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Multichannel News 01/19/2016

CES: A Curated Collection of Weird

Parsing the Wild, Wacky From Las Vegas’s Annual Gadget Gathering

By now, you’ve read about the top-line trends of this year’s CES: The sensor-ization of just about everything. The virtual reality abundanza. The increasingly gorgeous, increasingly gigantic 4K/ Ultra HD TV screens, this year tricked out with a three-letter acronym — HDR, for High Dynamic Range — the stuff that makes the picture brighter.

This week’s column thus checks in on the usual rash of weird and/or interesting stuff, strewn across 2 million-plus square feet of show floors.

Starting with the WowWee robotic dog, CHiP, with built-in artificial intelligence “to give owners the most authentic pet experience — without the mess of a real dog.”

It was cute, it could fetch a ball, and it could sync to a phone, but I’ll take the mess of a real dog any day, thank you very much. (Available in third-quarter 2016 for $200.)

If you live in a drought state, as many of us in the American West do, there’s the Hydrao smart showerhead. It lights up in different colors to show how much water you’re using. It’s water-powered (appropos!), $100, and available early next year (or on Kickstarter in September.)

TECH TIE-UP

How about a connected shoe, with an insole that’s both a heater and a shock absorber — with an app that automatically tightens the laces? Oh baby oh baby. That’s from Digitsole; pre-sales start next month at a “special” (unspecified) price.

Quell Wearable Pain Relief Technology

Chronic pain? Make it go away with Quell’s “wearable pain relief” gizmo. Attach it just below the knee, click a button, and it lights up a “wearable intensive nerve stimulator,” every other hour, to block pain signals and provide “widespread pain relief.”

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