At its oddest, CES becomes a giant Mad Libs competition in which manufacturers unveil products that seem to have combined trending features and buzzwords — VR, blockchain, Alexa — at random.
Consider the following seven items I came across at CES 2018, some of which address legitimate use cases and some of which may be closer to mad-scientist territory.
Vuzix Blade Smart Sunglasses
Would Google (GOOG, >GOOGL) Glass headwear have done any better in the market if it had carried a description like “smart sunglasses”? Somewhat like that doomed project, this augmented-reality eyewear overlays projections of computer data on the world around you. Unlike Glass, Vuzix Blade will also let you request information and entertainment via… wait for it…. Amazon (AMZN) Alexa. Will that attract enough people willing to part with $1,000 or so? The developers hope to find out by the second quarter.
This Bay Area startup made its CES debut to tout its design for a >self-driving store with an 80-mile range on a charge. The idea behind this vaguely van-shaped contraption is to bring the produce section (that being the part of the grocery store where people get most judgmental about how the fare looks) to your driveway. You’d summon one via your phone, pick out pre-packaged fruits and vegetables, and the company would bill your account automatically.
Watch out, scented candle: You’re about to get disrupted. This $189 “smart home scent diffusing device” can fill your abode with custom combinations of smells mixed from ingredients in fragrance capsules ($29.95 each after the first four that come with the Moodo device) with names such as “Citrus Fresh” or “Divine Rose.” You can control it with a smartphone app, or, of course, Alexa!