Somebody snuck a potato int CES 2020 to make a scathing point about useless smart gadgets


Startup founder launches ″Potato″ at CES 2020

I almost walked right by it. But then I realized the object the young man was holding up, apparently thrilling the small crowd gathered around his tiny CES 2020 booth, was a potato.

The vegetable in question looked like an ordinary, chunky Idaho spud, although protruding out of one side was some kind of antenna, a black plastic appendage bent upward. Close to the potato’s surface, the exterior of the antenna became a thin, blade-like electrode that pierced the skin, clearly doing… something.

The man was regaling the crowd with his incredible smart product, which he said was finally unlocking the awesome decision-making power of the potato. The antenna, which he called the NeuraSpud, tapped into the potato’s “artificial intelligence.” Once you connected your smartphone over Bluetooth to the device and launched the accompanying app, you could ask the potato anything — with your voice, no less — and it would spout an answer on the screen, the digital-vegetable equivalent of a Magic Eight Ball.

If the smart potato sounds like a big, stupid stunt, that’s because it is. The man behind the idea, Nicholas Baldeck from France, told me he brought his admittedly ridiculous “invention” to CES to make a point about the torrent of smart gadgets at the show, many of which don’t really solve problems at all.

“This product has way more chance of success than 60% of the startups here,” Baldeck says. “I am skeptical of this idea of ‘connected everything.’ Now it looks like innovation is about putting a chip into any object. I’m not sure the word ‘smart’ makes more sense before the word toothbrush than the word potato.”

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The PowerRay drone is an aquatic spyglass for playboy fishermen

Who needs fishing prowess when you have a remote-controlled, sonar-equipped, bait-dropping, mini-submersible at your disposal? Because with the new PowerRay underwater drone, that’s exactly what you get.

The PowerRay UUV comes from Beijing-based drone manufacturer PowerVision, makers of the PowerEgg UAV that we saw last August. While the Ray officially debuted back at CES in January, a technical issue with their display (read: their tank sprung a leak) prevented the company from showing off the device in its natural environment.

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Ascent Solar debuts solar powered battery for smartphones

Ascent Solar Technologies EnerPlex solar charging products.

Ascent Solar Technologies Inc is a developer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art, flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules integrated into off-grid applications as well as the EnerPlex(TM) series of consumer products. The company has debuted new additions to their EnerPlex product lineup, including the Surfr battery and solar case for the iPhone 5 and 5s as well as additional solar products and charging accessories, at CES 2014 in Las Vegas.


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Lumus DK-40 Glass to have full augmented reality

Lumus DK-40

Lumus, a transparent display specialist and military head-up screen supplier, is wading into the wearable computing market, revealing a new developer kit that, unlike Google’s Glass, offers full augmented reality support. Set to debut at CES 2014 next month, the Lumus DK-40 monocular dev kit may look ostensibly like Glass at first glance, but where Google’s headset has a small display-block suspended in the corner, the entire right lens of the Lumus wearable is in fact a 640 x 480 display. That means developers building apps for the Android-powered headset can overlay graphics directly on top of the real-world view, rather than simply sliding in separate notifications as Glass does.



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PowerTrekk uses water to charge mobile phones



A Swedish company, myFC,  has figured out how to power smartphones using a system that includes some water, a tray, a little round container, and an eyeglass case styled cover. The company is introducing its PowerTrekk system to Americans at the CES show in Vegas. PowerTrekk describes its charger as a pocket size, lightweight gizmo for users “who spend time away from the electricity grid.” Translation: If you are hiking over the weekend with no Starbucks or friend’s flat in sight, your phone can still get charged. (Videos and pics)

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Eight Great Explosions in Video


What will it be like to watch television in 2030?

Futurist Thomas Frey:  Having just returned from four days at the famous Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I am spending the next couple weeks sorting through the vast array of products I came across, looking for overarching trends and patterns that may signal lifestyle shifts in the future.


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