Every year, the Consumer Electronics Show and its cavalcade of new gadgets never fails to delight and amaze. But there are also plenty of devices unveiled at the annual tech-fest that bewilder and leave many observers scratching their heads.
- Futuristic electric racecar unveiled by mysterious firm Faraday Future
- Virtual reality may not be ready for prime time just yet
Here are 10 devices shown off at CES Unveiled, the preview event ahead of the main attraction that officially kicks off in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Amazing or bewildering? You be the judge.
France's Netatmo, which has met with success selling smart home and environment monitoring products, is getting into the surveillance market with Presence, an outdoor camera that connects to wi-fi networks. Netatmo's differentiator is an algorithm that can distinguish between people, cars and animals.
"You can decide what to be alerted about," says spokesperson Janina Mattausch.
The camera also gives users the option to record to a secure micro-SD card or to a personal server.
The Presence is slated to launch in the second quarter of 2016 at under $300 US, Mattausch says.
This year's Consumer Electronics Show will see many medical-grade devices being made available to consumers. The Reliefband, which treats nausea and vomiting, is among them.
The wrist-watch-like device stimulates the P-6 acupressure point with a mild electric current, which can quickly end nausea, says Mark Goldstone, spokesman for the Philadelphia-based company. "There are no drugs and you're in control, since you can turn it up and down."
The device is available now for $89 US.
Logbar, a company with operations in Japan and California, is promising to make the sort of instant translation seen in science-fiction movies a reality with the ili, a necklace-device that looks a lot like an Apple remote control.
The device will initially translate between English, Japanese and Chinese and doesn't need to connect to anything to do so, according to spokesperson Christine Goff.
The ili has its own operating system and stores its language catalogues entirely within the device. The wearer simply speaks into it and a speaker plays back whatever was said in the desired language.
The company is aiming to release the ili in the summer, with no price announced yet.
A number of startup companies are aiming to become the Keurig of cocktails with machines that can automatically mix alcoholic drinks. Los Angeles-based Somabar's machine has six pods that hold different spirits and mixes, which can be used to create 300 programmed cocktails.
Users can also add their own mixes using the Somabar's associated app.
The idea is to get people drinking more than just the two or three cocktails they know how to make.
"That's the problem the founders are trying to solve. They built it in their living rooms," says spokesman Joseph Dingman.
The device will be available in the second quarter of the year for $449.
With environmental consciousness growing, so too are the number of eco-friendly products at CES. The GoSun Stove is a barbecue-like contraption that cooks food using only solar power.
The stove uses insulated tubes, similar to a thermos, to heat food up to more than 200 degrees Celsius, while the outside of the cooker stays cool.
Provided it's sunny out, it can cook a meal for eight in an hour, according to Patrick Sherwin, founder of the Cincinnati-based company. Cooking times are generally longer in colder climes because the sun is less intense, but that isn't stopping GoSun.
"We have customers in Siberia cooking at minus 30 degrees," Sherwin says.
The GoSun Stove is available for $599 US, or for $749 with an electric upgrade that effectively turns the device into a hybrid for times when the sun isn't shining.
Virtual reality and 360-degree imagery is a big theme at this year's CES, but it's a technology that won't go mainstream unless the average consumer has the tools to capture such photos and videos. Florida-based ICRealTech is hoping to solve that issue with its Allie, which features 360-degree cameras on both horizontal and vertical axes.
"It literally has no blind spots," says president Dmitry Kozko.
The home version of the Allie is available now for $599 US, while the "Go" version — for action sports — will ship in the summer at a similar price, he says. Both stream live to headsets and feature easy posting to Facebook and YouTube, with no post-production necessary.
France's Withings, known for its wi-fi bathroom scales, is back at CES this year, this time with the Thermo — a next-generation personal thermometer.
Spokeswoman Lucie Broto says the Thermo is faster and more accurate than a traditional thermometer because it has 16 infrared sensors that take 4,000 measurements in about two seconds. It also connects to mobile devices via wi-fi or Bluetooth, where an app can track and monitor temperature timelines.
Broto says the Thermo, which will go on sale globally for $99 US in March, is good for parents who want to keep close track of their babies' temperatures.
For the affluent person who simply doesn't have time to go to the dry cleaner, there's the LG Styler, a home steamer that looks very much like a refrigerator.
The personal dry-cleaning unit can steam a veritable wardrobe of clothing in about 20 minutes, according to LG spokesman Colton Moore.
The Styler sells for $2,000 US.
A number of appliance makers have tried to create smart refrigerators that can alert their owners that they're out of a particular food item, but so far none have really caught on. England's Smarter believes it can solve that problem with a simple camera that sticks to the inside-back of the fridge.
The device, which packs a fish-eye lens, snaps a photo each time the fridge door closes, then relays it to its owner. That way, it's easy to see if the ketchup bottle is almost empty.
The device will sell for $130 US, with an expected launch in late summer.
Nobody likes waking up to a screeching alarm clock. France's SensorWake has a better idea: Why not gently rouse in the morning to the sweet smell of baked croissants, espresso coffee or chocolate?
The company's alarm clock uses scent capsules to do just that. Company co-founder Ivan Skybuk says it generally takes one to two minutes to wake someone with a scent, "except if you have a stuffy nose."
An audio alarm goes off after three minutes, just in case.
The clock will be available to Kickstarter backers in May — along with exclusive bacon-scented capsules — with broader retail availability coming in September, Skybuk says.
The device itself will cost $109 US, while the scent capsules, each good for about 30 alarms, are expected to cost about $5 each.