Despite all the cool gadgets and concepts we do report on from CES, it's amazing how many crazy things we just don't have time to cover. After all, we're only human. Each year, there are heaps of wild tech demos that are probably never seen by anyone who's not at the show, and while a lot of them a very cool, some of them have a little more than their share of craziness about them.
Here's a few of the weird things you probably didn't see unless you were there — and oh, we're going to hand an award to each one, just for fun.
1. Least Appropriate Underwater Demo
This SSD from Toshiba is playing back HD video while submerged in a fish tank full of water. A couple of the components had an off-the-shelf coating sprayed on them, but it's mostly just the bare drive, chugging along quite happily underwater. While Toshiba doesn't recommend that you actually do this, they did point out that electronic components are quite durable, and often times if you get something wet, you can just let it dry off and it'll be fine.
2. Most Questionable Use of an Otherwise Incredible Technology
This is a tank of regular water with some kind of mystery ingredient added to it. Lasers shoot up from the bottom of the tank and hit pinpoint spots in the water, causing whatever secret sauce is in there to fluoresce green. I have no idea how it works and the guys at the booth weren't saying much, but it's pretty amazing to watch. It's just a shame that it's being used to draw little men and spirally things and seems destined for the novelty display market.
3. Least Like Darth Vader While Also Being Sort Of Like Darth Vader
I guess it must be hard to teach people how to spray paint stuff, because a company called VRSim has created a virtual reality spray painting simulation that can teach the skills without all the mess. The helmet contains some VR goggles and an accelerometer, which allows you to move around a virtual scene as you move in the real world. The spray gun works in the virtual scene too, and your instructors can watch to see how terrible of a job you're doing. Change that spray gun into a Lightsaber, though, and your training program is guaranteed to be ten times more popular.
4. Most Difficult to Take a Picture Of (Runner Up)
These speakers from Greensound Technology are made from big sheets of glass that vibrate to produce sound. Those holes cut out of them that you can't really see in this picture aren't for decoration; they're actually used to tune the glass so that it reproduces sounds more accurately. A set of two speakers and a sub (which isn't made of glass, for obvious reasons), will run you between $10,000 and $20,000.
5. Most Difficult to Take a Picture Of (Winner)
Snapkeys is an invisible keyboard application with only four keys, two for each thumb. It's designed primarily for typing on tablets, which makes sense based on the way you type with your thumbs when you hold a tablet in two hands (think texting on your phone). The company says that once you get the hang of it, the predictive text system makes you better than 90% accurate. You really have to see it to believe it, but, yeah.
6. Shiniest, Blackest, Flattest, Most Reflective, and Most Slablike
Sony wants you to know that their 'Monolithic' TV concept is designed to look incredible even when you're not watching it. It does look pretty incredible, I'll give them that, but the damn thing is so reflective that you can't tell whether you're actually watching it or not.
7. Don't Point That Thing At Me Award
Sometimes, one Taser is just not enough. And sometimes, ten Tasers is just not enough either. The Taser Shockwave system can remotely unleash three waves of six Taser cartridges each, and if you're the sort who appreciates
overkill overincapacitation, you can stick more than one system together to make absolutely sure that nobody bothers you. Currently the system is only available to the military and law enforcement, so you'll just have to go back to single (or triple) shot consumer Taser systems to keep those damn kids off your lawn.