Buried among the swarms of smart TVs, the latest mobile phones and 8K cameras on display at consumer electronics show CES in Las Vegas, is a group of wacky and almost too-quirky-to-be-true tech gadgets - many yet to hit the market.
Robotic pet dogs, personal belly fat scanners and TV screen top hats: the Herald swims through the some 4500 companies exhibiting at CES to find some of the most unusual, and quirky, products hoping to be the next big consumer trend.
The mosquito laser
American-based Israeli company Bzigo has designed a laser to mount in the home to target and circle troublesome mosquitoes. While the first generation of its laser product just provides a target on the bugs, the company's second generation model is promising to follow that up with a mini drone to zap the midges dead.
Bzigo's laser tracks flying insects with using artificial intelligence and vision technology. The laser tracks the bug to where it lands and sends a notification to a user's smartphone whilst drawing a circle around the insect to be killed by the user.
While the product is still about 18 months away from hitting the market, company co-founder Benjamin Resnick says the product is no gimmick. The company has already raised a significant amount of capital, and is looking to raise a further US$5 million to commercialise the product.
Mosquitoes do not see the colour red and the laser is not hot, so the insects are oblivious to the being targeted. Bezigo's laser can spot a mosquito 8m away, Resnick says.
Once the laser goes on sale, it will cost US$169 ($250) - "pretty cheap for a good night's sleep and no malaria", Resnick tells the Herald.
A research and development team of 10 people based in Tel Aviv's tech hub have been working on the laser for about four years.
Smart bath mat
Paris-based tech firm Mateo, founded by 26-year-old Ivy league university business graduate Lenny Dahan has created a smart bath mat designed to take your weight, calculate your BMI and determine whether you have a problematic posture when you step out of the shower; measured and set by bluetooth to a smartphone through the company's app.
The wireless mat also measures your shoe size, creates a heat map of the user's feet, and provides "warnings" to users over any "continual weight gain or loss".
Mateo has patented its technology and officially launched at CES on Sunday. The product will go on sale through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in March, priced at US$179 ($270).
Dahan says the high-tech mat was designed to eliminate the need to own scales and to blend into the home. The bath mat is the first product, the company also plans to create digi yoga mats, and mats suitable for hospitals and hotels.
Robotic side table
California start-up Labrador Systems is in the final testing phase for its robotic side table designed to assist elderly and lesser-able people by retrieving food, drinks, medicines, among other items left of flat services, including other functions, around the house.
Michael Dooley, co-founder and chief executive of Labrador Systems, says the technology will be unveiled later in the year and when the product goes to market users will be able to interact and give the robots voice commands through Amazon Alexa, initially.
"We're not trying to replace a human caregiver, we're wanting to create something [that people] feel comfortable having at their side, that's helpful," says Dooley, who has been working in robotics for over 20 years.
"We decided to leave our jobs and start this company two and a half years ago because we were watching our own parents go through these stages in need, but also seeing the technologies that could help them."
Labrador Systems recently closed its first round of funding where it raised US$2.3 million ($3.4m), which gives it enough capital to build enough prototypes to start testing in homes unassisted later this year.
Beats by Dr Dre headphones have nothing on these.
Dubbed the "Rolls Royce of headphones", Sennheiser created the HE1 headphones about five years ago and they went on sale at the end of 2015.
Lachlan Brennan of Sennheiser says the headphones are top of the range, designed to "push the boundaries of sound to get the perfect sound".
These handmade and customisable headphones will set you back more than $88,600 (US$59,0000). When you buy the headphones you're not just getting incredible sound quality. The headphones are "open air" and also come with a marble amplifier, complete with tubes. The marble is said to reduce vibrations and more pure sound.
"In terms of cars, this is like the Rolls Royce," says Brennan.
The headphones were particularly popular in Japan and Singapore, he says, and were often used by audio engineers during song or album mastering.
"You can hear the detail - that's what you get out of the HE1 - you could listen to the same song on different headphones and depending on the quality of the headphones you'll hear different details, with the HE1 there have been artists and recording engineers who have said they have heard the song thousands of times and listen to it on an HE1 and hear things on it that weren't previously there."
The HE1 headphones are available in New Zealand.
TV screen top hat
Shenzhen-based flexible electronics company Royole has created a wearable TV, along with putting its bendy TV-like screens in clothing and bags. The company has done the same with a top hat.
Zihe Jin, a US-based sales director at Royole, says any content can be pushed to the bendy screens - photo slide shows, movies, etc, via smartphone wifi. It can even mirror-cast devices.
The connected top hats went on sale in China in 2018 and can be purchased for US$900 ($1350) and are set to debut in the US in the next two years.
The slim screens in its top hats and clothing feature flexible displays and internal sensors. Royole is also looking for other uses for the bendy tech, Jin says.
"Some of our customers like to buy it to express their own personality, and other advertisement uses."
Last year, Royole sold the technology to Louis Vuitton, which it now uses in some of its handbags. Plane manufacturer Airbus has also partnered with the company to use the screens in its cabins.
Belly fat scanner
A handheld belly fat scanner smaller than the size of an iPod classic, created by Chinese company Olive Healthcare, has just gone on the market.
The small device, which costs US$379 ($570), uses near infrared technology to measure lipid (fat) underneath the skin. With two clicks of a button - one on the lower stomach and another on the upper portion above the belly button - the device sends a body fat percentage to the user's smartphone.
Based on the result, the app sends personalised health guidance on food and activities, as well as reports on potential associated health risks.
Bello by Olive Healthcare claims to be a medical-grade fat analyser, which can do the same job as a computed tomography (CT) scan machine in three seconds.
Jei Jang, head of digital healthcare at Olive Healthcare, said the device was created for people to track their weight loss or progress at the gym to allow users to stay on top of their health.
Similar products are already on the market within the smart scales category, though many use BIA technology which can not accurately measure body fat proportions, as it is hyper-sensitive to the level of hydration in a person's body, Jang says.
"After drinking beer or having fruit the results often change, but our device uses near infrared technology - a special light that only detects lipids, which is not affected by hydration."
Olive's primary target market is the United States, where the price of healthcare is significant, and almost a third of the population has health issues due to obesity.
Computer manufacturing company Lenovo unveiled a foldable PC at CES. The PC, which has been four years in the making will go on sale in the second half of the year and cost well over US$2000 ($3000).
The 13.3-inch foldable screen PC, named the ThinkPad X1 Fold, is the first of its kind, with OLED display and weighing less than 1kg. It will come with a bluetooth keyboard and initially operate on Windows 10 software.
Lenovo is hoping the portable PC with smartphone-like functions will wow the millennial crowd.
Chilly bin speaker
Picnics at the beach made easy.
Los Angeles-based company Masterclub has created a waterproof chilly bin with a built in speaker in the lid. A 400 watt max power speaker with 120 watt RMS is built into the bin.
The Party Cooler is manufactured in China and distributed in the US, with the cheapest model starting from US$199 ($300) available on Amazon.
Masterclub's Ray Razipour says the chilly bin first went on sale about 18 months ago, and had been well received by the market as it was half the price of similar products.
The company was able to sell its product cheaper as it owned the technology, he says. Masterclub is looking to increase its distribution, including outside of the United States.
'Emotionally available' pet robot
A pet dog but without the responsibility.
Tombot, a realistically lifelike labrador puppy robot, complete with fur and a tail, which costs US$449 ($675), debuted at the show.
Designed for therapy patients, the "emotionally available" pet robot was designed for animal-assisted therapy for dementia patients and people with post traumatic stress disorder. It is also said to be ideal for prisoners who need company and a sense of responsibility.
The company behind Tombot believes it can scale the technology which is designed to emulate a puppy's behaviour very quickly.
The robot can understand voice commands, barks, wags its tail and comes with a charger for all-day battery life. It is designed to promote an emotional attachment.
Tombot is not the only robotic pet on display at the show, others include robotic cats.
On demand toilet paper dispenser
The Rollbot by Charmain is essentially a robot that brings a new roll of toilet paper to a person in need while in they are in the bathroom.
It uses the smartphone as a beacon, and the robot can be summoned through an app to bring the goods. The robot, which is capable of delivering one toilet roll at a time, and its creator assumes that most people are using their phones while in the bathroom.
Rollbot has a cartoon face of a bear and big wheels to whizz around the home in ease. The toilet roll is housed on top of the robot's head. It is part of a trio of prototypes that Charmain unveiled at CES.
Chairman describes the Rollbot as a "premium porta-potty experience" enhanced with Oculus Rift S VR technology. A price for the robot has not been revealed.