CES 2014: The ten coolest gadgets on display in Las Vegas
From a Chinese mini-drone to a 3D printer that makes pastries, these products are storming the desert
IF YOU’RE interested in the coolest and craziest tech gadgets, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is the biggest and arguably best event of its kind. As this year's CES starts to wind down – it runs from 7 to 10 January – here are ten bleeding-edge gadgets making waves in the desert.
A 3D printer that makes sweets
Sure, 3D printers are exciting, but they seemed the preserve of inner-city industrial designers. Until now, that is. 3D Systems has used CES 2014 to unveil ChefJet, a printer that will make sweets and other sugary treats. There will be two models, says The Register. The standard ChefJet is a monochrome, countertop sized device with a build volume of 200 x 200 x 150mm. The ChefJet Pro can do multiple colours and has a 250 x 250 x 200mm space for pastries and such. ChefJet printable nibbles come in a variety of flavours, including chocolate, vanilla, mint, sour apple, cherry and watermelon.
The white goods you can yell at
Feel the urge to get angry with your appliances? No problem. LG's Home Chat allows users to control their kitchen gadgets using voice commands. The Las Vegas Sun says: "You can even ask your fridge what groceries its out of — in person at home and through text while at the supermarket — ensuring that you’ll never forget to buy milk again.
Flat televisions are so 2013, right? TV manufacturers are leaping onto the curved screen bandwagon thanks to the technology's ability to deliver a better viewing experience. One of the standouts at CES 2014 is LG's 77-inch flexible 4K OLED TV which lets you control the curvature of its display using the TV remote. The range of curve "takes the screen size and viewing distance into account to give you the best viewing experience", reports PocketLint. You won't be able to get your hands on one for a while, but the set "marks the future of curved TVs", says the website.
The Lamborghini with the $50,000 sound system
Something for the person with everything. The Lamborghini Veneno Roadster is a $4.5 million monster that goes from 0-60mph in less than 2.9 seconds. Why is it at CES 2014? Well, the soundsystem is also supercharged. It features an Android-powered touchscreen interface that allows you to control the music, along with subwoofers in the driver and passenger footwells. "To say it was loud would be an understatement," writes PocketLIint.
The drone you can own
Drones don't have a great reputation. But the Phantom 2 Vision aerial system from China promises to take spying on the neighbours to a whole new level. Kept aloft by four rotors, it contains a 14-megapixel camera that can shoot RAW files or 1080p video. You can either watch a live stream of the video or store it on an Android device or iPhone.
Smart socks for runners
The most sophisticated thing about the socks worn by joggers used to be an ability to disguise unpleasant odours. Not any more. Sensoria is a new range of socks from a company called Heapsylon that can track how a user's foot hits the ground, analyse the rhythm of each footfall and calculate stride length, reports the Daily Telegraph. Over time, the socks learn how you run and could alert you to "the possibility of injury or over-exertion". The sci-fi socks will go on sale in March priced at £100 a pair.
An intelligent toothbrush for oral obsessives
Electric toothbrushes are so last century. The product making visitors to CES bristle with excitement this year is the Kolibree. Designed in France, it's a smart toothbrush that analyses users' brushing habits and displays the results on a smartphone app. You'll never miss a molar again. Priced at $99, the Kolibree will go on sale later this year.
The ultimate VR suit for gamers
Microsoft's Kinect promised to turn gamers' bodies into controllers when it was launched in 2010. But Kinect often "failed to capture your movements with true fidelity", reports tech website The Verge. That's not an issue for the full and half-body game controller suits being demonstrated by PrioVR at CES 2014. They use state-of-the-art motion-capture technology to "render your gameplay with great accuracy", says the Verge. Sure, you may look like a heavily-bandaged A&E patient, but the suits offer the "most accurate gesture-based gameplay seen to date". Priced at $270 for the half-body suit and $400 for the full-body suit, the products should be available later this year.
The return of the medallion
OK, the Bluetooth jewellery unveiled by UK company Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) is more elegant (not to mention functional) than the chunky medallions worn by fashion-forward men and women in the 1970s. Designed as a prototype rather than a commercial product, the pendants will flash blue light when a call or text is received by the wearer's smartphone. If blue's not your thing, the colour and sequence of the flashing light can be programmed to suit your mood.
The surrogate mother
The TNW website describes the Barbapapa as a "super-creepy smiley thing" that lives with you and tells you how much water to drink and whether you've been getting enough sleep. Barbapapa will also notice if a door in your home has been left open. The device is one of a clutch of webcam-based monitoring devices set to make waves at CES. You can get more details about Barbapapa here. Fortunately, it won't ask you when you're going to settle down or get a proper job.