Our top five tech announcements from CES 2021
For years, CES has marked the start of a new year by unveiling some of the biggest consumer electronics coming our way. This year has inevitably been very different to before, as it’s been completely virtual, with no in-person events, show floors to explore, or after parties in Las Vegas.
However, one thing hasn't changed is the deluge of weird and wonderful innovations. From furry robots to gaming chewing gum, we’ve picked five of the most exciting announcements from this year’s event.
1. AirPop Active Plus Mask
We’re kicking things off with one we’re actually very excited about. AirPop was very early to the face mask game, and had been making masks for nearly five years by the time the pandemic hit us. Their new Active Plus mask comes with a sensor that connects to your smartphone and monitors everything from breaths per minute, to outside air quality, to the health of the mask’s filter so it can alert you when it needs replacing. It comes in an aerodrome shape so that it doesn’t cling to your face and provides enough air flow to breathe heavily. Sounds like a great way to be able to exercise safely, and we’d love to get our hands on one.
2. Petit Qoobo
It wouldn’t be CES without some bizarre gadgets, and the Petit Qoobo certainly fits into that category. It’s a furry robot designed to provide its owners with comfort and help to counter anxiety. It is available in four realistic shades of faux fur and has a bit of weight to it, so it supposedly feels like a real pet resting peacefully in your lap. And its tail swishes automatically in 80 different movements when it hears the sound of your voice or when you pet it. Probably not one we will be jumping to get, but a cool idea nonetheless.
3. Toto Wellness Toilet
This is a product that definitely seems like a reflection of our times. It’s a toilet that uses multiple cutting-edge sensing technologies to support wellness. It uses a range of sensors to scan each user's health every time they make use of it, and collects data from your faecal matter. An accompanying app promises to help owners track their mental and physical status and recommend lifestyle changes. It’s definitely very unconventional, but still pretty clever.
Wireless headphones like Apple’s AirPods are one of the biggest consumer tech trends of the last five years. Now Bose has given headphones a major redesign: instead of sticking inside your ear canals, these hover just outside of them. Earbuds that make contact can put pressure on sensitive areas, get sweaty, or just fly out if you move too fast. And for runners and bikers, headphones that close you off to the world can be dangerous if you can’t hear approaching traffic. If you don’t like the feeling of conventional headphones, these could be for you.
5. XPG Mana Caffeinated Chewing Gum
We know that this one is not strictly tech, but it caught our attention so we thought it deserved a feature on this list. XPG’s new gaming gum is packed with ingredients like caffeine for attention and lutein for eye health. It promises to be an energising consumable that doesn't require constant sipping and potential distraction from the high action of a game. There's currently no word on pricing or availability, but lots of gamers seem to be excited for this one.
CES delivers some real winners each year, but it is also a breeding ground for weird technologies. We’re already looking forward to seeing what CES 2022 brings to the table.