The Consumer Electronics Show and Flea Market

The CES (Consumer Electronics Show) or (Crap Everybody-doesn’t- need Show) is going on this week in Las Vegas to provide a glimpse of all the gadgets, widgets and doohickeys that the sponsors are desperately hoping we’ll be buying for Christmas this year. Picking are looking very slim indeed unless your are a zillionaire and have everything else on the planet in your closets.  But let’s have a look anyway…

The FFZero1 concept car and the Volkswagon Budd-e concept microvan. I have written an entire blog on these must-have beauties already (see The Electric Car Reality dated 01/05/2016). Not going to waste anymore typing space, or time, on these pipe dreams.

Alpha 2, the world’s first affordable humanoid robot butler. Note the term affordable…$1300.00. This tiny 17 X 19 inch, voice-controlled droid is hyped as doing everything from turning on the lights, helping with housework, organizing your diary and reading to your children their bedtime stories. And due to it’s super modern construction it supposedly can move around like a human, allowing it to do things such as dance and teach yoga. OK, I have already pretty much mastered the skills of getting my fat butt off the sofa, and turning on and off the lights. How many of us realistically keep a dairy, and if I did I am surely not going to let an easily hackable, tottering flowerpot keep up with it. I really don’t want my children to have to pay for therapy down the road because I didn’t have time to read to them at bedtime and delegated it to said flowerpot. And what kind of housework can a creepy, stumpy, little flowerpot do. Too small to push a vacuum cleaner or wash the windows. The creators didn’t elaborate on that tidbit of information. Let’s be perfectly honest, 99% of us only do yoga in January of every year as a failed new year’s resolution, so you’re pretty much left with it dancing. I am sure that will justify the price. I can still buy a dancing dog at Wal-Mart for six bucks. Oh yeah, this bucket of bolts runs on Wi-Fi and has a battery that’s lasts a whole hour. When you get to Alpha Model 246, and it can cook, clean the toilet and push a lawn-mower, for more than a few minutes, then maybe you guys will have something to seriously consider buying.

 Samsung’s Family Hub Fridge: This hype says your refrigerator could become the most important appliance in your home, as opposed to being relegated to just keeping your food cold. This refrigerator will be able to help you do everything from message your family to “virtually” shop for food. No more need for inexpensive sticky notes now. The heart of the fridge is a 21.5 inch full HD LCD resolution screen located on the upper right exterior door. So it’s a TV now, and the screen allows you to use your phone to post calendars, pin photos, share kids’ works of art, and leave notes. I don’t put any of this crap on my fridge now. Can I watch The Road Warrior while I scramble my eggs? You had just better make sure you pay your phone bill or you’ll have a plain old refrigerator again with an expensive, blank TV screen in it. It has three cameras inside the fridge to capture an image every time the door closes. What? You can then access those images anytime using your smartphone and take a peek inside your fridge. Why? Even if you’re at the store and forget to check on what you need for dinner that night, the Samsung Smart Home app can take a look inside your fridge. What about the pantry? Are spices, beans and rice obsolete. By the way, I don’t keep toilet paper or mouthwash in my fridge either. The Family Hub fridge will be available this spring, but a price has yet to be announced, but I can bet it’s going to be brutal. And you had better get every warranty there is, as only a NASA engineer will be able to repair it.

The EHang 184 Megadrone. A major highlight this week at the CES was the unveiling of a giant quadcopter big enough to fit a passenger by the Chinese firm EHang. Uh oh, Chinese technology. The 184 is an all-electric vehicle has four arms with a total of eight propellers at the end. All-electric technology alarm bells and whistles going off again. The company says the 184 is autonomous, so all the passenger has to do is enter in their destination in the smartphone app, sit back, and let the drone take over. Back to paying the phone bill on time again. There’s no option to take control of the 184 remotely. What? The cockpit is empty, apart from a stand to place a smartphone or tablet and a cup holder. Hold it Skippy! EHang said the vehicle is primarily designed for traveling short-to-medium distances, around 10 miles, and will fly at around 60 miles per hour. “I think in all of us there is that little kid in all of us that says I want to fly,” said a spokes person. ‘I don’t want to get a pilot license after five or 10 hours of flying, I want to do it right away.” Yeah, but there’s an adult in all of US that’s says “I don’t want to fall out of the sky at 60 miles per hour within 10 miles of my house and be splattered all over the ground in a vehicle that’s electric, and with 8 propellers, and that I have no control over except through my cell phone.” And what about the FAA and their control of the skies. I think having a pilot’s license is going to be a big item on their agenda, especially if 100,000 enterprising 40 year old adolescents get ahold of the EHang 184 and start all flying around the skyscrapers of major cities. And let not forget legitimate aircraft who are busy dodging duck and geese just to stay aloft, as they carry unsuspecting passengers who don’t want to be approached by kami kazi cell phone controlled drones with a nut inside. Might want to look at this one again EHang! Science is good but the reality factor is loose.

And there are other devices available at the CES. A clever new countertop cocktail machine that allows drinks enthusiasts (nice way to say alcoholics) to create 300 different kinds of perfectly-mixed beverages using an app on their smartphone. There’s the smart phone dependence again. Or the GoSun Stove, that absorbs heat from the sun to reach temperatures of over 290°C (554°F). Its Ohio-based creators claim it can safely cook hot dogs, eight egg omelettes, frozen foods, fish fillets, muffins, stirfrys and even raw meat. Guess I don’t need a BBQ pit or oven anymore now that I can cook in the yard on sunny days. How about the Hairmax LaserBand 82. Designed by Pinin Farina, it uses 90-second treatments of red laser light at 655 nanometers to grow hair by increasing blood flow to the scalp and stimulating hair follicles. Yep, that’s a got-to-have item in the major market of vain, middle aged balding guys.

So if you happen to be going to Las Vegas this week and have some time to kill not gambling, going to shows, eating at great restaurants or getting married by Elvis, then use your smart phone to get the directions to the CES so you can enjoy this carnival of uselessness.

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From what I see, as long as I have a smart phone I can control most of the technological world. And I have one of those already (as long as I pay my bill).