CES 2019: from beer tech to a banned sex toy – 10 standout gadgets

Also unveiled in Las Vegas: the world’s first rollable TV and Alexa for your toilet

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas revealed what the tech world has in store for us this year. From the spectacular to the controversial – as well as some total tosh – here are 10 of the most memorable products unveiled at CES 2019 last week.

Rollaway TVs

The LG Signature OLED TV R9 unrolls from its base
The LG Signature OLED TV R9 unrolls from its base. Photograph: Steve Marcus/Reuters

After years of promises, the world’s first truly rollable telly is LG’s 65in Signature OLED TV R9. Forget the clunky name, LG finally has a TV that rolls up and out of the way when not in use.

Turn it on and the TV extends upwards from the base to offer everything a top-class 4K HDR OLED TV should. There is even a “line view” mode that allows just the top of the television to peek out of the base to show a clock and other bits. The TV supports Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Apple’s AirPlay 2.

Expect an eye-watering price tag later this year.

Intelligent toilets

Kohler’s Numi smart toilet
Kohler’s Numi smart toilet has Alexa built in. Photograph: AP

Have you ever wished your toilet was able to talk to you? Probably not. But not content with a Japanese-style heated seat and auto cleaning and drying systems, the US toilet maker Kohler has shoved Amazon’s Alexa into its new loo, too.

The Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet promises a “fully immersive experience” with fancy “dynamic and interactive multicoloured ambient and surround lighting”, built-in speakers and voice control. A snip at about $7,000 – or $9,000 if you want it in black.

“Alexa, flush for me.” What could possibly go wrong?

Body-powered watches

The Matrix PowerWatch 2 smartwatch never needs charging using your body heat to generate electricity.
The Matrix PowerWatch 2 uses body heat to power itself. Photograph: Matrix

What if your smartwatch used you as a human battery so it never needs charging? That’s precisely what the Matrix PowerWatch 2 promises, sucking heat from the wearer’s skin to generate electricity, alongside a hidden solar panel for good measure.

The watch is water-resistant to 200m, has a colour screen, shows notifications and will track steps, sleep and health with a heart rate monitor on the back and GPS for runners. It’s compatible with iPhone and Android, selling through the crowdfunding site Indiegogo for $199-$395, to ship in June.

Banned sex toys

Lora DiCarlo’s Osé Massager
Lora DiCarlo’s Osé massager. Photograph: Lora DiCarlo/PA

Electronic gadgets come in many forms, including tools for pleasure. Although not, apparently, at CES when developed by an almost all-female team using patent-pending technology in micro-robotics, biomimicry and engineering.

Osé, an intimate massager that “mimics all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue and fingers” to feel “just like a real partner”, was originally selected as a CES 2019 Innovation Award honouree but was then dumped and banned from the show for being “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane”.

CES’s organisers are now facing accusations of gender bias, given sex dolls for men were launched at the event last year and pornography has been featured in its virtual reality booths for years.

Samsung TV with iTunes

Samsung’s smart TVs
Samsung’s smart TVs will soon come with an Apple iTunes app. Photograph: Samsung

Apple, notorious for blocking others from using its technology, has not only started licensing its AirPlay 2 media streaming system to TV manufacturers including Sony, LG and Vizio, but has also announced that an iTunes app will be available on its arch-rival Samsung’s smart TVs.

Expect an Apple TV streaming service to launch this year, then.

Walking car

Hyundai says its Elevate walking car could be the perfect go-anywhere emergency response vehicle.
Hyundai says its Elevate walking car could be the perfect go-anywhere emergency response vehicle. Photograph: AP

The Korean car company Hyundai has unveiled a car that can walk. The Elevate is capable of both “mammalian and reptilian walking gaits” using four articulated robotic legs that extend out from traditional wheel arches but that can fold back down and drive like a regular car.

At least that’s the theory. Experts are sceptical that Hyundai’s “limitless” design will actually work. But if it does, the car that “can climb a 5ft wall, step over a 5ft gap, walk over diverse terrain and achieve a 15ft wide track width” will apparently be brilliant for emergency services and rescue vehicles.

Bleeding vegan burger 2.0

Impossible Burger 2.0 is a purely plant-based convincing vegan meat substitute that even ‘bleeds’.
The Impossible Burger 2.0. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Not everything at CES requires electricity. Impossible Food launched the second iteration of its meat-free Impossible Burger. It claims its soy-based meat substitute looks, tastes and feels like a beef patty; it even “bleeds” and was convincing enough to make one vegetarian reviewer heave.

The Impossible Burger 2.0 “delivers all the taste meat lovers crave – without compromise to nutrition or the planet”, according to the company’s COO, David Lee. It is now on sale in a few fast food restaurants in Las Vegas, with a US rollout scheduled for later in the year.

HomeBrew pods

LG’s HomeBrew is the Nespresso for beer no one has been asking for.
LG’s HomeBrew is the ‘Nespresso for beer’ no one has been asking for. Photograph: Steve Marcus/Reuters

Have you ever wished for a Nespresso machine but for beer? LG’s HomeBrew might be the answer to your prayers.

Pop in one big and three smaller Nespresso-esque capsules and hit the button. The HomeBrew will then produce five litres of beer from a choice of American IPA, American pale ale, stout, pilsner and Belgian witbier. It even cleans itself at the end.

The catch? It takes two weeks to brew ...

Silent motoring

Bose, maker of world-class noise cancelling headphones, wants to make car journeys silent, using the vehicle’s speakers. Its QuietComfort Road Noise Control system aims to suppress road noise, using a series of accelerometers and microphones to cancel out unwanted sound waves using the vehicle’s sound system.

Conventional systems simply pack the doors and floor with insulation but the problem is much bigger for electric cars, which lack the ambient sound of a combustion engine to mask the irritating roar of rubber on road.

Automatic makeup

Procter and Gamble’s Opté skincare system
Procter & Gamble’s Opté skincare system detects and masks blemishes. Photograph: Procter & Gamble

Science fiction has long been filled with gadgets that automatically apply makeup. At CES, Procter & Gamble turned sci-fi into reality with a wand that scans the face and then precisely applies makeup.

The Opté Precision Skincare System detects the colour and pigment of skin using a camera, detects blemishes and then covers them with the exact amount of makeup needed to seamlessly erase them. The system prints makeup on to the skin using tiny inkjet-like nozzles.


Samuel Gibbs

The GuardianTramp

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