This Year’s Weird and Wacky Gadgets

Robotic waiters and smart assistants that follow you around are among the innovations introduced at this year’s electronics trade show

Photo: Courtesy of CES 2020.

By Jennifer Hughes


As there are every year, there were a lot of innovative and futuristic gadgets on display this year’s Consumer Technology Association trade show in Las Vegas (once named the Consumer Electronics Show, it’s now known simply as CES). We saw an increase of tech aimed to help with all kinds of health issues, from face masks that feed you clean air and robotic arms designed to restore mobility to stroke victims to smart watches that can detect sleep apnea and blood pressure-sensing earbuds.

There were also a lot of products that belong to the world of the weird and wonderful.


Running out of toilet paper when you need it most is a problem for which Charmin has developed a solution: RollBot. Rollbot is a little bear on wheels with a toilet paper roll hat that delivers toilet paper to those in need. You can summon RollBot to come to your aid using your smartphone.


Samsung introduced its ball-shaped robot, named (naturally) Ballie. Ballie acts as both a personal companion and a smart-home device. It gets around with the help of cameras and sensors and can control different smart-home features, take photos, act as a fitness assistant, and more.


Qoobo is a therapeutic robot in the form of a soft, furry cushion with a tail—sort of a headless cat. Created by Yukai Eningeering, the robot companion reacts differently when it is stroked or rubbed. It can also wag its tail to say hello. Though it may look odd, it’s been shown to help reduce stress and has even been tested in elder-care facilities, where it increased interaction and kept participants entertained.

Segway S-Pod

The latest advancement in Segway technology is here, and it looks a lot like Professor Xavier’s wheelchair in the X-Men comics. Segway S-Pod is a self-balancing personal transport pod that can be controlled by a joystick. It also has automatic braking, exterior lights that also act as turn signals and can go up to nearly 40 kilometres an hour (25 miles an hour).

Onewheel Yeti Cooler

Coolers that just keep foods cold are so last year. This year, the Onewheel Yeti Cooler made a huge splash at CES. It might just look like a plain old cooler, but this gadget is in fact a self-balancing one-wheeled electric skateboard and Yeti cooler combined. Now you can ride your cooler to your next BBQ.


It seems cats were on the brain at this year’s CES, as PuduTech introduced yet another feline-inspired gadget—BellaBot, a table-waiting robot cart that can carry up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of food and meows when it arrives at your table. Though it can react with pleasure when a restaurant patron pets its ears, it can also get angry if customers spend too much time with it and prevent it from working.


Are you sick of walking through airports? Well, the Modobag has you covered. Much more than mere luggage, it’s motorized ride-on luggage. Goodbye walking, hello traffic jams in the terminal.