CES 2024 officially kicks off on Jan. 9, but before the world’s glitziest tech showcase opens its doors, we’re already seeing some trends that are outlandish, offbeat, and peculiar.
At CES 2023, smart spectacles, wireless TVs, the metaverse, web 3.0, and sustainable tech were all the rage, but for CES 2024, another trend seems to be proliferating out of control. (Hint: It’s everywhere).
Take a look at the five weird trends we’re already seeing ahead of CES 2024.
CES 2024: Is this wild foldable 8K TV a hint of what’s in store?
1. Injecting AI into every damn thing
I’ve heard whispers about an AI-powered smart lamp that’s set to debut at CES 2024. Now, I’ve never been anti-AI. I believe it has its benefits, particularly in tech that is designed to learn users’ behavior (e.g., med-tech wearables and this Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses rival). However, what good is AI in a friggin’ lamp? I’ve also reviewed an indoor smart camera that uses AI — and that seemed a bit gimmicky, too.
Expect a gaggle of AI PCs, too, at CES 2024.
If these AI-powered products are any indication of what CES 2024 has to offer, be prepared to see a showcase filled with AI-powered gimmicks.
2. Brain-reading tech
Sens.ai is a brain-training system that is a CES 2024 Innovation Award Honoree. Using advanced light stimulation tech that “reads” neurofeedback, it’s designed to help make your mind sharper, calmer, and more at ease. That’s the cool part, but what’s bizarre is the weird cranium-cradling headset that you must don to enjoy brain-training benefits.
Also, couldn’t you achieve the same results — without the clunky headset — by exercising your mind in different ways? Like taking up chess, for example, or playing the New York Times‘ Wordle and Connections everyday. Reading is the oldest brain-training technique in the book (pun intended). Why not just grab a few books for your Kindle?
I plan to test and experiment with Sens.ai at CES 2024, so perhaps my experience with it may change my skeptical stance.
Another interesting product in this category is the Genipen, which lets users take notes on a physical piece of paper while their writing appears, in real time, as digital text on a display. On top of that, it can “analyze students’ cognitive and behavioral biometric time,” according to its CES 2024 Innovation Honoree page. These cognitive-focused systems are strange, but I’ll admit that I am intrigued.
3. ‘Aging’ tech
CES 2024 is set to feature an AARP-sponsored booth that showcases tech for the aging. According to one of the pitches I’ve received via email, one vendor is planning on giving CES 2024 attendees the opportunity to feel what it’s like to experience the mobility limitations that plague older adults. Samsung will be present, too, showcasing some smart home technologies that make it easier for the elderly to “age in place.”
There’s even a cellphone designed specifically for users with memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
However, there are some technologies that are a bit bizarre, including a holographic communications platform called “Proto” that’s designed to combat social isolation.
It was featured on the latest season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, too, where Kris Jenner pranked Khloe Kardashian with a holographic version of herself. Shudder.
4. AR/XR glasses
Meta and Ray-Ban have teamed up on two products: 2021’s Ray-Ban Stories — seemingly an early proof of concept that didn’t prove all that much — and 2023’s Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses. I’ve tested both, and I can understand why social media buzz around the newer product seems relatively explosive. Consumers are warming to the idea of making hi-tech glasses part of their lifestyles.
TCL RayNeo X2 Lite
Credit: TCL RayNeo X2 Lite
That being said, I’ve been seeing a flood of augmented-reality (AR) glasses that aim to steal Meta’s smart glasses spotlight. Some spectacles are designed to augment the displays on your mobile possessions (e.g., phone and laptop), delivering an incredible sense of immersion right before your very eyes (similar to the Viture One).
Still, others actually overlay virtual artifacts over your real-world surroundings like you’re in a sci-novel (something Meta’s smart glasses can’t do). Look out for brands like TCL and XREAL, which plan on revealing new, out-of-this-world glasses in the AR space.
5. Foldable TVs
Earlier this year, TCL teased an intriguing concept: an 8K OLED TV that can fold in half.
There’s a good chance that TCL may show off this bizarre prototype at CES 2024, too. TCL isn’t the only vendor that is expected to showcase bendy panels. C-SEED, according to Maxim, announced that it will unveil its luxurious, high-end, home theater-sized TVs at CES 2024.
Be sure to check out the TV trends we’re expecting to see at CES 2024, too. Mashable will be on the ground at the Las Vegas annual showcase, so stay tuned for our coverage.