LAS VEGAS--A considerable line of CES attendees who must have just imbibed their morning coffee is forming at the Toddy Gear booth. They're clutching what look to be colorful washcloths and feverishly wiping their various touch screens.
The Consumer Electronics Show is only halfway through, but in the right light these screens have obviously been stuck in some sort of fingerprint purgatory, perhaps not thoroughly scrubbed since long before being used voraciously in Vegas for directions, schedules, gossip, and who knows what else.
The fuss is over a product almost laughably simple, the 5x7-inch antimicrobial Toddy Smart Cloth, one of the few items in the health and wellness wing that manages to be both simple and in high demand. (It goes for $9.99 at Target, Amazon, and Best Buy.)
As I peruse the new designs unveiled at CES this week, a woman tells me one of them just "looks" like me, and that I just have to keep it. It's OK. She can't know I don't own a full-length mirror and didn't even wear makeup at my own wedding, let alone don't have a "look."
I muster what I hope is my flashiest smile and try the purple-and-white patterned cloth on my smudgy glasses and cell phone. And it's true, the world suddenly looks brighter, cleaner, void of fingerprints. When I use the softer, patterned side of the cloth to buff and polish these vital surfaces, I feel newly equipped to start the day.
Surrounded by a small pack of squealing fashionistas (maybe I'm just jealous that I haven't had my coffee), I cannot help but steal a glance down the aisle at the comparatively quiet Life Technologies booth, which is showcasing the Ion Proton benchtop gene sequencer that is expected to sequence entire genomes in a day by year's end.
And for just a moment, I ponder what it means to be standing between a machine that will soon be able to read my entire genome and a woman who can read my pattern preference. But I quickly realize it's too early for this. I and my newly sparkling view of the world decide it's time for a coffee.