Usually, the true beauty of attending CES is venturing through the massive convention hall floors. Once you make it past the bartender robots and see-through TVs, you'll usually discover some nuggets of tech gold that are cool, weird, or both at some small booth near the restrooms.
CES 2021 being completely digital this year, though, we lose out on that chance for discovery. Thankfully my email inbox is so full of enough tech goodies that it almost feels like being CES—weird gadgets included.
Here are just a handful of products I dug out of my CES 2021 emails that made me do a double- (honestly, more of a triple) take:
What it's not: Air filter, slide projector, thermostat
I'll admit, I had no idea what the hell I was looking at when I opened this email from Hedgehog. Part of me was hoping this was somehow related to America's favorite Blue Speedster. So what is it? I'll have them describe it for you.
Hedgehog is a digital guardian that puts your privacy first, with a unique, patent pending algorithm that uses behavioural science, data science and human heuristics to detect and block suspicious activity and devices on your home Wi-Fi.
Your ultimate safe space may not be safe at all.
No product description has ever made me feel both insecure and slightly threatened at the same time. So I ask again, what the hell is Hedgehog? To the best of my knowledge, it seems like a super-secure Wi-Fi smart-home ecosystem that you can set up with a series of devices called Hoglets. Hoglets.
What it's not: An array of desk lamps.
Gaming Headset giant Turtle Beach announced this week that it's acquiring microphone manufacturer Neat. Usually, this sort of news isn't a big deal. But Turtle Beach makes popular headsets, so picking up a microphone company makes a lot of sense with the rise of streaming and podcasting. Here's where the beauty comes in: Neat makes a line of microphones called the Beehive, whose look are really in line with their name.
It's not a huge leap to think Turtle Beach could ditch Neat's yellow and black for a color scheme that isn't as loud. As someone who reviews streaming microphones, I cannot wait to get these funky looking mics on my desk.
Tactigon Skin 2.0
What's it not: Sci-fi sexy scanner, Space iron
When I saw the T-Skin picture, I assumed it was some sex trinket. As it turns out, the Tactigon SKIN 2.0 is a wearable mouse that goes on your hand and uses gestures and voice commands and can be used as a regular mouse.
The video demonstrates how the gestures can be used in gaming, controlling robots, and even master-level PowerPoint presentations, you know, the holy trinity of mouse usage. You can learn more about the T-Skin here (opens in new tab).
What it's not: The left wireless earbud you lost on the bus.
The Love Triangle is a discrete personal massager that should absolutely not go into your ear. This little devil uses "proven Air-Pulse Technology with deep vibrations and a smooth silicone head." Supposedly, "its practical cap ensures hygienic and discreet storage at all times, even on the go."
And course, like all Satisfyer products, it can be connected through the Satisfyer app and costs $50 (opens in new tab).
What it's not: One of those Portal robots.
The Vespera in its large pill-shaped form could literally be anything. I'm sure the last thing you'd expect this thing to be is a high-powered smart telescope.
Any fledging astronomer would appreciate what Vespera can do. The $1,000 telescope can be controlled via smartphone app that will record the stars and galaxies with its camera and share them via social media, which is actually pretty darn cool.
Honorable Mention - KEEP
What it's not: A regular 'nothing to see here, officer/mom', clock.
The KEEP is something I actually saw last year, but I still think about it every day. The Keep Smart Storage may look like a clock, but it's actually a safe to store your weed, and I guess other medication, but mostly weed. KEEP would have been perfect for me back in college when I thought a chin-goatee and boot-cut jeans with sneakers was a good look.
Keep uses two-factor authentication with biometric face and fingerprint via a smartphone app. It even monitors humidity and temperature, and more importantly, it retains a log of all the times the box was opened and close in case you suspect your roommate of pilfering your stash. This ultra-secure weed safe costs $250.