The weirdest and most wonderful products CES 2023 had to offer

pink and blue keyboard with backlight
(Image credit: Future)

One of the most exciting and fascinating aspects of CES 2023 is walking through the showfloor once the main event opens. There are guaranteed to be several eye-catching products and concepts that test the boundaries of whimsy and imagination. 

And while it’s nearly impossible to sample all of the offerings of the mega tech conference, the things you do end up coming across are worth it alone. During my own walk-through of CES, there were five product lines that particularly caught my attention, either due to their real-life applications or their sheer novelty.

Regardless of the reason, these are still all incredible products that earned their place in the limelight. And beyond the ones in the spotlight are many other products that deserve to be highlighted as well.

Amagami Ham Ham and other cute health robots

Yukai Engineering is no stranger to CES, as the robotics company was at CES 2022 with wares that included a fur pillow with a wagging tail and the Amagami Ham Ham. We covered the adorable finger-nibbling dog and cat robots, which are meant to soothe the user. But the company came back this year with even more health-related gadgets.

There’s BOCCO emo, which not only has a reminder feature for regular tasks (like reminding you to take your medicine) but also tracks the temperature to recommend actions like watching out for heatstroke, and can even track heart rate and oxygen levels. Another product is Lightony, a robot night light meant for children, as it lights up when needed then eventually ‘falls asleep’ and turns off its light.

Last year at CES, Yukai featured the fur pillow Pet Petite Qoobo robot, and this year it showcased another pillow, with this one creating a deep breathing motion that slowly acclimates the user to also take deep breaths. It's amazing what Yukai has already developed in robotics and even more amazing seeing it all applied to bettering people's lives.

Jurassic Park and 007 pinball machines

Stern Pinball, one of the oldest and most prolific pinball machine manufacturers, has been continuing to fine-tune its craft with high-end products. Its latest fare included a James Bond 60th anniversary pinball machine, a Jurassic Park machine, Star Wars, and more.

These are full-sized, fully functional pinball machines with all the mechanics, lights, sounds, and the rest of the bells and whistles that come with the classic experience. And as such, they command high prices, with pricing starting at around $7,000 and the more expensive ones commanding over $20,000.

But if you have the spare cash, you’ll be getting some excellent quality machines. I tried one of them out and everything from the weight, to the look, to the feel of the buttons and launcher, to the responsiveness of said controls felt absolutely flawless. Stern Pinball has crafted some truly great products, and the fact that these are gorgeous limited-edition designs that won’t exist anywhere else sweetens the deal.

Colorful keyboards and retro-style PC cases

Staring at the same-looking black gaming and work computer accessories every day can get rather dull. So I’ll admit that I tend to get very passionate about brightly colored and decorated keyboards in particular, as was already demonstrated in the recent HyperX Personalization line that we previewed.

And that passion came out in full force when I laid eyes on a set of absolutely stunning keyboards from Wizmax Inc. They were everything I ever wanted in a keyboard: stunning neon colors, a beautiful backlight that complements those colors, well-sized keys that make typing a breeze, and the clackiest keys humanely possible. There was also a retro-styled keyboard with the exact washed-out grey and beige color of earlier PCs and components.

Next to those keyboards was a set of PC cases that ranged from a very 60s retro color design, to one that resembled intricate brass decors, to one that looks like a subwoofer and even has little wooden legs at the bottom. Wizmax is clearly not afraid to experiment, taking products that have been historically very conformist and creating truly unique designs that would be sure to stand out.

A dog collar that tracks heart rate

Another health-related product made its way to CES 2023, but this one isn’t for humans. Instead, Invoxia is developing an AI-infused collar that tracks the vitals of your dog. For instance, by tracking and compiling data on their heart rate, it creates what the company calls a ‘heart signature’ that’s similar to an ECG which can help owners catch arrhythmia or other heart anomalies through the resting heart and breath rate.

It also records respiratory rate to find other anomalies and lets you keep track of daily activity level, well-being, sleep, appetite, bark, and daily habits through a companion app in order to better monitor your dog’s health. There’s even a GPS to track their physical location, which could be a lifesaver if your dog ever turns up missing.

It genuinely looks like a normal dog collar and the weight isn’t far from one either. One of them was fitted on a plush dog, which did give a great visual of how well it would fit a real dog and just how innocuous the collar is. Seeing a product concerned with dogs’ preventative care rather than reactive care is refreshing and it would be interesting to see how far this device goes in having more healthier dogs.

Dungeon & Dragons accessory heaven

Dungeons & Dragons has never been more popular thanks to the advent of 5th edition, and it’s great to see some third-party companies thrive (at least until OGL 2 ruins that). The Enhance tabletop gaming line under Accessory Power has been around for years, creating a wide array of both imaginative and practical products for D&D setups.

My personal favorites are between the vials of ‘potion’ which resemble lava lamps flavored with high fantasy (though those aren’t out just yet), and a pouch that holds multiple sets of dice. But there are tons more in Enhance’s line including bags that hold all sorts of physical books and other merch, playmats and maps, a dice tray with a die rolling section, a miniature figure holding case, and more. 

Regardless of your needs, there’s almost always a product that will suit them, and if there isn’t yet then it seems like Enhance will release something soon. And they built an awesome mechanic dragon that moves, so there's that too.

Conclusion: Other passing interests

Of course, these product lines only scratched the surface of what CES had to offer, with plenty more compelling sights and innovations on display in the gigantic show floor. Here are some of the other fascinating products we found during our stay like a VR demonstration, plenty of robotics including one paired with a simulation, and a variety of minifridges and refrigerators that will make you feel like you time traveled to the 50s and 60s. 

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.