Get a group of geeks together, and someone is going to come up with something genius. But for every clever creation, there are several bizarre projects that address a need too obscure to ever have been a concern, or too strange for any consumer to even consider. Mostly, these ideas and items are discarded. The ones that pass through the collective weird-filter, however, end up at CES.
Wandering around the showroom floor, the stands are littered with 3-D TVs and satellite radios, but also with an uncountable amount of completely nonsensical offerings, like poorly branded headphones and useless tech accessories. So, here they are: the weirdest, most random devices we discovered at CES, in all their unnatural, disturbing glory.
1. Casio's Art Frames
Why hang a photograph of your beloved pooch Pokey when you can hang a photo-realistic version of him? We are fairly skeptical of the whole digital frame thing to begin with, but altering familiar photos with image processing technology, and selecting one of eight 'techniques' to be applied to your photo is just a tad creepy. (Pointilist vs. Gothic painting
, anyone?) The kicker is, of course, adding animation to your portrait by combining composite photos, so that everyone can display both their 'normal' family photo, and the 'fun' one Dad insists on doing afterward.
2. Hard Rock Branded Headphones
Okay, look, we didn't do hands-on with these. And we can't attest to any sound quality or lack thereof. But located in a tiny corner at the end of the show was a group of earbuds, colorfully decorated with the logos and images of rock icons. Like Lynyrd Skynyrd
. Which means that the next time someone makes fun of you for not blasting your beats loud enough, you just say, "Skynyrd, man. Skynyrd." They should understand.
3. Cyber Clean
The putrid, neon-yellow goop suggested it would get into the cracks of keys and other digital crevices, pulling out detritus and dust. The tests were lackluster; some dirt was lifted, but there was no pore-strip-like suction. The stuff itself, meanwhile, was undeniably Gak
-like. The product wasn't necessarily bad, but its smell was chemically, to say the least. Also, our tester felt slightly nauseous after the hands-on (but it might have been in her head).
4. Wii Rifle
We are pretty sure that CTA Digital's Sniper Rifle Gun is a load of fun, and probably makes first-person shooters more realistic and involved. But, first off, the aiming scope isn't for "gaming accuracy." Secondly, while video games certainly aren't responsible for kids shooting each other, an action-realistic sniper rifle, bent on honing the aim of burgeoning marksmen, definitely doesn't encourage pacifism.
5. Incipio iPhone Case
's DIY rubber cases had amphibious bumps and a weird smell reminiscent of a child's toy. Initially, we weren't quite sure who would like to put circular, multi-colored 'warts' onto their iPhone or iPod touch cases, but then Incipio's PR pointed something out: iPeople are freaks about their gadgets, coordinating everything to the extreme. So Knicks nuts could do blue and orange, America-lovers could have red, white, and blue, and college kids could even show pride during pep week. Sure, the candy store display was a little odd, but given a choice between personalization and mass-produced, we'll always choose the former.