CES 2024: AI Powers Toilets, Binoculars

CES 2024: AI Powers Toilets, Binoculars

Technology has this weird way of making its proponents look like geniuses or idiots within the flip of an eyelid. What appears far-fetched could turn out to be closer to reality in a few years time and in contrast some of the coolest gadgets announced by companies could eventually find its way to the dustbin as use cases evaporate. 

Reveals on Monday

Reveals on Tuesday

In this ongoing series, we have tried to keep a judicious mix of both these aspects which may have also resulted in the team ignoring some of the announcements or revelations made by these tech wizards. So, we thought why not add a few more of the crazier stuff, given the paucity of revelations that happened overnight. So, here goes: 

Alexa! Can you flush out my poo? 

Yes it can! That is if you install Kohler’s latest water closet in your bath. What’s more you can talk to your WC instead of reading the newspaper or browsing your social handles. The 150-plus year old bath appliance giant’s PureWash E930 Bidet Seat fits all elongated toilets and turns your dumb potty into a smart loo, powered by Alexa or Google Assistant. 

(Source: Kohler) 

So, what can you expect from your smart dump can? For starters it opens and shuts the cover hands-free upon sensing your presence. There’s a self-cleaning mode that uses built-in UV light so no need for brushes and disinfectants. And voice assistants can help control the smart seat, turn on the spray, dry your posterior with warm air and even flush out your poo. 

And that’s not all, the Purewash 930 Bidet seat comes with front and rear wash modes, has a heated seat with two programmable presets on a remorse. It automatically mists the toilet bowl and has an adjuster for water temperature and pressure so you don’t end up scorching the butt. In case you’re in a playful mood, you could choose an oscillating or pulsating spray! 

The seat has LED lighting that turns the toilet into a night lamp as well. Probably good for the elderly who tend to trip and fall in the bathrooms. All this luxury comes at a throwaway price of $2,149 which is like Rs.1.78 lakh. Did we hear you say “that’s too much to pay for a dumpster?” 

Bathrooms for hire! 

While on the subject of water closets (WCs), a new app called Flush has come out with a business model wherein enterprises can rent out their bathrooms. Though folks in India have used pay-and-use toilets for sometime now, the problem emerges from the fact that the US banned pay toilets from back in the 1970s. 

That’s because the administrations felt building more and better toilets was something that governments must do as a process (Toilet! Ek Prem Katha Hollywood version?). In the absence of enough initiatives on this front, several developers and entrepreneurs attempted to find a solution to this problem and Flush is the latest

The app announced during the launch at CES 2024 that it allows businesses to rent out their restrooms to customers across cafes, restaurants, hotels and other high-traffic locations. “Make somebody’s day, list your bathroom now” says the announcement on the app’s web page. Not a bad idea, right? What made us smirk is that the owners can accept or reject a customer’s request for a $10 bathroom and the app actually has a rating system for the users! 

AI-powered binocs that does Salim Ali proud

Gone are the days when bird watching was considered a privilege or a hobby. Swarovski has revealed a pair of AI-powered binoculars that could have punched a huge hole of the greatest of them all – Dr. Salim Ali. Priced at $4,799 (approx. Rs.4 lakh), the binoculars use AI to quickly help identify more than 9000 birds and other species. 

What’s more, the gadget is also capable of taking pictures and videos of one’s discoveries during a birdwatching expedition. The AX Visio claims that its revolutionary “share discoveries” function also lets your companions know the location of the bird spotting. The accompanying mobile app also allows users to customize their binoculars for individual needs. 

(Source: Swarovski) 

The identification function helps you to identify birds and other animal species at the touch of a button. Thanks to the revolutionary “share discoveries” function, you can immediately show your companion where you have seen an animal. Easily create photos or videos and share them with your community. The experience is complete with the accompanying SWAROVSKI OPTIK Outdoor App: customize your AX Visio to suit your individual needs.

Sync the sound while you drive

Imagine driving on a scenic highway where suddenly the topography changes to miles of barren land. As a regular long-distance driver, the writer has experienced such dramatic changes that do impact one’s energy and cadence during the commute. Sound Drive, founded by singer and songwriter Will.i.am has the answer to this challenge. 

The company says with Sound Drive, one doesn’t have to curate playlists for every mood during that long drive. The solution, launching later this year in the Mercedes-Benz EQ models, creates a soundscape that reacts to what one is doing, creates and remixes tracks in new ways during the drive. 

(Source: Mercedes-Benz)

Sound Drive seeks harmony amongst the data available in the ECU of a modern car that includes things such as throttle input and brake pressure. It then links these to some sort of a multichannel mixer. Mercedes-Benz revealed that there are 10 segments being used at the time of the launch and can tap into 10 different vehicle parameters to play the right music. 

The system will be running as an app in the car’s UX infotainment system that can potentially access much more parameters and many more forms of music, both live and pre-stored. Remember that Sound Drive isn’t just modifying the volume levels of songs, it allows lyrics to drop out intelligently while picking up where they left off earlier in the song. 

In love with Blackberry? Get it on your iPhone

Apple may have fanboys, but for those who grew up on Blackberry, its nostalgia is ever present. Which is why we found Clicks Technology’s recent announcement of a $139 Blackberry type keyboard both astounding and a tad nostalgic. The keyboard acts as a phone case attachment, providing more access to the iPhone’s screen without a digital keyboard. 

(Source: Click’s Technology) 

However, the challenge is that your iPhone 15 might just end up looking like an iPhone 15 Max or even bigger. The tech brings the “benefits” of touch and typing together where the keyboard can be moved off the display when typing. In addition, it doubles the available screen size and the typos can be seen clearly in HD. 

In case you’re one of those missing out on a physical keyboard, this one is a good story. The Clicks keyboard offers real keys with the physical pressure required to operate them reminiscent of how we once operated. There are some keyboard shortcuts like Cmd+H to move to the home screen or Cmd+Space to launch Search. It also connects to the iPhone via the Lightning cable.  

The smart router and the smart home assistant

(Source: GL.iNet) 

Looks matter for smart homes. LG came up with a transparent television that removes a dominant black spot in what could be an otherwise colorful living room. The television when shut off allows you to see through it, meaning that it blends with the rest of the room effortlessly. Now, we have another company adding class to a piece of hardware that looked crass. 

Yes, the image you see above is not really just a photo frame but also a wireless router. The Marble Wi-Fi 6 OpenWrt Router from Gl.iNet looks smart and can be placed on a table or even hung on the wall. What’s more, it delivers top-notch performance by featuring Wi-Fi 6 and supporting VPN capabilities.

Coming to LG again, the Korean giant announced a Smart Home AI agent – a two-legged wheeled robot that acts as an assistant to sync all appliances. There’s GenAI that allows users to chat with the AI Agent, which can be empathetic to needs and even give updates on your time for taking medicines. 

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