Innovative Spirit

Seven Wild Gadgets Unveiled at CES 2017

From a levitating speaker to vibrating jeans that help you navigate city streets, these innovations offer an interesting glimpse of the future

LG exhibited a new levitating speaker. (LG)
smithsonian.com

Last week, more than 165,000 people from 150 countries flocked to Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Now in its 50th year, the event showcases next generation technology to infiltrate every aspect of your life. And this year, the more than 3,800 exhibiting companies did not disappoint, introducing attendees to smart-everything from Bluetooth-enabled toasters to spaceship-like concept cars.

Though some of these products could improve quality of life (at least for those who can afford them), others seem just plain wacky. But this eccentricity is all part of technological evolution, Mark Hung, a vice president at Gartner Research, explains to the Associated Press.

"When an industry is nascent, you will see experimentation," he says. "Companies will throw things against the wall to see what sticks."

What do you think? Will any of these seven gadgets go mainstream?

Need Directions? Ask these Smarty Pants

Most big-city dwellers know the annoyance: After walking a single block, out comes the smartphone—again—so you can check which direction to go. But French company Spinali Design, which specializes in smart clothing, is trying to make urban adventures easier (and more fashionable).

The vibrating sensors in the waistband of their “Essential Vibrating Connected Jeans” connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth and vibrate on the left or right side to give you directions. The pants run about $100.

Hooked on smart clothing? The company also offers a range of other clothing items and accessories, including connected dresses, bags and bikinis. They also have big plans for the future of the vibrating jeans, Ananya Bhattacharya reports for Quartz, hoping to integrate “security alerts, home support, [and] geolocation of your children.”

About Maya Wei-Haas
Maya Wei-Haas

Maya Wei-Haas is the assistant editor for science and innovation at Smithsonian.com. Her work has appeared on National Geographic and AGU's Eos and Plainspoken Scientist.

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