The Weird Cool Stuff At CES 2014 That’ll Break The Bank

There were some obvious things that I have to have like the Seiki 4K 65” TV with HD up converting for around $2,000 . But, there were tons of unusual products that seemed to be working to drain my wallet even more quickly ranging from cars to home security systems.  Let’s talk about some of the ones I’ll likely buy. 

Ankidrive the Battle Racing Robotic Car Game

So I walk by a table and see folks racing, on a paper track, what appears to be slot-less slot cars about the size of hot wheels.  With Ankidrive you basically lay out a paper track and the cars can see the track and automatically stay on it.  You speed up and slow down (or ram) using your iDevice as a controller and you get the kind of play you’d have on a video game but with physical cars.  Two cars are about $200 but that is still a ton cheaper than a big slot car track and this would be far more fun because you get more control.  I was mesmerized by the race and damned if I don’t want this for my conference table.  I love my job. 

Piper Home Security/Home Automation/etc. Gadget

This was kind of a cool simple security solution.  The Piper is a little box with a 180 degree camera with digital pan/tilt/zoom that is also a Z-Wave controller.  You plug this into a corner of your room, connect it to WiFi and it will ping your phone if someone enters the room, and you can monitor and record them remotely.   

You can also have it automatically control your lights or you can use the interface to do that yourself.  Say someone is sneaking through your living room, it’ll alert you, you can turn on the lights and catch them in the act. 

Oh, it also has a really annoying alarm.  It has built in sensors for weather, temperature, and humidity that you can make into trigger events and an accelerometer that will alarm if someone moves the device or if a tornado decides to fly your house to Oz. Pretty cool. 

The Sapphire Wellness Watch

The show was awash with wearable technology but the best I saw was the Sapphire Wellness Watch.  This was the most complete Smartwatch of its type I’d yet seen. While it’ll connect to your phone you don’t really need the phone as it has a big display (for a watch) and gives you all the critical information including heart rate.   

It knows what you are doing and will adjust its reporting accordingly and will even alert you if you have been sitting too long. Its name comes from the Sapphire Crystal display it has which is incredibly hard to scratch or damage.  At over $300 it isn’t cheap but it is the best I’ve yet seen. 

Fuel Cell-Powered Battery Charger

I’ve been writing about these coming for years. The Upp device is a Fuel Cell which is a solid state generator typically running off alcohol or, in this case, liquid hydrogen. 

You see the FAA wasn’t all that happy about folks running around with a vial of pure alcohol but apparently they don’t have an issue with hydrogen (we’ll see when I go through security).  

The device costs $200 and you can buy the fuel at Brookstone where they sell it.   One fuel cartridge will charge your smartphone about 5 times which may get you through a week traveling.  

Also being sold (soon) by Brookstone, the Nectar Fuel Cell which could power your USB connected toy for up to two weeks. This could be handy during a major power outage or if you are camping. You can watch those TV shows you’ve cached from you TiVo for instance because, even though I’m camping, I want my TV to work.   (I’m really not much of a camper). 

Wrapping Up

If I’m counting correctly if I get all of this stuff I’ll be about $2,000 lighter but immeasurably happier (at least that’s what I’ll tell my wife if she asks). This was a great CES at least it will be until I get my credit card bill.