There was a time when CES was a safe haven for nerds, geeks and all manner of the uncoordinated.
Inside the Sands Expo and Convention Center, attendees can test their skills — or lack thereof — in an array of high-tech exhibitions, including chucking virtual footballs, slapping virtual hockey pucks and even trying to punch an implausibly agile robotic boxing simulator.
Developed by SkyTechSport, the BotBoxer doesn’t exactly unleash the Schwarzenegger-related terrors of Skynet. Yet. But the technology is well on its way.
Designed for gyms — or individuals with a spare $20,000 lying around — the smart punching bag can bob and weave, adapt to your fighting style and, depending on the setting, elude even the fastest hands.
Seriously, at the highest levels, you could throw out your shoulder simply trying to make contact.
So, yeah, there’s a reason you have to sign a waiver before you can square off against it.
Slightly less tiring, but no less humiliating, the virtual reality hockey trainer developed by Sense Arena in the Czech Republic includes a high-tech hockey stick complete with haptic feedback so you can work on your shot from the comfort of your rec room for less than $4,000 — plus a $199 monthly license fee. (Spoiler alert: I’m just as awkward on virtual ice as I am on the real thing at T-Mobile Arena.)
The only thing missing from either experience is a robotic high school jock lurking nearby to laugh in your face and hang you from a flagpole by your underpants.
Although, if you look hard enough at CES, you could probably find one.
Even the Sleep Number booth offers a realistic quarterbacking simulation, involving throwing virtual footballs at targets, that fairly accurately represents your real-world skill level. It then turns all of your passes into wounded ducks to show how you would perform on less than six hours of sleep. For some of us, the answer is “not that differently.”
After all that exertion, you can go upstairs and crawl into bed with a stranger for a quick respite to test out the company’s smart mattress that uses biometrics to adjust its firmness and angles throughout the night. One day, the virtual tour guide informs you, that technology could be used to detect heart attacks while you sleep.
For slumber aficionados, though, there’s relaxing — then there’s relaxing in a Lamborghini massage chair.
The nearby LBF-750, a collaboration between the automaker and BODYFRIEND, boasts mood lighting, eight speakers including two subwoofers, customized massages based on the user’s stress levels and a “patented massage mode using binaural beats to improve concentration and facilitate deep relaxation.”
In other words, a brain massage.
Which you just may need after a mechanical punching bag wipes the floor with you.