It’s that time again: CES 2024. If you’re not familiar, that’s the tech trade jamboree happening right now in Las Vegas where every big brand (except Apple) tries to make a big impression with their latest innovations.

Some things are so innovative that the world isn’t quite ready for them. Past years’ efforts have included Samsung’s smart belt, Withings’ smart hairbrush, and this stunning pair of vacuum cleaner shoes.

I’m not at CES, but I have been keeping up with the news out of it, and a handful of weird products have stood out to me. Here they are in all their glory…

Acer’s laptop for YouTube viewers

How often have you found yourself too tired to watch YouTube thanks to the superhuman effort it takes to move a cursor across a screen? 

Don’t answer that, because Acer has the solution. The Swift 14 Go will detect when you’re on YouTube and offer playback controls on the touchpad saving you from the scourge of pulling a finger muscle when you really need to pause a video. Thanks Acer.

SenseAI’s brain-training headset

It may look like the kind of thing boxers put on their head before getting seven bells beaten out of them in the ring, but SenseAI’s headset is actually supposed to boost brain activity, rather than turn it to mush.

Using “advanced light stimulation technology”, the headset aims to help you think more sharply, focus more intently or simply calm your mind. It better do for its US$1,500 price tag (around NZ$2,412).

Flappie’s plan to ruin your cat’s day

It’s said that when cats bring in dead mice and birds to your home, it’s not because they’re relentless little psychopaths with a taste for blood, but because they want to teach you to hunt. It’s all well and good getting your food at Pak’n’Save, but could you take down a rat if push came to shove?

The killjoys at Flappie have a way of preventing this teaching moment. Using a motion sensor, a camera and a splash of AI, the company’s AI catflap can tell whether the cat attempting to come in is carrying a mouse with over 90% accuracy.  If the cat has an unwanted Plus One, the door won’t open. Simple as that. 

Of course, there’s nothing to stop an intelligent cat dropping its kill, letting the door unlock and then quickly grabbing its prey again for a swift entry. But if your cat is that smart, then you probably sleep with one eye open anyway.