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)
smithsonianmag.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?

Discreetly Pump While You Work

Despite the slowly increasing awareness for the need of private spaces for nursing mothers to pump milk, the act of pumping itself remains an awkward affair. “Even today’s best breast pumps feel as outdated as a typewriter,” write Geoffrey A. Fowler and Joanna Stern for the Wall Street Journal. But the company Willow is breaking the archaic mold of loud machines and awkwardly dangling bottles and cords with their new hands-free breast pump.

This wearable double pump runs on a battery and is easily positioned inside the user’s bra as she goes about her daily tasks. The company says that the motor is quiet enough to be worn outside of the home—or even on a conference call, reports Laura Vitto at Mashable.

Each pump collects up to four ounces of milk at a go, automatically stopping when it reaches capacity. It also connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone app that tracks milk volume and pumping time—but the app isn’t necessary to pump, Vitto writes. Such convenience doesn’t come without cost, however. The pumps will likely run around $429 per pair.

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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