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The weird, wacky and wonderful tech of CES 2019

Tech and Innovation 5G

Posted on January 11, 2019

4 min read

At CES in Las Vegas every year, we always see a glimpse of the latest and greatest tech that will one day end up in our pockets and in our homes. There’s also some less conventional, more niche gadgets on show – and sometimes those are the most interesting ones!

CES 2019 is full of bleeding-edge tech for your home, your office and your backpack or purse. Some of it is for a very specific purpose, maybe too specific – think pet feeders with facial recognition, belts that measure your waistline, and beds that customise their firmness for your sleeping pattern each night.

Most of the buzz around CES 2019 was about 5G – and this is the year where the talk becomes reality. We’ve got 5G up and running in all major Australian cities, our first 5G device unveiled and exclusive 5G device partnerships on the way, and we’re excited to share more with you soon. But enough about 5G – let’s look at some of CES’s more unconventional products on show.

Your smart home is getting even smarter, and stylish

It was definitely the kitchen and living room that seemed to be getting the most digital attention at this year’s CES. Samsung’s latest Family Hub fridge has a touchscreen tablet built into the door to look up recipes, share notes with family and even order groceries, and KitchenAid had a Google-connected smart display on show that can survive splashes from your exploding banana smoothie. If we had a favourite, though, it would be LG’s 4K OLED TV that rolls up out of the way when it’s not in use.



The other technological innovation that caught our attention – although it doesn’t look particularly high-tech – was Mui, which the gadget’s makers call a ‘Calm Design Device’ but we call a Wi-Fi connected block of wood. Hidden behind that block of wood is a screen that can display the weather, control your speakers or air conditioner, or respond to questions through Google.



The stand-out ‘smart’ home gadget from CES for us this year was the Foldimate, a device that looks like an oversized photocopier. It doesn’t print and collate your documents, though – it folds your shirts and undies. By all accounts it was a bit of a crumpled disaster last year, but the proof is in the video below.


Robots are getting even more helpful

Every man and his robotic dog had some kind of smart electronic assistant on display at CES 2019, each with a different purpose. Many robot manufacturers are touting the power of their machines’ artificial intelligence, and personal care was high on the agenda. Samsung’s Bot Care can take your vital signs and even dispense medication at the right time of day. The Bot Air looks like a garbage bin, but it’s actually a trundling air purifier.




Another robot with an even more therapeutic bent was the Lovot Groove X – just ignore the name – made to forge an emotional connection and “heal your heart” with friendly affectations. It might look like a Furby on steroids, but there’s plenty of studies to show that robots like this can become a genuine friend to those in need.



Robotics also includes autonomous vehicles, using their own cloud-connected smarts and sensors to navigate around our cities and suburbs. Or, as the case may be, around our skies – check out Bell Labs’ Nexus electric air taxi, which boasts nearly 250km of range and a top speed of nearly 250 kilometres per hour.



And, of course, there’s just the straight-up wacky tech of CES, robots and more. Feast your eyes on some of the weirdest gadgets we’ve ever seen on display below, as well as a few 5G prototypes and connected tech from our partners: