As we hurtle closer towards a world in which the “Internet of Things” threatens to become an actual term that people outside of tech bloggers use, we continue to be on the receiving end of a growing number of consumer tech products that aim to improve our Wi-Fi enabled world. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the annual hub for startups and major tech companies to gather and showcase their wares, seeking investment from the execs with the money while simultaneously inveigling us plebeians with their shiny, 4K gadgets from afar.
While the big news emanating from CES 2017 largely revolved around TVs, there were still plenty of other gadgets that were decidedly more unique than an LG 50-inch screen, for better and for worse. The products featured on this list definitely fall into the latter camp, with gadgets that fall well short of the mark when it comes to helping carry us on our way to our increasingly tech-reliant world. Here are the worst consumer tech products showcased during CES 2017:
Spartan’s Radiation Boxers
A tin foil hat but for your penis, the Spartan boxers aim to prevent over 99% of wireless cell phone radiation from making its way to your genitals, despite there being no scientific evidence to suggest that such an issue exists in any meaningful capacity. Over the years there have been countless examples of articles attempting to convince us that smartphones are destroying our sperm, or are even responsible for erectile dysfunction. These articles are usually misguided at best and intentionally exaggerated at worst, with scientific studies having failed to produce conclusive data linking cell phone use with male infertility. But that hasn’t prevented the French company Spartan from unleashing their radiation-blocking briefs on the world, with the underwear alleging that it can stop the little guy from going limp as a result of extended Facebook browsing on your iPhone.
The Litter-Robot isn’t really a bad product, with it fulfilling the very useful task of ensuring that you needn’t pick up your cat’s poop from its litter tray ever again. However, this agreeable feature is hidden inside a giant machine that could most accurately be described as a cross between a cryogenic chamber and a washing machine, with it looking like it’d rather microwave your cats into soup than clean up their shit. The Litter-Robot is a truly horrific looking contraption, with its off-white design making it look more like an old desktop PC than a revolutionary way to avoid your cat taking a number two on your living room carpet. Purchasing it would also mean you’d be required to explain why your kittens are shitting into an astronaut’s helmet.
The Batband Ear-free Headphones
If the Google Glass taught us anything it’s that people will not volunteer to look like a dork in their everyday lives in order to experience new technology. Unfortunately this memo didn’t get around to the creators of the Batband, who have developed this ludicrous device that turns your head into a fucking stereo. The Batband wraps around the back of your skull like a reverse Geordi from Star Trek Generations, with it utilizing its bone conduction technology to let you privately hear your music without having to slip anything on or in your ears. What’s the point? Who knows! But if you want to walk around looking like the proud owner of the world’s least useful headband, then they can be yours for just $199.
Spinali Design’s Vibrating Denim Shorts
If you find yourself lost in the modern day your first port of call will likely be to input your destination on your smartphone, but Spinali Design came up with an, er, “inventive” way of travelling around town. The company’s denim shorts connect to a smartphone using Bluetooth, with two sensors equipped in each leg that vibrate in order to inform the wearer in which direction they should be headed. While we’d suggest that simply looking at your smartphone’s dedicated maps app would be a much more effective alternative, apparently Spinali Design believe that asking for directions should play out like a fashionable game of “hot and cold,” in which you’re forced to hunt down your destination wearing minuscule items of vibrating clothing. Unfortunately, if you’re late for a date because you’ve been too busy vibrating everywhere, you probably won’t be able to get away with blaming it on your shorts.
L’Oreal’s Smart Hair Brush
If you’re that much of an inept human being that you can’t even brush your hair properly, then L’Oreal brought a smart brush along to CES 2017 that scolds its users if they somehow manage to mess up the simple act of combing their locks. The Kérastase Hair Coach sends information to your smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, such as whether or not you’ve got split ends or whether your hair’s too dry, but unfortunately refrains from telling you to make better life choices in the future than purchasing a smart brush. While we’re soon going to be living in a world in which our refrigerator talks to our lightbulbs and our TV and toaster while away the hours bitching behind our backs, a smart brush is arguably a step too far. Not everything needs to have Wi-Fi, even if we think it does.