The five worst products at the 2020 CES expo

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2020
Not every bit of tech brought to CES is going to be a winner. After five days of patrolling the floor and watching presentations, here are our choices for the five worst products from CES 2020.




There are a few things you can count on every CES. You'll see a fair amount of tech that begs the question, "Why didn't anybody think of that before?" You're going to see a lot of rehashed ideas that make you want to shake the inventor and say, "Someone already did that, and they did it better!"

And every year, without fail, there are inventions brought to CES that make you say, "Why would anyone make that?"

This year is no different. Here's our five weirdest and worst products from CES 2020.

Fresco's Eva Mini

Fresco's Eva Mini
Fresco's Eva Mini


Keurigs are popular because they allow casual coffee drinkers the convenience of a quick cup without the commitment of a full cup of coffee. Now what if there was a Keurig, but instead of brewing coffee, it dispensed olive oil. That's where the Eva Mini comes in.

The Eva Mini is a 59 Euro ($65) device that is designed to heat small frozen pods of olive oil and dispense them into a shot glass sized cup, perfect for dipping bread. We guess this is aimed at people who are casual olive oil bread-dippers, but can't be bothered to use the stovetop or the microwave.

We can't help but get some Juicero vibes from the Eva Mini, as it's a niche device that doesn't seem to do much. The machine does not mill olives to extract the oil but rather thaws pucks of pre-frozen olive oil.

If you've got time, what's stopping you from buying the olive oil pucks - priced at 29.90 euros (roughly $33) for a pack of ten - and thawing them in a cup on your counter?

Overall, Eva Mini earns itself a spot on the worst list due to the amount of counter space it's going to need, as well as the questionable task the machine performs.

Skiin

Mayant's Skiin sports bra
Mayant's Skiin sports bra


These days, it seems as though tech is working itself into every facet of our lives. We have smartphones that connect to our smart TVs, smart refrigerators, smart lighting-- everything is connected, for better or worse.

The one bastion against the constant onslaught of technology is our underwear. Meet Skiin, the smart underwear that tracks your body.

When worn, Skiin -- available as bras, panties, and briefs -- will monitor basic vital signs, such as heart rate, breathing rate, temperature, movement, stress levels, and sleep quality. It does this by connecting a small pod into the undergarments, which are riddled with sensors designed to keep tabs on various vital signs.

In that way, Skiin is designed to be far more unobtrusive than something like, say, an Apple Watch. Just put it on and go. For most people, they're likely to forget they're even wearing it.

Skiin does have quite a few practical applications. Skiin could be used to monitor the conditions of those with challenging or terminal illnesses, alerting medical professionals to changes in a person's body before they manifest any symptoms. Skiin could be used to track the vital statistics of nonverbal wearers, giving insights to the wearer's health that weren't easily obtainable before.

There are some privacy concerns, as well as the concern about intruding on a person's bodily autonomy. Skiin rides a fine line between genuinely useful technology and something that can be used to over-monitor an individual.

Mayant, the creators of Skiin, frequently talk about having the ability to share the information gleaned from wearing Skiin with your "Care Circle." They suggest that this could be a group of family and loved ones, but also indicate that it could be shared with health care providers, and even hints at it being shared with employers.

By doing this, Skiin is setting a potentially dangerous precedent. If an insurance provider has access to your biometric data, they could judge you as being a higher risk consumer, and charge you more accordingly. If an employer has access to your Skiin data, they could use it to track the same data, which could influence how willing they'd be to keep you at your job.

Additionally, Skiin's CEO, Tony Chahine, has already said he'd be interested in working with insurance companies.

This sort of data sharing is not unique to Skiin, mind you. Employers and health insurance providers could, theoretically, require someone to wear an Apple Watch and get much of the same information.

Skiin, on the other hand, has no bells or whistles, no extra features beyond the monitoring, and is somewhat more forgettable.

So, is Skiin the harbinger of the beginning of the end? No, not necessarily. It is worth having an open dialogue about who gets our data.

Samsung Sero

Samsung Sero
Samsung Sero


There's something inherently annoying about watching a portrait-mode video on a landscape-mode device. If you visit the comment section of any moderately popular vertical-video on YouTube, you'll often find comments of people asking why the uploader didn't rotate their phone 90 degrees before they started filming.

Samsung has come up with a solution for that, and it seems like overkill. Sero is Samsung's "Lifestyle TV" marketed toward millennials and Generation Z. It features display orientation technology that connects with a user's phone to physically rotate the display in the orientation of the user's phone -- voila, no more vertical videos.

Of course, it's not just for watching TikTok. According to Samsung, you could also use the vertical mode to browse your social media feeds on the big screen, provided you were so inclined.

The biggest downside -- perhaps aside from the price, which hasn't been announced yet -- is the amount of space Sero requires. It's a 43-inch display that will need a stable base to sit on and won't fit in a standard entertainment center. And if you planned on mounting it to the wall to save yourself some trouble -- forget about it, you can't. Instead, Sero sits on a smartphone-like kickstand display -- and a rather large and unattractive one at that.

It may just be that we're not the intended audience for Sero, but we can't help but feel that it may just be too niche of a product for most consumers.

Bzigo

Bzigo offers laser targeted pest control for your home!
Bzigo offers laser targeted pest control for your home!


More and more companies want to place cameras in your home, and this one might be the most bizarre. Bzigo promises to help you gain an edge in the never ending war with... mosquitoes. Using a camera with computer vision, Bzigo promises to find those pests before they get the chance to bite.

The company's very entertaining webpage assures potential buyers, "Killing is the easy part, the real challenge is in detecting them!"

The small turret like device can be placed anywhere in the room, and will constantly scan for a potential hidden menace. Once a mosquito is discovered, it will aim a laser pointer and circle the bugs location. Bzigo can optionally connect to Wi-Fi to alert you of a mosquitos presence with notifications.

In the company's research page, they describe all of the efforts that the WHO have taken to reduce the mosquito population, and their hope to contribute to those efforts. The Bzigo will also be used in industrial farms and greenhouses where a single pest can cause a lot of trouble. But, again, it's just a fancy laser pointer showing you where the pest is.





The Bzigo will cost around $169 when it launches early 2021. You can reserve yours with a $9 pre-order, which comes with a $30 discount. You may want to wait and see what else the company is developing, because the FAQ promises that there may be a model in the future capable of killing mosquitos too. That may actually be useful.

Modobag

Modobag rideable luggage
Modobag rideable luggage


Suitcases are commonplace and anyone who travels at all needs one, but who wants to drag it around? Modobag wants to save you from dragging your suitcase by making it drag you. This carry on sized bag transforms into a fully operational scooter on demand.

TSA approved, this bag weighs 20lbs and offers about as much space as a regular carry on. You are losing space to the motor and battery of course, so don't expect to pack as much as you would normally. The battery is removable and deemed airplane travel compliant.

If you've ever wanted a chance to drive around an airport at 5 miles per hour, now you can, as long as you weigh less than 260lbs. The Modobag should travel about 6 miles between charges, and charges in about 2 hours.





For the very premium price of $1500, you can own this strange suitcase today. Be sure to check out their curiously utopian website full of smiling people in suits driving suitcases. Complete with a FAQ that says "In case of an emergency, you can always do a Fred Flinstone."

Portable transportation is a huge section of CES, and this is possibly the most curious, however there are some applications that make sense. If you have been recently injured or have reduced ability to walk, you'll want a scooter or wheelchair to get around. Having one as your suitcase might just save you some pain, but maybe not save you from embarrassment.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    Eva Mini, it is a shame there wasn’t an adult and/or business person in the room when this idea was proposed, and money invested.

    As a consumer device Skiin has a short life. As a device for professional athletes, hospital patients, emergency responders (think firefighters, police), military, etc. I think it has potential.

    Modobag as a device that follows you in an airport, instant win.
    viclauyyc
  • Reply 2 of 23
    Is it CES or April Fools? That modobag is weird. I guess someone might prefer to ride rather than walk but it weighs 9kg. Isn't that the limit for most carry on bags?

    Olive oil dispenser - am I missing something? Why would you freeze it? Surely anyone willing to buy one of these things uses enough oil to have a bottle open and use it before it gets old? Do I sound like someone who drinks instant coffee asking why you'd want an espresso machine?

    The mosquito finder and eventually zapper is a great idea. This is something the world needs.
  • Reply 3 of 23
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    Is it CES or April Fools? That modobag is weird. I guess someone might prefer to ride rather than walk but it weighs 9kg. Isn't that the limit for most carry on bags?

    Olive oil dispenser - am I missing something? Why would you freeze it? Surely anyone willing to buy one of these things uses enough oil to have a bottle open and use it before it gets old? Do I sound like someone who drinks instant coffee asking why you'd want an espresso machine?

    The mosquito finder and eventually zapper is a great idea. This is something the world needs.
    I got it! Bzigo should come with a fleet of drones armed with mini salt guns!
    Wgkrueger
  • Reply 4 of 23
    bzigo - the mosquito zapper.

    if you're curious where the idea for this came from, this is Nathan Myrrvold's speech at TED, 10 years ago (he was CTO of microsoft for many years!)



    modobag - the motorised suitcase

    ive had one for a few years now and they really work, if a little impractical!   and yes, i have driven all the way through heathrow airport, to the last possible gate at terminal 3 (gate 42) on one.  i whizzed through the terminal.  not looking back at all the incredulous faces due to embarrassment, but it was huge fun.   mostly, my kids use it around the kitchen now.  but it gets an awful lot of use, more than you'd expect from a motorised suitcase.


    randominternetpersonsteveau
  • Reply 5 of 23
    neilmneilm Posts: 954member
    Well screw that wimpy laser pointer on the mosquito finder!

    I want a full-fledged laser weapon that'd vaporize those suckers in mid air. Well sure, there might be a bit of collateral damage, melted holes in your couch, the occasional brush fire on a cat, that sort of thing. But you can't make omelets without breaking a crate or two of eggs.
    edited January 2020 randominternetpersonentropysretrogustowilliamhcgWerksmbenz1962steveau
  • Reply 6 of 23
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,294member
    I'd love a mosquito zapper. I've been interested in the idea for years but as mosquitoes have a 'stealth mode' that makes them very hard to find if you swipe at them - but miss. Just being able to locate them successfully, would be a help so if this thing can do that reliably it could prove useful.
    retrogusto
  • Reply 7 of 23
    MorkMork Posts: 20member
    I can see the Modobag being banned by airlines for safety reasons. An aircraft belly full of lithium or equivalent batteries is not a good thing. 
  • Reply 8 of 23
    Mork said:
    I can see the Modobag being banned by airlines for safety reasons. An aircraft belly full of lithium or equivalent batteries is not a good thing. 
    What about having a $1500 bag going around on conveyor belts without supervision? I can foresee a lot of lost baggage claims for this...
    llama
  • Reply 9 of 23
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    It’s odd that a promo video for a $1590 scooter contains 1 second of footage of the product in motion. 
    edited January 2020 minicoffee
  • Reply 10 of 23
    shaminoshamino Posts: 501member
    Mork said:
    I can see the Modobag being banned by airlines for safety reasons. An aircraft belly full of lithium or equivalent batteries is not a good thing. 
    So-called "smart bags" must have the battery disconnected when on-board the plane.  The battery must (if I remember correctly) be carried on, not checked.

    From the description, the Modobag has this capability.  Of course, the real benefit is as carry-on.  For checked baggage, it's probably just fine to use a cart to transport your bag to the counter and hand it off to the airline.
    What about having a $1500 bag going around on conveyor belts without supervision? I can foresee a lot of lost baggage claims for this...
    I see lots of expensive (usually designer) luggage on baggage carousels all the time.  I don't think this is any more likely to get stolen than, say, Louis Vuitton luggage.

    My issue with this is that the battery and motor add weight and take up space.  Sure, the bag is the same size as traditional luggage, but it is going to have less capacity.  And once you're on the plane, you're going to have to lift it into the overhead bin.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,119member
    avon b7 said:
    I'd love a mosquito zapper. I've been interested in the idea for years but as mosquitoes have a 'stealth mode' that makes them very hard to find if you swipe at them - but miss. Just being able to locate them successfully, would be a help so if this thing can do that reliably it could prove useful.
    lol. ok you buy it first.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,119member

    Mork said:
    I can see the Modobag being banned by airlines for safety reasons. An aircraft belly full of lithium or equivalent batteries is not a good thing. 
    It is so ridiculous. Most people need to walk more, not less.




    edited January 2020
  • Reply 13 of 23
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,119member
    These are just pretty horrible. I'm guessing they exist to accumulate VC funding in order to pay the founders and execs, because nobody can honestly believe they're going to be viable products.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    maltzmaltz Posts: 336member
    There's something inherently annoying about watching a portrait-mode video on a landscape-mode device.

    FTFY.  It's not that the video and the device don't match up - it's that the video and our eyes don't match up.  Humans' field of vision is wider than it is tall.  Turning the TV to match the video is even stupider than shooting portrait in the first place.

    entropysStrangeDays
  • Reply 15 of 23
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,507member
    neilm said:
    Well screw that wimpy laser pointer on the mosquito finder!

    I want a full-fledged laser weapon that'd vaporize those suckers in mid air. Well sure, there might be a bit of collateral damage, melted holes in your couch, the occasional brush fire on a cat, that sort of thing. But you can't make omelets without breaking a crate or two of eggs.
    Love to see the wattage involved in one capable of bringing down blowflies and cockroaches.

    even more fun, draw a cockroach on your passed out drunk mate’s forehead.

    actually having just watched the bzigo video I suspect they need to come out with a version targeting the little girl and her dog. More annoying than mosquitos.
    edited January 2020
  • Reply 16 of 23
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,167member
    It is so ridiculous. Most people need to walk more, not less.
    This is a typical bullshit generalization. Your opinion that 'most' people, however many that might be, need to walk more doesn't come anywhere near invalidating the concept of the luggage.

    Ignoring the polish this bag may need to make it a better product, there are probably a lot of people who would benefit from owning such a bag. Running around from gate to gate at last minute gate (not flight!) changes can run can tire someone easily, especially in a big airport.

    If someone needs to walk, let them do it on their schedule, not on the whim of an airport. As part of my PT I used to walk approx. 6 miles a day 5 and 6 days a week. No I've cut that in half and substituted increased exercise. I can do that at my pace to stave off pain. Not so easy at an airport.

    The article mentions recent injury and reduced ability to walk. I'm still carrying around a bit of Soviet low-tech by way of Southeast Asia. Years ago, it wasn't too much of a problem. I was told it wouldn't get better and has steadily got worse. I'm lucky that I don't have to fly anymore but if it was required, I'd give that case a hard look. Always traveling light very frequently with just a carry-on, this might have been just the thing.

    Injured and debilitated people aren't the majority but there are enough that they shouldn't be ignored for the sake of making a sweeping, poorly qualified generalization.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    I'm betting bzigo was developed by people who thought Silicon Valley was a documentary.  
    "not hot dog"

    StrangeDays
  • Reply 18 of 23
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,119member
    macgui said:
    It is so ridiculous. Most people need to walk more, not less.
    This is a typical bullshit generalization. Your opinion that 'most' people, however many that might be, need to walk more doesn't come anywhere near invalidating the concept of the luggage.
    It’s really not. Perhaps you’re willfully ignorant of the steeply rising obesity rates, shrug. And the people the marketing is targeting are perfectly capable young adults, not handi-capable invalids. The truly disabled use real motorized wheelchairs or airport carts, not this absurd joke of a product. 

    But if you believe in the product so much, send us a photo when you buy one of these luggage scooters.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    larryalarrya Posts: 587member
    I think the skiin thing has potential.  It's the most practical way to monitor breathing, and author admits that all the criticisms are no different from what we already have with health monitoring.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,840member
    You missed the best one... the little robot that brings you toilet paper. Because, everyone needs a robot sitting around with a roll at the ready instead of just having an extra one (or more) under the sink. LOL

    macgui said:
    It is so ridiculous. Most people need to walk more, not less.
    This is a typical bullshit generalization. Your opinion that 'most' people, however many that might be, need to walk more doesn't come anywhere near invalidating the concept of the luggage.
    It’s really not. Perhaps you’re willfully ignorant of the steeply rising obesity rates, shrug. ...
    Except that the main issue is diet, not lack of movement. And, unfortunately, to fix that one, we're going to have to wait for the government, doctors, and even the general public perception of what people should be eating, to change.
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