The Best of CES 2021

CareClever Cutii. For years, we’ve seen companion robots of all shapes and sizes at CES—cuddlebots, dog robots, and robots that, er, do other things. But over the last year, robots for senior care took on a new and poignant urgency as the Covid-19 pandemic isolated vulnerable populations away from their traditional support networks of spouses, children, and grandchildren. CareClever’s Cutii is one of the first companion robots that’s ready to be officially launched in 2021. It addresses several senior needs—companionship, connection, and logistical help—and alone among companion bots, it is uniquely mobile. You don’t need to make your way into the living room to voice-activate a device sitting on a table. Instead, if you’ve fallen, the Cutii will come at your call and dial your emergency contact. It can also remind you of your scheduled classes, turn off your lights, and escort you to the door and bid you farewell on your daily Little Pandemic Walk. Who needs more than that from a live-in companion, amirite? —Adrienne So

Best in Health

Photograph: Toto

Toto Wellness Toilet. We knew that “smart” toilets—sensor-filled bowls capable of detecting early signs of disease—were practically inevitable. But leave it to to Japanese toilet manufacturer Toto to produce the concept toilet of the future, a ridiculously sleek “Wellness” toilet that suggests you eat more salmon and avocado. (I am barely kidding.) Toto showed off a variety of commode-related technologies during CES this week, including a new washlet and touchless bathroom fixtures, but the Wellness Toilet was the number one (and number two?) product. Toto says it uses “multiple cutting-edge sensing technologies” to scan a person’s body and their “key outputs” each time someone sits on the toilet. It then analyzes their waste and suggests dietary changes through a mobile app. Sure, you can strap wearable sensors to your body to glean insights about your health in other, less invasive ways, but Toto says the benefit of adding AI to a toilet is that, well, you use it every day whether you’re thinking about it or not. Toto says it will ship the Wellness Toilet to consumers sometime in the next several years. And yes, it’s likely to be expensive. But the toilet of the future is almost here. You might even say we’re bowled over by it. —Lauren Goode

Best in Mobile

Photograph: TCL


Author: showrunner