Talking toilet and upgraded robot dog - the strangest and quirkiest gadgets at CES 2018

From Sony's adorable robot dog to Kohler's futuristic intelligent toilet, and Coravin's wine-pouring gadget that keeps the cork sealed, here are some of the wacky finds at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS - The world's largest consumer tech show, CES, features some of the most innovative stuff from the world's biggest firms. But also on display are some devices that are strange and quirky, guaranteed to make life a little more zany. Here's a look at three of them.

1. Sony Aibo robot dog

The original Aibo robot dog won the hearts of many when it was first rolled out 20 years ago, but, for many of its fans, sadly discontinued in 2006. This year, the Aibo lives again, in a more mobile, lifelike and even - dare I say it - cuter than before.

The Aibo is an adorable, little robot dog with large, expressive Oled eyes which can recognise its users, and a mechanical tail that wags a little too much.

Sony brought it one step closer to real-life pups by implementing a brand-new set of artificial intelligence software into the new model , which, according to the company, includes giving Aibo its own personality and emotions.

Sensors on the back, head and chin let Aibo react appropriately when you pet or scratch it in those areas, while microphones pick up commands such as "Sit, Aibo" - although whether it will actually follow commands depends on its (robotic) mood.

The Aibo comes with 22 motion actuators, giving it extraordinarily lifelike motion, from arching its back to plodding alongside you, to even raising a leg to "pee" on something.


Sony's Aibo robot dog comes with 22 motion actuators, giving it extraordinarily lifelike motion. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

It is powered by a two-hour battery which takes about three hours to charge, and is available for sale in Japan for US$1,700 ($2,250).

2. Kohler Numi Intelligent Toilet


Users will be able to talk to the Kohler Numi Intelligent Toilet once virtual assistant support is rolled out some time in June this year. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

As tech companies push outsmart home devices one after another, it makes sense that even the last private sanctuary will inevitably fall prey to smart devices.

American plumbing and furniture company Kohler showcased its latest smart toilet, the Numi Intelligent toilet, drawing curious crowds to its display.

The Numi toilet looks like something straight out of a new-age spaceship, with a minimalist, modern design, and comes with fancy adjustable lighting as well as speakers.

 
 

All functions of the Numi toilet are controlled by a central touchscreen, which raises questions of just how sanitary it would be if guests are over.

A user can adjust anything potty-related, from the pressure or temperature of the bidet to the intensity of the toilet's "drying function". The toilet lid is controlled by placing one's foot by the sensor on the toilet's base.

The gimmickry does not end there. Users will be able to talk to this potty once Kohler rolls out virtual assistant support, such as with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, some time in June this year.

Once this happens, you can yell at your toilet to raise the lid or set the seat warmer to more comfortable temperature. And if you forget reading material, you can ask Assistant or Alexa to tell you a joke or read you a story.

The full-fledged toilet, along with all the frills, will set buyers back US$7,200.

3. Coravin wine pourer

This is designed to store wine in as pristine a condition as long as possible, by letting a drinker pour some out without even uncorking the bottle.

The opener goes over the wine cork, which sticks a needle right through the cork. A gas canister forces argon gas into the bottle, displacing the same amount of wine which comes shooting out through the needle.

Coravin inventor Greg Lambrecht told The Straits Times Tech that argon was chosen because it is an inert gas which does not react with the wine.

Once done, users simply remove the opener and the needle comes straight out, while the cork reseals itself, thanks to its porous, corky properties.

The base Coravin model goes for US$199, while a top-end model, which comes with Bluetooth connectivity to keep track of how much wine is left in the bottle, goes for US$999.