Weird CES 2017 exhibits: Bio 3D printers, Wi-Fi lightbulbs and ‘radiation-resistant underwear’


It is impossible to try to fit everything I saw at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) into just one or two articles, so I took some time to pontificate on each of the new products and technologies I saw at the convention.

After careful consideration, I decided that while I had my favorite new gadgets, there were some other exhibits that piqued my interest, but also stood out as being a bit outside the standard fair at CES. Some of the new projects in development are practical, groundbreaking, and protective; all of them seemed to embody the way Sci-Fi is becoming standard procedure—which, for me, is a strange thing.

Read more: 5 coolest gadgets of CES 2017

Biological 3D printing

Not necessarily a new technology, but one that I certainly had little understanding of until I saw it at CES, bio-printing certainly presents an interesting new avenue for researchers.

Biological 3D printing involves using synthetic materials to replicate biological material, which provides researchers a more authentic material to work with while developing medical treatments and various consumer products. Additionally, there is the possibility to use the same 3D printing technology to generate actual biological tissue. This, of course, could lead to breakthroughs in both organ repair and replacement, as well as cosmetic procedures in patients with disfigurements.

The synthetic material that I saw at CES was formed into a variety of different body parts — including a nose, ear, and simple square tissue samples. The samples were bright pink, and had the texture of a jelly, but with a stickier consistency. One of the goals for researchers working on this material is to eliminate unnecessary animal testing for consumer use. Because the synthetic materials produced are better representations of how human users will react to the product/procedure being tested, there is little reason to use animal test subjects.

Floss/Time automated floss dispenser

Not everything at CES was lifesaving or world changing. Some things at CES were about the small things — the day-to-day gadgets. For the Floss/Time creators, CES was about dental hygiene. The Floss/Time automated dispenser is an innocuous enough product, which mounts to bathroom mirror and works with various colored lights to interact with users.

At the press of a button, the dispenser provides users with a strand of floss to use, and begins timing the user’s flossing. Starting with a frown and ending with a smile, Floss/Time provides a low-impact way to engage users. Additionally, if Floss/Time is not used for an extended period, the frowning face will light up continuously, silently shaming you into pressing that button again.

Weird CES 2017 exhibits: Bio 3D printers, Wi-Fi lightbulbs and 'radiation-resistant underwear'

Wi-Fi lightbulbs

Home automation is nothing new, but Xiaomi has taken things a step further with their line of smart lights.


The Yeelight is an LED lightbulb that contains Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology in the base, allowing users to control lights through a smartphone app. Where previous automation technology relied on separate devices to produce the various lighting options programmed into the home system, the Yeelight is self-contained.

This gives users the ability to customize and change lighting options on the fly, and with relative ease. Lights can be grouped into rooms or moods, or individual lights can be manipulated to produce a variety of effects.

The whole thing seems rather simplistic and unnecessary — lights seems like such a basic component of a home, after all — yet I couldn’t help but be captivated by the exhibitor’s demonstration. Where past automation systems required specialists to program functions into home automation tablets or keyboards, these lights functioned independently. It was a glimpse into automation’s future.

Wi-Fi and radiation-resistant underwear

And if you are thinking about the ramifications of all those Wi-Fi beams zipping around the place in the home of the future, passing through . . . some, ahem, sensitive areas . . . fret no more!

Weird CES 2017 exhibits: Bio 3D printers, Wi-Fi lightbulbs and 'radiation-resistant underwear'

Spartan has developed a pair of boxer briefs built to “protect your family jewels” through a high-tech weave of silver thread and cotton.

The company claims that their drawers will keep out a number of Wi-Fi frequencies commonly associated with Wi-Fi and cellphone devices. They also have the briefs made in Paris, so you’re sure to look exceptionally chic while protecting yourself.

Also, Spartan claims that their fabric blend helps to kill bacteria that commonly likes to stew in underwear, eliminating unpleasant downstairs odors.

I hope you enjoyed a brief foray into the odder (and perhaps more interesting) side of CES. I’m sure that there were even weirder things on the show floors that I did not get a chance to see, but these were my picks. Maybe next year I dedicate a little more time searching out even stranger gizmos!

Read more: CES Day 1: Man-sized drones, augmented reality glasses and ‘cute flying automatons’


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