CES 2018: Unveiled

Photos by Katrina Lat.

Last night, CES Unveiled 2018, the official media event of CES, welcomed 1200+ industry analysts and members of the press. Over 150 companies showcased their products in this sneak peak into what the main show, which begins on Tuesday, will have in store. 

Here are my highlights from CES Unveiled 2018.

Heatworks Tetra

The Heatworks Tetra, which hits the market at the end of the year for $299 USD (~$370 CAD), is quite the multitasker of a device. Its main purpose is as a speedy and portable countertop dishwasher, the size of a typical drying rack. A full load takes only 10 minutes to complete, and users don’t even have to hook it up to a water supply – simply add the water yourself and plug in into a standard electric socket. The device’s secret lies in Heatworks’ patented Ohmic Array Technology, which utilizes graphite panels, as opposed to heating elements, to heat water in a more pure and efficient manner. In addition to its dishwashing duties, the Tetra also functions as a disinfectant machine, and even as a sous vide cooker. Top that off with an eye catching design of curved glass and orange panels, and you’ve got something both pretty and practical.


During last year’s CES, I encountered an array of humanoid robots: some practical, some borderline creepy, and some cute. But none of these robots came remotely close to Mayfield Robotics’ Kuri when it comes to cute factor. A picture and description don’t quite do this little machine enough justice. Thanks to the help of Pixar animator, Doug Dooley, Kuri’s playful demeanor is a joy to behold. Give her a rub on the head, and she’ll nuzzle you. Her eyes are black holes with white ‘lids’, but incredibly expressive and affectionate. Kuri also operates as a speaker (and has some pretty impressive dance moves), and is equipped with electric motors to move around your house. She also has a 1080p HD camera and an AI that captures potential photographic magic as it occurs. She also tells jokes, but can only speak ‘robot’ (a variety of bleeps and bloops)… however, if her robotic laughter was any indication, she’s very good at that too. If you’d like to bring this cute little robot home, she retails for $799 USD (~$990 CAD).


The MARS earbuds seem like something straight out of a science fiction novel; these earpieces support real-time language translation. We were shown a quick demonstration of the technology, in which delegates could speak foreign tongues to the booth runners, who would translate their words. I’m looking forward to trying the earbuds on for myself later this week, but if they work the way they’re being marketed, you have an especially useful piece of technology.


Marketed as “the world’s first home dispensary”, the Oblend allows users to blend essential oils and other botanical extracts into creams, oils, and vapes. The obvious use for this device is for cannabis, most notably for medical users who want to ensure they are using the precise doses of the substance to help with their ailment. However, it can be used with a wide variety of extracts, all of which Altopa Inc., the system’s creator, leaves to the experts to formulate and dispense into Oblend compatible pods. 

Romy Figure

Romy, and its innovative cosmetics, which allow users to custom formulate skincare serums tailored to their skins’ specific needs, have been around for a little while now. However their product is nonetheless fascinating, and their newly redesigned machine is a sleek device. Figure is connected to a mobile app that analyzes personal data through a combination of smart devices and manual input, to prescribe and create a preservative-free combination in seconds. However, this level of personalized luxury comes at a price, 790 EUR (~$1200 CAD) to be precise, and around 15 EUR (~$20 CAD) for refills. 

Short Edition Short Story Dispenser

When was the last time you read a short story… for fun… on actual paper? Short Edition’s Short Story Dispenser, which prints one, three, or five minute stories, brings “literature to unexpected places”. The stories are gathered from the company’s own online community, where 8000 authors share their work, and 218,000 subscribers read, rate, and ultimately influence which pieces make it into the Dispenser. Part of my intrigue in the Dispenser lies in its amalgamation of contrasts: the fast paced, instant-gratification-wielding, digital entity – with what seems to be its antithesis – a pause, a savoured experience, a tangible interaction. Short Story Dispensers are currently installed in select restaurants, transportation hubs, hospitals, and learning institutions, where they welcome patrons, improve waiting times, reduce stress, promote reading and writing, and overall deliver a little bit of joy and culture into people’s lives. 


It seems like there is a consistent stream of what claims to be the latest and greatest in skincare product innovation. However, thanks to Neutrogena and its new SkinScanner, now beauty mavens can actually understand what’s working and what isn’t. The device, which slides onto the top half of an iPhone 6S and up, magnifies your phone’s camera, illuminates it with LED lights, and adds a moisture sensor. It’s then used to ‘scan’ the skin at the forehead, cheek, and chin area, which is amalgamated into the Neutrogena Skin360 app, and analyzed in terms of dryness, pore size, and fine lines. Though I have admittedly seen similar devices before, most notably at last year’s CES Eureka Park, the SkinScanner is a far more intuitive device and OS, and Neutrogena’s existing expertise in skincare is a definite plus. This neat piece of beauty tech will be available this summer, and will retail for $49.99 USD (~$60CAD)


With over $2.2M in crowdfunding thus far, it’s clear that there’s an interest in what Innomdle Lab has to offer with SGNL. This smartwatch strap transforms the user’s own finger into a phone speaker: simply take your pointer finger, motion as if you’re plugging your ear, and like (technologically enabled) magic, you can hear the caller on the other line. The device works by transmitting sound vibrations through skin, and pairs with smartphones via Bluetooth. This incredibly neat piece of truly next-gen technology will set you back $149 USD (~$185 CAD), but you’ll have to wait, as crowdfunding backers are receiving their shipments first.

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