar) to let users enjoy technological assistance in a brand-new "calm" and peaceful manner.
This mui Board is built on the new “mui Platform” which won a CES 2022 Innovation Award in the Smart Home category. "We envision the technology of the future as one that fits right in with natural human behaviors and environment. Users won’t need to conform their habits to devices’ requirements. Technology will make them happier by further bringing out the humanness of human life. Our ‘mui Platform’ is designed to do just that,” said mui Lab CEO Kaz Oki.
11. Let there be light...that can detect you
Sengled has unveiled its smart light bulb with built-in health monitoring radar technology. Benefits include sleep tracking as well as biometric measurements such as heart rate, body temperature, and other vital signs. The smart bulb uses Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) radar, together with Sengled advanced proprietary AI algorithms to help users monitor health statistics while lighting a room.
The bulb can work alone, or multiple bulbs can be connected via a Bluetooth mesh network work to create a virtual map that can help detect human behavior. It could even determine if someone has fallen, thereby making it an impressive way to monitor whether a person living alone has fallen.
12. A wearable to help men last longer in bed
Morari Medical has once again showcased its 'Mor' sex-tech device that helps stop premature ejaculation and improve men's sexual performance. Still in the prototype stage, the wearable patch is designed to be fitted between the scrotum and anus during intercourse. At the press of a button on a smartphone app, controlled by the wearer or their partner, it can eliminate the urge to ejaculate and improve sexual performance.
Jeff Bennett, CEO and founder of Morari Medical, which developed the patch, said, "PE [premature ejaculation] is the most common male sexual dysfunction and is experienced by 30 percent of men. It’s our mission to use the latest technology to reframe climax control and serve millions of men to drive pleasure, enhance self-esteem, and live a fulfilled, healthy sexual life."
Morari Medical plans to launch Mor in 2023, but has not yet announced pricing.
13. A freaky device that lets the world see what you see
Linklet is a neck-worn device for live streaming and video calling that can be used with video conference system to show other people what you're looking at. The light-weight, hands-free interface allows people on opposite sides of a screen to "co-experience and collaborate in the first person view".
You could use it to record as you cook, get help from a remote specialist with a problem in your home, or give someone a hands-free virtual home tour. It supports Zoom/Microsoft Teams and can be easily connected to video conferencing systems. Since it has a specialized interface, there is no need for complicated operations. Even inexperienced people can use it right away.
Based on an ergonomic design, the wearable' weight is distributed throughout the body, so you don't feel any physical burden when wearing it. It includes a 4K ultra-wide angle high-performace camera and 5 microphones for clear sound.