The Weirdest Gadgets of CES 2012

It has almost been a week since CES 2012 packed up shop. We’re pored over the best bits, and cranked-out as many previews of phones, TVs and ultrabooks as our fingers would allow. But what about those oddities that made us smile or laugh, but wouldn’t quite fit among our usual roster of reviews?

Not wanting to leave out these quirky underdogs, we’ve lumped them altogether for you. We have the weird, the wonderful, and a side order of creepiness for good measure. Oh, and some dancing cats.

The creepiest iPhone case in the world… ever

iPhone cases don’t come more terrifying than the Lethal Pro. Looking rather like a facehugger from the Alien flicks or a metallic extra from Arachnophobia, if Apple’s iPhone was ever to become a slasher movie star, it could do worse than team up with this gadget.
Lethal Pro
The idea may seem like a bit of a gimmick – a way to make your iPhone grapple onto a tree or other unlikely surface – but it’s incredibly well-made. Hewn out of metal and using strong hinges across each of its finger-like spines, the claim that it will clamp onto just about anything deserves to be taken seriously. It can hold any small electronics too. Used with a decent camera and wireless shutter controller, the Lethal Pro starts to make a lot of sense. It needs to – as it sells for around £100.

As much as we try to focus on the practical uses for this device, we can’t get over how creepy it looks. This thing has been haunting our dreams ever since CES. It has a facehugger-like grip on our subconscious. Brrrr.


The Samsung Window Display

A bit weird? Yes. Technically impressive? Absolutely. Seeing Samsung’s new window display in action felt like a view into the future – no pun intended.

It was not the existence of the technology itself that made this new gadget feel impressive. It was that it didn’t feel like a token gimmick.

The Samsung transparent touchscreen display is a window overlaid with a UI that can display things like tweets, the time, the weather and a calendar. Think Android widgets on a window pane and you’re pretty much there. Crucially, though, this window can make itself opaque – because having tweets on-screen is going to be a bit useless if you can’t see them for glaring sunlight.

It was a prototype, of course, but also offers a full touchscreen Windows interface with Microsoft Office and co. Merge in Siri-like voice support and we’re looking at the future. Or at least the future as seen from a 90s sci-fi film.

Behringer’s Honey I Blew Up the iPod Dock

We’ve wanted to experience Behringer’s iNuke Boom ever since we first heard about the gigantic iPod dock back in December 2011. We got our wish at CES 2012.

It’s 8 feet long, four feet high, weighs a ridiculous 315kg and pumps out 10,000W of power. The price for a living room talking point your significant other will never forgive you for? A mere $30k, or around £20,000 in today’s money.

And what comically oversized iPod dock would be complete without a pair of dancing girls to strut, slightly awkwardly, about its ginormous frame? Hearing this driver-packed leviathan thud out into the CES hall was one of our highlights of the show. It’s just a pity Behringer had to keep the volume at a sensible level to avoid tech conference eviction – and that it was hidden away in a corner of one of the lesser halls.

Oh, and if you’re reading, Behringer, we’ll happily take the iNuke Boom off your hands once you’re done with it.

Musical Dancing Cat (and Dog) Speakers

CES 2012 is a busy, bustling place. There’s a lot of rushing between stands, and missing the good bits is all-too easy. But these musical dancing animals stopped us in our tracks instantly.

Oddly enough, they’re not what the stand was primarily bigging-up and, come to think of it, we’re not even sure what company was showing them off. But they’re cute, aren’t they?

These dancing animals are speakers that dance along to the music you pipe through them, using a 3.5mm jack connection. Top points go to the doggie on the right, for his flawless rhythm and John Travolta circa 1978 moves. Hands up if you want one.

The Johnny 5 Speaker – a snip at $50k

To buy all the high-end speakers at CES 2012, you’d have to remortgage a small country. But perhaps the oddest-looking and most tasteless of the lot were these babies. They feature three bass drivers down below, four mid-range cones in the top section and one extra driver, which we imagine is there to add some extra presence at the top-end – it looks a little large to be a conventional tweeter.Johnny 5

Other than being floored by the $50,000 price, we were struck by quite how tacky the wood veneer along its edges looked, and how close they are to an ode to Short Circuit star Johnny 5. It’s almost enough to make us like them. Almost.

In their defence, they did sound fantastic, but what would you expect for the price of three new Volkswagen Golf cars?

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