10 life changing things I learned at CES 2020

I'll never think about my bathroom the same.

Daniel Van Boom
Daniel Van Boom is an award-winning Senior Writer based in Sydney, Australia. Daniel Van Boom covers cryptocurrency, NFTs, culture and global issues. When not writing, Daniel Van Boom practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reads as much as he can, and speaks about himself in the third person.
Daniel Van Boom
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CES is a journey alright

CES 2020 is over, more or less. Announcements were made -- including a fantastic new PlayStaiton 5 logo -- and futuristic products demoed. 

It was my first time at the event, which was expected to see over 170,000 attendees. I saw much I wanted to see, and some I wish I could unsee.

Click through for 10 things I learned at the biggest tech convention in the world.

2 of 11 Chase Evans/CNET

I need idiot-proof luggage

So, funny story. I'm an idiot. My carry-on suitcase got stolen at LAX airport as I was en route to Las Vegas for CES -- because I stupidly left it unattended. (For slightly less than a minute. Not long, but still dumb.)

So you can imagine my surprise when I found Ovis, the suitcase that follows you. It has five AI-equipped cameras which track you. You wear a wristband that vibrates if you get too many steps ahead of the Ovis, which it responds to by following the vibration sounds.

Ovis, you're smarter than me.

3 of 11 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Folding screens aren't just for phones

TCL is now in the phone game, wowing with a prototyping 5G folding phone. It would join the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Motorola Razr in the growing class of folding phones.

But folding phones won't just come out of your pocket. The centerpiece of Intel's CES keynote was its Horseshoe Bend concept laptop, a 17.3-inch laptop with a folding screen.

And then there's the Royole, a company that's putting folding screens on almost anything. Like this $900 smart speaker.

4 of 11 Katie Collins/CNET

Robots will soon save us from toilet trouble

In the future, robots will deliver toilet paper to your bathroom at the click of a button.

And the future, guys and gals, is now. Charmin's Rollbot is a bear-faced robot that connects to your phone (as with almost everything at CES) and delivers toilet paper to you if you find out too late that you've run out.

It's not clear how the bear-faced robot, which has no arms, hands or thumbs, is able to wrangle a fresh roll out from the cupboard under the stairs and open the locked toilet door to bring the roll right to you, but they're presumably problems for CES 2021 and beyond.

5 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Taking two minutes to brush your teeth is for suckers

Think your toothbrush doesn't need any more tech? Wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The Y-Brush promises to give your pearly whites a thorough brushing in just 10 seconds. And it's available now for $125.

6 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

A lot of technology is designed to make you hate yourself

There's a formula I noticed with a lot of health and lifestyle tech at CES:

  1. Sell user product.
  2. Use product to make user hate themselves.
  3. Partner with another company to sell user a solution to their newfound self hatred.
  4. Profit.

I saw this from a few startups which shan't be named -- and which are unlikely to find funding -- and also from tech giant LG.

Its ThinQ Fit prototype smart mirror assesses your body type and recommends you clothing, which you can pick to buy in a subsequent window, which fits. Using it gives the impression that not only do you (I) need to lose some weight, but also dress better.

Screw you, LG ThinQ Fit. You're not my father.

Lora DiCarlo at CES 2020
7 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sex tech matters

After a storm of controversy surrounding a rescinded award last year, sex tech is allowed at CES in 2020.

Walking through the show floor and seeing many of these products -- like the Lioness vibrator that tracks data to improve orgasms, as well as Lora Dicarlo's suite of products (pictured) -- made me see sex tech less as pleasure tech and more as health tech.

Read more about sex tech breaking down walls here.

8 of 11 Ian Knighton/CNET

You might not use a physical keyboard one day

I don't really think about keyboards that much. But new tech is at its best when it makes you rethink the way you've done things your whole life.

SelfieType is from C-Lab, a Samsung initiative that has the tech giant's employees develop products for up to a year. Sometimes these go to market, sometimes they don't. I hope SelfieType does.

It's an invisible keyboard. It uses the selfie camera of your phone and AI to recognize your finger joints and translate hand movement into keystrokes. Read a full explainer here.

9 of 11 Scott Stein/CNET

Microwaves must've freaked people out in the '40s

Microwaves were invented in 1946. They're a normal part of life now, but they must have freaked people out at the time.

How do I know? Because of the Juno Chiller. It's essentially a microwave -- but it cools things down instead of heating them up. A 12-ounce soda gets to freezing levels in around two minutes.

And I am freaked out. This type of witchcraft seems like a trap, like it'll be discovered in 20 years to cause cancer.

10 of 11 Abrar Al-Heeti/CNET

Being vegetarian is about to become a lot easier

Most of you already know about Impossible Foods. Its Impossible beef is plant-based and tastes remarkably like the real thing

Now after CES 2020, we have Impossible Pork. But Impossible Foods isn't the only player in the game: Other companies brought plant-based shrimp, ice cream and even bacon to CES.

I am not a vegetarian, much to the chagrin of several vegan friends. But that will probably change, since it looks like being vegetarian is about to become ridiculously easy.

11 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

The future of gaming should be portable

One of the coolest things at CES is Alienware's Concept UFO. It's an 8-inch portable gaming device that's essentially a Nintendo Switch that plays PC games. Which sounds awesome.

Using it, it made me realise how much more exciting portable gaming is than cloud-based gaming, like Google Stadia. That's because Stadia and xCloud, Microsoft's competing service, feel like they'll probably take a while, maybe years and years, to deliver on their promises.

Because of the Switch and games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, we already know how fantastic portable gaming can be. The Concept UFO, which is sadly just a prototype, makes me want more of that.

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