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CES Unveiled: Your gadgets just aren't smart enough

Technically Incorrect: At the annual tech show's first event, there were all kinds of gadgets, some very strange, some merely strange. There were also some surprises, like French wine from an espresso machine.

This story is part of CES 2016. Our editors bring you complete CES 2016 coverage and scour the showroom floor for the hottest new tech gadgets around.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Every new gadget will be the smartest.

Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Thousands of members of the tech media stood outside the big wooden doors.

When they were allowed in, they rushed toward the thing they love most: the buffet.

I watched as they reached for the chardonnay and the finger food. Was this what the pilgrimage was all about?

I'd always wondered what happened at the Unveiled event at the annual Consumer Electronics Show here in Las Vegas. During Unveiled, the media gets to look at some allegedly exciting gadgets before the unwashed remainder of society.

I walked through the doors slowly, fearing that I'd be struck with the terrible word that's attached to almost all new gadgets: smart.

I soon realized that tech has moved on, for the first large sign I saw said: "Smarter."

"Aha," I thought. "This means something new." Actually, what it meant was that a British startup wanted to make my "smart" kitchen even more clever. I fear my kitchen would be insulted by the idea that it's a touch dumb.

I moved on. Crowds milled around some booths more than others. So many of the problems being solved seemed terribly first world. There were a lot of things that were part of the Things' Internet.

"Blink And You're Home," said one sign. There was a part of me that wished I could do that. Mindful of my professional obligations, however, I stared at the booth. This was a "wire-free smart HD home monitoring and alert system."

Blink and you're paranoid.

I moved on. The next thing to catch my eye was a shoe. A lot of people were crowding around this shoe, so I thought I'd investigate.

It was the Digitsole. I stared at the name and hoped they wouldn't release a Picassoesque version that would inevitably have to be called the Artsole.

What was this strange, sneakerish thing? You'll be blown out of your Timberlands when I tell you that it was a shoe touted as, wait for it, the "World's First Smartshoe."

Yes, even your footwear is dumber than a shoebox of rocks. The Digitsole checks your burned calories as it warms your feet. You've always wanted that, haven't you?


The shoe of the future. Perhaps.

Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Before I knew it, I was struck by hordes of people surrounding another piece of clothing. This time, it was a pair of trousers. Were these, perchance, smart trousers?

Not quite.

They were hanging in what looked like a hotel mini fridge, but was actually a "Pants Crease Aid." It was, allegedly, an easy ironing system.

It struck me suddenly that I don't own a pair of fancy pants at all, so I wandered off. And there I saw a lonely man. Seated at the Accenture booth, he was typing on his laptop. He seemed happy, but no one was talking to him.

Why? What had he done? The words beneath him said: "High Performance. Delivered." Surely everyone wants that. It seemed not. Even the Liberty Mutual Insurance booth next to him had visitors. I vowed that I'd do one more trip around the hall and if he was still alone, I'd talk to him.

First, I needed a drink. Fortunately, there was D-Vine.

This may sound to you like a drag queen, but this was a strange contraption that promised French wine. I edged closer. I asked the helpful PR lady. She told me, in a very passable French accent, "It's an espresso machine for wine."

I asked her if one was supposed to use it first thing in the morning. Perhaps this was a French ritual, non? It seems not.

These thoughtful people -- one from the tech world, one from the wine world -- want you to get wine at the perfect temperature exclusively from them and buy their D-Vine machine which retails at $595. (It's $695 if you actually want some wine with it.)

It was inspired, in some strange way. I decided to think about it and to wonder what essential marvels the tech world would think of next.

As I walked out, the man from Accenture had someone talking to him. I wondered whether he'd accent the free chardonnay over the $695 D-Vine.