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Computex is Asia's biggest -- and weirdest -- tech show

Ruthless robots, insane VR and even tech for your hoo-ha... Silicon Valley looks pretty tame by comparison.

Each year in June, just about every head in the tech world starts dutifully craning toward California to see what genius Apple will come up with next at WWDC.

But this June, there's a whole other world of tech happening outside the US. Forget WWDC, forget E3, forget Silicon Valley -- if you want to see how the rest of the world does technology, you need to get off the US west coast and take a flight across the Pacific.

Specifically, you need to go to Taipei. And you need to get there for Computex.

Asia's biggest tech show, in the busy capital of Taiwan, is a spring board for some of the year's biggest PC launches and technology announcements -- where powerhouses like Asus, HTC and Nvidia show off new laptops, gaming gear, chips and VR kit to best their global rivals. It's also the place to see what's happening on the fringes of tech. Where off-beat startups butt up against major brands and where tech companies try to catch attention in one of the world's biggest markets.

This is the time of year when a whole other tech game is played outside Silicon Valley. And it's one worth watching.

So what can you expect from Computex 2018? As we gear up for the event (and that delightful Taipei humidity) we've pulled together the weird and wonderful highlights from past years. They prove the only thing we can expect is the unexpected. 

Pro tip? You're going to see some straight-up insane stuff.

Sky-diving in VR!

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Claire Reilly/CNET

In the world of VR, you can soar majestically through the air as you escape the confines of reality and live in a fully-immersive, simulation. In the real world, you'll look like a kid who's just been given an atomic wedgie. But in VR -- oh what delight!

Chess-playing robots

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Luke Lancaster/CNET

You have not known humiliation until you are beaten by a faceless robot at the game of chess. Sorry Dad, those years of chess games mean nothing when you're faced with a droid.

Sign-language gloves

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Claire Reilly/CNET

A weird prototype that might not go anywhere or a genius innovation that could help bridge a significant divide in society? We've got translation apps and even devices that claim to translate speech in real time, so why not gloves that turn sign language into readable text?

Gamified kegel exercises

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The Vagenie goes where tech often isn't seen...

Claire Reilly/CNET

It might sound like the punchline for a joke you'd hear at a VC gathering, but the Vagenie was actually a brilliant idea. If there's one way to get women to do pelvic floor exercises post child-birth, it's to turn it into a game. Also the CEO comparing it to the mobile game Flappy Bird? *Kisses fingers* Brilliant marketing.

PC mods

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Avengers Helicarrier or PC?

Aloysius Low/CNET

Every year, the world's best case modders descend on Computex with their glue guns and soldering irons to show us that it's not what's inside the PC that counts. Your PC at home? That's nothing. Our favourites were PCs built into an Avengers Helicarrier, a full Captain America shield sliced through a PC tower and, of course, the fully-functioning cotton candy machine.

Zenbo, Zenbo, ZENBO!

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Zenbo, Zenbo, ZENBO!

Claire Reilly/CNET

At Computex 2016, half of Taipei stood cheek-to-sweaty-jowl to hear Asus' insanely energetic CEO Jonney Shih reveal the company's lineup. This is the CEO who once said his company's staff "live to dance on the misery of our adversaries." But the real surprise came after all the laptops, when the adorable Zenbo robot rolled onstage and into our hearts. Sure, it'll be hard to find this guy in stores, but it was the winner of the show. 

...And all things Taipei

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Diplomacy!

Claire Reilly/CNET

You can always find gold in the back halls of Computex, but once you get off the show floor, that's when Taipei really shines. No trip to Computex is complete without wandering the back alleys of Taipei looking for the weird tech and toys the show forgot. Case in point? Bootleg Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots featuring Barack Obama and Kim Jong Un. Only in Taipei.

Be sure to check out the rest of CNET's Computex 2018 coverage here.