The weird and wonderful at CES 2018

March 8, 2018

CES 2018 has been and gone for another year - We took a look back at the weird and wonderful products that we saw this year.


Reach Robotics showcased their MekaMon robot at CES 2018 and this is certainly an interesting project. The idea behind the product is combine augmented reality, gaming and next level robotics to battle other MekaMon’s in the comfort of your own living room. Cool right? It’s all controlled through an app on your smartphone, allowing you to have full flexibility over the robot, what it does and where it goes. This takes the traditional gap between online gaming and remote controlled hardware and turns it on its head, expect any current fans of drones to have this on their Christmas list by the end of the year.

We are proud to say we have worked with Reach Robotics on a yet unlaunched project as part of the MekaMon range, and we’re excited to see what else is launching this year, and indeed into 2019 as the MekaMon range grows.


SenseGlove is a new piece of hardware for fans and users of VR, transforming a currently visual led experience into something far more immersive. Far from just looking into a 360 environment what if you could get a real sense of touch while you’re in the virtual world?

With their new product, the Sense Glove is attached to your hand and connected with the VR headset, and then you’re free to pick things up, like a cup of tea, and get a real feel, via haptic feedback. It’s a hard nut to crack, but Sense Glove are making huge strides and showcased this technology at CES 2018.

NeoMano Glove

As Product Designers, we love see design thinking helping people in their everyday lives and that’s exactly why we love this product. What if people who have paralysis of the hands could have a way to grip again? Well, that’s exactly what the NeoMano glove does.

There are two settings to this wonderful product, grip or ungrip. By using the “grip” setting, the titanium wires on 3 fingers helps you to grip a glass of water, a door knob, or even a toothbrush, giving user a huge jump in independence. Very useful inspiration to see assistive technology such as this making a huge impact at CES.

Sleep Number - 360 Smart Bed

The extension of “wellbeing” has fully moved into the arena of Sleep this year at CES 18. There were many interesting product that focused on better living through better sleep. However Beds themselves, have lacked innovation for many years its seems. Generally avoiding the IoT trend of digitizing your home up until now. So imagine a bed that changes the firmness as you change position in bed. Or one that adjusts to your snoring to make you snore less. Well SleepNumber have gone about making this a reality.

Technically quite an interesting brief to tackle. The bed automatically adjusts the bed position for you based on how you are sleeping and also tracks how you sleep throughout the night and gives you tips on how to improve this via your SleepIQ score on the app. If this can measurably improve the quality of sleep, then its has a potentially huge impact on a market which hasn’t evolved much in the last 50 years.

Aflac Duck Companion

We did say Weird and Wonderful. No this is not Ben Affleck's latest roll. Aflac the Duck has been specifically and thoughtfully developed to help children going through cancer treatment, it can be a stressful time with lots of new and difficult medication and therapies taking place, and is, of course, a scary time for both parents and children alike. That’s why Aflac made a robot duck that can help children relate.

The robot reacts to how children interact with it, to support and comfort them during treatment. As well as being incredibly cuddly,  it dances, nuzzles, has breath and a heartbeat, as you can even tickle it. An innovation emotion reader which allows children to share their emotions through a series of emoji cards can really transform a children’s experience at such a scary and stressful time, and offer them a measure of control.

The duck's makers also talked about how it can take the spotlight off of the child and will put it on the duck, so the parents can explain the duck will be going to therapy today. Sounds good to us! We think its a fascinating area of research, the emotional factors behind those processes in the body which enable healing for such a worthy target user as children's hospitals.

Toyota’s E-Pallete

One of the most interesting ideas this year was from Toyota who showed their impressive e-Pallete. The idea behind the vehicle it is that you can base it on various needs, business ideas and lifestyles. For example, you could have a Pizza restaurant or a hotel, all from a vehicle. The fundamental premise is that users engagement with retail is evolving, and the e-Pallete means people no longer have to go to shops, the shops go to them.

This isn’t the only revolutionary change to an industry which is getting into the fast lane. Uber has been testing self-driving taxis, with no driver needed, therefore reducing costs for the rider while the likes of Audi and Tesla have been testing self-driving cars too. Could we soon have self-driving clothes shops arrive at our doorstep? At a time when all brands are searching for their unique selling point, could this be it for restaurant and retail brands alike? Companies like Pizza Hut or Amazon could add another string to the bow by coordinating with Toyota on this.


At CES 2018, we saw a plethora of Wireless Technology being showcased, but one that stood out was the Wi-Charge system. The system works by attaching a light to the ceiling of your house or office and then attach a dongle into your phone to allow it to charge.

The technology still has a bit of a way to go, because not everyone will like extra hardware, but if they can work together with big companies like Apple and Samsung, this could create an exciting future for the Wi-Charge device. Additionally one wonders if the market might perceive a negative impact on health from a remote source having the capacity to charge a device. Not a million miles from one of Teslas original demonstrations.

So that draws a close to some of our picks from CES 2018. Just like our Labs here at Flynn Product Design, the coming 12 months will be hard at work developing and raising the level of innovation, Therefore we expect the curve to continue, revealing even more innovation at CES 2019.

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