Each year at the CES technology show, companies like LG, Samsung, and Intel flaunt their latest innovations. Supercomputers the size of a credit card, 4K TVs as thin as wallpaper, and smartphones that can 3D map their environment were just a few of the inventions showcased during this year's exhibition.
But while CES can be a showcase for trends that are likely to dominate the tech world over the coming months, it's also home to the bizarre and strange. This year's conference, which officially concluded on Jan. 8, included demonstrations of everything from "smart" hairbrushes to "intelligent" toothbrushes and shoes that suck up dust and crumbs as you walk.
Here's a look at some of the strangest devices from the CES show floor this year.
Kérastase Hair Coach Powered by Withings
You know what your next hair brush really needs? No, not softer bristles or a rounder shape for easier styling — an Internet connection. That's what L'Oréal, Nokia-owned fitness tech startup Withings, and luxury haircare company Kérastase are betting.
The three companies collaborated on a smart hairbrush with a microphone that "listens" to the sound of hair brushing, as well as an accelerometer, gyroscope and other sensors. The brush then feeds data to a mobile app, with the goal being to prevent users from damaging their hair. The most surprising aspect may be its price; the brush will retail for "under $200" when it launches in mid-2017, making it pricier than even most high-end hairbrushes.
Hushme Voice Mask
We've all been stuck next to that loud person bellowing over the phone, whether it be at a coffee shop, on a bus, or while waiting at the airport. The HushMe aims to get rid of these unpleasant encounters, but in a seemingly uncomfortable and utterly bizarre way. The HushMe consists of a pair of earbuds attached to a padded mask that covers the wearer's mouth to muffle his or her voice while speaking. It doesn't look like an accessory most would choose to wear.
Swagtron Swagsurf Electric Surfboard
Swagtron is hoping that the electric "hoverboards" that dominated 2016 will be equally as popular with the beach crowd. The company debuted the Swagsurf, a $2,400 motor-powered surfboard that can reach up to 15 miles per hour on water, during this year's conference. Let's just hope the Swagsurf's battery isn't as prone to overheating as those found in Swagtron's older Swagway scooters.
Denso Vacuum Shoes
CES is full of peculiar home products, but perhaps the oddest came from Japanese firm Denso. The company showcased a pair of vacuum-cleaning shoes capable of sucking up dirt as you walk. The heel includes a pedal which activates the motor, as CNET explains, prompting the shoe to inhale nearby debris and store it in a tiny box in the shoe's sole. It's a concept in the prototype stage, so there's a slim chance you'll ever be able to wear Denso's housecleaning footwear.
Uzer Eugene Trash Scanner
French company Uzer wants us to think twice before throwing something in the trash. Its Eugene gadget tells users how to sort recycling and trash items by scanning its barcode, assuming the product packaging is still in good enough shape to do so. Each time an item is scanned, the app stores it so that it can easily be reordered.
Hypersuit VR Simulator
Virtual reality can trick your mind into feel like you're standing on the edge of a cliff or using a jetpack to soar above the clouds. But it does little else to simulate the sensation of movement, which is where the Hypersuit comes in. The simulator is a massive exosuit that can be controlled via arm movements while lying on the device. This, its creators hope, will make the virtual reality experience all the more convincing.
Jagger & Lewis Smart Dog Collar
Wearable tech is usually easy to find on the CES showroom floor, but most of these gadgets are typically meant to monitor a person's health and activity. This isn't the case for Jagger & Lewis' latest product, which it bills as a high-tech dog collar that can help owners understand how their pets are feeling. It claims to detect changes in behavior, which can make it easier for dog caretakers to pick up on illnesses earlier.
Kolibree Ara Smart Toothbrush
The tech industry has developed an obsession with artificial intelligence over the past several years, as evidenced by gadgets such as Kolibree's new toothbrush. The oral hygiene product includes its own processor and is said to use deep learning algorithms that learn about the user's habits, complete with an "offline" mode.
Ekko Connected Mirror
French company Miliboo is betting people want to use their mirror for much more than grooming and assembling outfits. The startup showcased its Ekko smart mirror at CES, which plays music and video, displays the news, tells the time, and more.
The Lovebox is being promoted as a discrete way to correspond with a significant other. It looks like a $99 wooden trinket box that connects to the Internet and works with a mobile app. When the recipient receives a new message, a heart on the front of the box spins, and the text appears on a mirror that sits on top of the box.