If you thought artificial intelligence was inescapable last year, just wait.
OpenAI might have skipped this year’s CES, but AI is still everywhere at the show—and, before long, many of the products on display here will be making their way to retail. Some of those products have an obvious real-world value, but others might seem a bit of a stretch. Either way, even if you’ve avoided dabbling in AI so far, it’s only going to get harder and harder to circumvent.
Here’s a look at some of the more unusual integrations of the technology on the horizon, some of which make a ton of sense—and some of which feel more than a little forced.
LG’S AI ROBOT
LG got a headstart on CES, announcing this two-legged AI smart-home robot in late December. The foot-tall device, which connects with smart-home devices, will wander your place , looking for minor household hitches (like a light switch left on) and keeping an eye on your pet.
Things take a bit of a creepy turn, though, when the robot greets you at the door and discerns your mood by analyzing your voice and facial expressions—then turns on music or other content to suit how you’re feeling.
RCA SMART BIRD FEEDER
Amateur ornithologists will have a new tool to identify their feathered friends with this AI-equipped bird feeder (which will sell for $100). The feeder is capable of identifying up to 10,000 species of birds—and will transmit those to you in 1080p video. A night-vision lens means you’ll also see which nighttime birds come to feed. It likely can’t help with the squirrels that will raid the birdseed, though.
SAMSUNG SMART REFRIGERATOR
Samsung’s going all in on the AI kitchen appliances, but the most notable of the collection is the Bespoke 4-Door Flex refrigerator with its AI Family Hub. A smart camera will note which foods are being put in and taken out of the fridge, both packaged and fresh. (The appliance can identify 33 different fresh foods, Samsung says.) The refrigerator will send alerts when food nears its expiration date and will alert you when the water filter needs to be replaced.
MOONWALKERS X AI-INFORMED SHOES
Robotic shoes are, in fact, a thing—and this second generation of Moonwalkers uses AI to measure the wearer’s stride 100 times per second, which the manufacturer says “maximizes safety, enjoyment and performance while walking.” The roller skate-like shoes (which strap on to your existing footwear) purport to let people walk at the speed of a run. The new model weighs a pound less per shoe and features a tighter turning radius. They’re slated to begin shipping in the first half of the year. No pricing information has been announced yet.
OSIM ULOVE 3 MASSAGE CHAIR
Massage chairs tend to find the right spot eventually, but what if one could quickly hone in on the area that’s hurting the most? OSIM’s uLove 3 uses biosensors and electrocardiogram technology to determine a user’s “stress levels.” Then, it customizes the massage to focus on reducing those levels.
GUIDI AI SMART BELT
Using both AI and haptic feedback, this belt claims to help people with vision problems navigate through the world. Equipped with two wide angle lenses, it constantly scans surroundings, with the AI analyzing the video in real time and warning wearers when they’re approaching an obstacle. It’s able to scan as far as 16 feet ahead and also can look for overhead obstacles like tree branches, which the traditional cane might miss.
Fashionable? Not in the least. Useful? Possibly so. The Guidi was a CES Innovation Award Honoree this year.
ILUME’S AI DOG BOWL
Obesity isn’t just a problem for humans. More and more dogs are reaching unhealthy weight levels as well. Startup ilume has developed this collar/dog bowl combination to combat that. The collar tracks their activity levels on a day-to-day basis, then uses AI to determine the best portion of food (any dog food can be used) to deliver the most optimal nutritional content without overfeeding your pet. The AI can also alert owners of changes in their canine’s behavior to potentially catch health issues earlier.
By Chris Morris