In Depth

The weird tech of CES 2019: talking toilets, cat-scanning bowls and more

Cutting-edge technology from the stranger side of the Las Vegas show

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is now in full swing in Las Vegas. The annual trade event plays host to some of the wackiest and most exciting innovations in the world. 

So far the show, which ends on Friday, has seen Samsung launch a 98in 8K smart TV, Intel unveil its latest Ice Lake computer processor and Hyundai reveal a four-legged emergency vehicle concept.

CES is also the place where start-up companies unveil concept products that they hope will one day become a hit with tech fans. Some of these devices may prove vital to the tech industry, while others may disappear without a trace.

Here’s our pick of the weird and wonderful gadgets of CES 2019:

Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet

Smart home gadget firm Kohler has unveiled a groundbreaking toilet that promises a “fully immersive experience” for those who use it. 

The Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet is unlike any other lavatory on the market. It’s equipped with ambient lighting to “set the mood”, a heated seat for chilly days and speakers that allow users to listen to music, The Verge reports. 

The smart toilet supports Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, allowing users to create music playlists by issuing commands, the website says.

Orders will open at the end of this year, with prices starting at a jawdropping $7,000 (£5,490). 

Foldimate

Technology could soon consign the tedious task of folding clothes to the history books.

Israeli tech start-up Foldimate has unveiled a robot that’s capable of folding all sorts of clothing with minimal assistance.

Users simply insert items of clothing into the robot by clipping them in at the top of the device, says TechRadar. About five seconds later, the robot “spits them out at the bottom and makes a bell noise when it’s complete.”

The company is aiming to launch the laundry robot towards the end of this year. It will cost around $980 (£769), the tech site says.

Mookkie cat bowl

Stampa

Face-scanning technology has become a key feature of the latest range of smartphones. Now a team of engineers at the New York-based firm Volta are using the technology to bring hi-tech products into the world of pets. 

The company’s latest product, Mookkie, is a cutting-edge feeding bowl that ensures stray animals don’t steal food you put down for your cat. The bowl automatically locks the food behind a plastic door, which only opens when the owner’s cat walks up to it, says the tech news site Tom’s Guide

The bowl also connects to a smartphone app, allowing pet owners to monitor how often their cat is eating, the site says. 

Bowls of this kind don’t come cheap. Mookie has a price tag of around $189 (£148). 

Lumen

Deciding what to have for supper can be a challenge and this is where Lumen comes in. It’s a smartphone app that determines what foods you should eat based on the results of a breathalyser test.

The US-based start-up firm, which has raised $2m (£1.57m) through the crowdfunding site Indigogo, has developed an inhaler-shaped product that’s capable of measuring carbon dioxide levels in the user’s breath, the BBC reports. 

When the inhaler is used, it sends the data to a smartphone app. The software then evaluates your metabolism and suggests meals that will help you stock up on carbohydrates or fats, depending on the inhaler’s results. 

The Lumen inhaler will be available to order this summer for $299 (£235). Customers who pre-order it will qualify for a discounted price of $250 (£200).

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