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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Everything We Saw, Ate, Rode, Poked, and Played With at CES

CES, the all-consuming tech trade show, took over Las Vegas this week. Convention halls and hotels were jam packed with shiny gizmos, bleeding-edge technology, and dazzling devices. Of course, our intrepid Gadget Lab reporters were there in the midst of it all.

This week on the show, Mike and Lauren talk with WIRED digital director Brian Barrett at CES. They'll guide you through the glitzy extravaganza, from folding laptops to high-tech sex toys, and highlight the trends that may soon find their way inside a gadget near you.

Show Notes

Check out our roundup of the best of CES here. Read more about the introduction of sex toys at CES here. Read more about Lenovo’s folding laptop here. Be sure to follow our CES coverage to check out all the cool stuff we didn’t get to talk about.


After spending a week in a hotel room at the convention in Las Vegas, the crew shares their favorite tips for business travel. Lauren recommends carrying a Swell bottle and saving cocktail hour until the end of the trip. Brian recommends dissolving Nuun tabs in your water. Mike recommends investing in an Aeropress Go and a collapsible travel kettle.

Lauren Goode can be found on Twitter @LaurenGoode. Brian Barrett is @brbarrett. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our consulting executive producer is Alex Kapelman (@alexkapelman). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

How to Listen

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Brian Barrett: Welcome to Gadget Lab. In a podcast where laws no longer exist, one tech blogger—with two other tech bloggers, so really three tech bloggers—will talk about the Consumer Electronic Show for approximately 28 minutes, with breaks.

[Intro music]

Lauren Goode: Welcome to Gadget Lab. I'm Lauren Goode and we are here in Las Vegas for CES. We're recording this week's show in our hotel suite with a lovely view of the desert and the mountains and of course the chaos of CES outside of the window. So that means the show won't sound absolutely perfect the way our normal in-studio episodes do. But bear with us, please, because we have some important topics to cover and we have an exciting guest to introduce. WIRED's digital director Brian Barrett, welcome back to the show.

Brian Barrett: Thank you guys for having me. I think this is my second time. I think it's been about a year and a half since my last invite, so whatever I did that time, I'm going to try not to do so that you'll have me back on more often. I assume that it's been like a penalty period where I did something offensive or wrong on the last show and so I'm going to be on my best behavior today.

Michael Calore: You were just not very nice to me. That's all it was.

BB: OK, well I contend that you probably deserved it.

MC: Be nice please.

BB: All right. I'm going to be nice on the Gadget Lab podcast.

LG: We'd love to have you on the show more. It's just so rare that we're all in the same room together.

BB: That's true.

LG: And I should also note, Brian, you're not just the digital director of WIRED. You are like an OG gadget blogger.

BB: This is my, I was trying to add, I think this is my 12th or maybe 13th CES. You lose track somewhere around seven because you're just in deep denial.

LG: I'm sorry, and of course that other voice you heard is my usual cohost, Michael Calore.

MC: Hello. Hello.

LG: Hello. On today's show we're going to talk about our favorite things we've seen this week. We're going to check in on some of our CES trend predictions that we made a couple of weeks ago and see how those are doing. And then at the end of the show we're going to offer some recommendations for surviving business travel. I mean we're pegging it to CES, but really I think a lot of what we're going to offer up are just good rules to follow when you're traveling in general. But first let's talk about our favorite products from the show. Every year, WIRED publishes our list of the best of CES. Brian, you wrote about one product that made our annual Best Of. Tell us about it.

BB: So what I wrote about was the OrCam Hear, and this is one of my favorite devices at CES. I want to hedge that it's not on the market yet, it's going to be out in a few months, but this is a company, OrCam, is based in Israel. It was founded by the founder of Mobileye, which is a big automotive AI company that Intel bought a couple of years ago. It's an assistive device. So the way the OrCam here works is if you are hearing impaired, you can wear this sort of, it's like, I guess it's about the size of a vape pen, which is a weird reference, but I think that's probably the best way to describe it. It's got a little camera on top and what it does is if you are hard of hearing, you pair it to your hearing aid and it's going to figure out using onboard machine learning who in the room is talking to you, if you're in a crowded room.

So there's something called the cocktail party effect where hearing aids have a hard time typically discerning the background noise from the actual conversationalists in front of you and what this device does, it sounds simple, but it's pretty complicated. Takes a lot of smart AI work on the device to make that problem go away. I like it for a few reasons. It's the kind of problem that a big company is probably not going to tackle because they've got… It's a smaller market for it, obviously. Assistive technologies are a great thing to spot at CES. You see it more here than you see at other places, and this is a good example of that. And I don't know, it's a good example of AI being used in a way that's not like a buzzwordy kind of like… You're not sure what it does. It's very clear what it does.

And the fact that it happens on device I think is a nice… It means it'll work anywhere. So if you lose your connection to the internet it still works. But also it's a privacy thing, right? You don't have to worry that every interaction you have with people that you're seeing in a room is being sent off to some server somewhere, which obviously you can't say that about most products these days.

LG: How does it compare to some of the stuff that Google's been working on in this area?

BB: Well, Google's efforts are mostly focused on the phone, pairing to headphones. I think what OrCam is doing, which is interesting but also one of those things you have to see how it plays out. What they're looking to do is to partner with hearing aid companies to integrate their technology in the hearing aid device itself. So rather than relying on just a random Bluetooth connection, there's sort of a deeper integration there. That also means that the business model, you kind of have to see if it's going to work.

They've had success in other areas. They have a device that works for vision impaired people where they have tens of thousands of users right now. Whether they can put that model over to the hearing aid, we'll see. So yeah, I think the fact that it's a dedicated device versus on your phone, the fact that it's more tightly integrated with the hearing aid, I think that's going to be what makes it different.

LG: And when will we see this at the market and how much will it cost?

BB: OrCam is saying they're going to hit the market sometime in the middle of the year. But again, it depends on forging those deals, which I think is again, part of being at CES is to make those deals happen. In terms of the price, the idea, as I understand it, is that they plan to bundle it with hearing aids. So I think it's going to be more of a value add for consumers. It's not clear what the price point will be for consumers just because the business model is still kind of being worked out, which again normally gives you pause but the technology works, it's ready to go when and it really tries to solve a big problem.

LG: Mike, what's on your best of list?

MC: So the thing that I chose to highlight here on the show is the introduction of Impossible Pork. This was kind of surprise. The folks from Impossible Foods showed up at CES. They have like a tent out in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is where all of the hustle and bustle is for the show. And they were serving, starting at 10:00 AM every morning, little pork sliders. So you may know the Impossible Burger, which is the ground beef-like plant based product that Impossible Foods has had for a few years now.

This is a new product. It is a pork flavored plant based meat and in conjunction with the release of Impossible Pork, they're also introducing something called Impossible Sausage, which you're going to be able to buy at McDonald's in the next couple of weeks I think, by the end of January they're going to offer it in fast food restaurants.

BB: Am I right they're doing a small trial including at certain restaurants for breakfast sandwiches?

MC: Yes.

BB: Including in Montgomery, Alabama, which is an hour from where I live in Birmingham. So I would volunteer to take a day, maybe a couple of days, just drive down, eat some fake pork and report back. I think-

LG: Sounds like a good reporting job.

MC: Assigned, assigned.

BB: I'm going to expense a lot of fake pork. I'm going to need you to sign off on that.

MC: Not a problem. So it's a weird pick for our Best of CES, which is usually like gadgets and televisions and laptops and things like that. But the thing that made us consider it this year is that it is actually a technology story. If you look at plant based food, it is… The reason to eat it is because it is better for the environment and the way to make it is to use science and technology. And the folks at Impossible Foods are a Silicon Valley unicorn. They're valued at somewhere around $2 billion. They're headquartered in Redwood City. They have a giant facility in Oakland. They are very much within our world. They have Stanford scientists who founded the company. So it's been a long journey through the world of technology to get to fake meat. And I think it's really fascinating that fake meat is a consumer technology story now. So that's my pick for best of CES.

BB: Mike, have you had the Beyond Meat sausage? They have bratwursts that are… Bratwurst and they have a hot Italian sausage?

MC: Yes. Yes.

BB: How should we think about Impossible Foods' version of that compared to what's already on the market? Are they doing something different? Is it a different shape, different protein behind it?

MC: They are. Impossible very recently became gluten free. Before that they were using some sort of glutinous material in the protein, now it's mostly soy protein. There are other plant proteins in it. Beyond, which is a different company, is using pea protein. So their product is safe for people who can't eat soy or people who have a hard time digesting soy, a harder time than than they would peas for example. The taste is different, the texture is different, the application is different I think for the two. Impossible you can work with more like ground beef or ground pork. Beyond, you really… It's kind of sticky and slimy and it's kind of hard to make patties out of. You can, but it's kind of hard to make patties out of it. The sausages though, the Beyond Meat sausages are phenomenal.

BB: And we, in my household, we have switched over almost exclusively to Beyond Meat sausages, and we're not a vegetarian household. I genuinely enjoy them. I think they're good.

LG: And you're kind of the target market actually for these companies because something that Pat Brown from Impossible Foods has said is that they're not targeting the people who are already vegetarians or vegans because those aren't the people whose minds they need to change. It's people who are traditionally meat eaters who sometimes just want that juicy burger because part of their marketing shtick is that the burger bleeds, right? Those are the people they want to convert into having these plant proteins more frequently rather than always going to meet.

BB: Yeah. And I think the knock that you hear against a lot of these companies is that it's not a healthier version, but again, I think that's not the point. And they don't claim that it is and I think if you assume that, that's maybe on you, and I don't. I know that when I eat a Beyond sausage, it's not that much healthier than a real sausage. But it is better for the environment. It's a little, it's more vegetable-based. So I think, yeah… No, I'm a fan. I'm glad that there's more competition in the space too.

MC: Lauren, what is your pick?

LG: I have a couple of picks and they're in the very unsexy laptop category. But hey, laptops are cool. All three of us still have them right in front of us right now as we are recording and there were a couple of cool ones on the show floor this year. The first one we actually had, Mike and I, got the chance to take a look at it last year, a prototype, an early version. The Lenovo ThinkPad Fold X1. This is interesting because it's Lenovo's first folding laptop and it happens to be part of the ThinkPad line, which is the iconic line of laptops, boxy, black business laptops with the little red nub in the middle of the keyboard.

LG: Lenovo acquired that brand from IBM 15 years ago and they've continued to make them and now they've made one with a flexible polymer display. So when it's folded, it's folded just like a handsome leather folio as I wrote on WIRED.com. Just looks like you're carrying around a notebook with a pen and then when you unfold it, it's a 13.3 inch diagonal display and it's got an accessory keyboard and the accessory keyboard can either be used as a completely detached keyboard or you can sort of crease the folding display and rest the tactile keyboard on half of it so that you're using something that's like using a little mini tablet with an accessory keyboard.

LG: The thing that I'm not sure about yet with this laptop and we're probably not going to see sort of fully realized for many months is the software experience, because when it ships it's going to be running some version of Windows 10 that has a Lenovo skin over it. That creates a duality, so you can switch between modes. But that's not really the ideal solution I don't think, just based on an early demo that I saw of this. I think what we're going to want to wait for is to see Windows 10 X, which is Microsoft's dual screen optimized version of its software that it plans to roll out in the fall when Microsoft itself has their own dual screen devices that they bring to market. And then I think you're going to start to see maybe things like Microsoft Word and other applications working the way they're supposed to. Because really what good is a fancy folding laptop that starts at $2,500 if the software doesn't run very well on it?

BB: I'm struck by how many parallels there are, and obviously there would be, but between what you just said, you could have said 90 percent of it about the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Right?

LG: Absolutely.

BB: And just interesting how both of the… They're going to have to tackle it. The software problem is a really big one because you need developers to actually care about these devices too, right? To really get into it.

LG: Yeah. You need app developers who are saying, "Sure, we'll make an optimized version of our apps for these folding screens."

BB: Which is a lot of work when you're not sure if anyone actually wants to buy them.

LG: Right. Ten people are going to buy them. I mean the Samsung Galaxy Fold was a little different because when it launched right out of the gate last year, it had some physical problems right away. The handful of early reporters and reviewers reported the screen was malfunctioning, which was basically one of the worst things that could happen for Samsung's roll out of a folding phone with a new innovative folding display. But then on top of that, Samsung did have to work with Google for several months to make sure that there was a version of Android running on this thing that would let you switch between the closed screen and the fully unfurled screen and then run three apps side by side, which I think is something that no one ever really has asked for in a phone. But yeah, you can do it. Yeah. I think the software experience really kind of makes or breaks these things, no pun intended for breaking folding things.

But yeah, I would say, I don't know if that's yet officially on our best of list. Mike and I are discussing, but I think that's on my best of list because I found it to be really interesting.

MC: But there is a pick that you have that's on the official list, right?

LG: Yes. And this one our colleague Julian wrote about, it's the Samsung Chromebook two in one notebook. This thing is sexy. It's 10 millimeters thick. It's only 2.3 pounds. It's lighter than MacBook Air. It's aluminum with a 4k amyloid display. It's going to be powered by Intel's 10th generation Core I5 processor. This is a premium Chromebook, which to a lot of people will sound like an oxymoron because when you think of Chromebooks, you think they're cheap, right? They're 250 bucks. They're running Chrome OS, they're totally accessible. They're in a lot of schools because students are able to get their hands on them. But this one has all the bells and whistles. It has a fingerprint reader, a built in stylus, a really nice display. That display can rotate 360 degrees. Julian did note based on his brief experience with it, the keyboard isn't super satisfying and it's $1,000 because it's a premium Chromebook. It's not a $250 Chromebook. But Samsung and Google seem intent on making this really the Chromebook you want to buy. So that has made our best of list.

MC: Well, and this sort of also fills the gap that was left when Google stopped making the Pixelbook, because there was a premium Chromebook, it was the Pixelbook, and it was too expensive and it was good but no one really bought it for all the various reasons. But I guess I'm glad someone else is stepping into this space to try to make it work. Because I think the operating system is mature enough now. The partnership with Intel is good because they… It's the first Project Athena Chromebook, which is Intel's effort to make laptops that have long battery life and some other things. Mostly battery life. But yeah, no, it's, I don't know. I also like this. I think it's a nice to give people options. If you want a Chromebook, you can actually get one that you're not going to hate after six months.

BB: A very nice screen goes a very long way on any laptop and that's the problem with the cheap Chromebooks is that they usually do not have very good screens. This one has an amazing screen, so you get what you pay for it with a Chromebook, for sure.

LG: I personally look forward to seeing what Apple has to say, perhaps in a subtle or passive aggressive manner, about how iPad is still much, much better than this.

BB: That does not sound like the Apple we all know.

LG: Not at all.

BB: There's some besmirchment going on on this podcast.

LG: OK. To read about all of these picks you can read Brian Barrett on WIRED.com on the OrCam. He's waving right now. You can read Julian Chokkattu on the new Samsung Chromebook and you can read Louryn Strampe's post on Impossible Foods pork. And all of our coverage from this week is on WIRED.com. We're going to take a quick break and when we come back we'll check in on some of the biggest trends we're seeing here on the show floor.


LG: Welcome back to Gadget Lab. If you listened to last week's episode, you'll remember that we identified some trends that we were tracking at CES this year and now that we've been on the show floor, we've been able to do some reporting on these topics and bring you even more information on what we think their impact will be. Brian, what have you been tracking this week?

BB: I've been taking a look at artificial intelligence and to a lesser extent facial recognition. On the latter, I mean you can see it more places. CES even used facial recognition to check some people in, so I think you can really see in terms of how it's a lot easier to integrate that into products these days. It's literally at a trade show check-in. I think the AI part of this is interesting because you know, we've been writing about how Alexa has taken over CES for the last two or three years.

And so AI has always been sort of deeply integrated in that sense. But I think we're seeing it in more interesting places now, or at least new places now. There's the silly stuff, like there's an AI toothbrush from Colgate that actually I think it maps the interior of your mouth. There's Alexa again, which is a shower head from Kohler. God bless Kohler. They put her in a … It. Never want to genderize a robot. Don't do it. It's a trap. No, but Kohler put Alexa in a toilet last year. They put it in a new toilet this year and a shower head. So for me, I feel like they're challenging you to see like how intimate do you really want to get with Alexa?

So we're seeing it in a toothbrush, we're seeing AI in Intel making a big AI push with the next generation of processors. They're saying, "Look, we want to be able to do AI on the edge." So like on your laptop instead of off to a cloud somewhere. So a strange mix of AI and privacy. We're seeing cameras that have an AI foundation, AI chatbots. Basically we're at a point where in the same way that you used to just say, "Put a chip in it," was the joke, right? You used to just connect it to wifi, so everything's connected to wifi. Now we're seeing everything connected to AI in some way.

How useful that is I think is the big open question. I think in most cases probably not very. But I think it's going to get to a point, I think we're seeing at CES, we're getting to a point where it's going to be baked into more devices than not, often in ways that you don't even realize or don't expect.

LG: What was the most egregious use of AI that you saw in a product this week?

BB: I mean, I don't want to harp on the toothbrush. That is a bit much. And I know it's a little bit intentionally wink wink, but also it's not, it's a product that's for sale. I think the other sort of AI uses, I don't… I think the AI uses that took me a little more by surprise. I enjoyed, there was an sort of a robot that a company from France built that you can sort of test out your AI robotics on. It's like a test kit for artificial intelligence.

LG: Pardon the interruption. I know exactly which robot you're talking about.

BB: Oh yeah.

LG: And it was called Reachy.

BB: Reachy.

LG: It's a Reachy. It's an ambidextrous robot with two hands. Worked quite well. And it's called Reachy.

BB: It's called Reachy.

LG: What could go wrong?

BB: Yeah. I mean it's…

LG: I lost in tic-tac-toe to Reachy, I'll have you know.

BB: You know what, if this podcast accomplishes nothing else, it's the knowledge that Lauren lost to Reachy in a game of tic-tac-toe.

LG: Talk about Reachy.

BB: Well, I think we've established most important thing about Reachy. Reachy I think, and this is a little bit off topic for AI generally, but I do want to say what I like about Reachy is that Reachy is in the Eureka Pavilion at CES, which is the best part of the show. It's where all of this sort of weird startups come. This company's not actually making a lot of Reachys. There's only like a dozen of them and the Reachy is very expensive. But I think it's interesting because it speaks to ways that AI is building out sort of new economies almost, right? Or new models of development. It's become accessible enough that you can buy a test… Anyone can go buy a test robot if they want to and see how their AI solution works. And the more AI becomes commoditized in that way, the more interesting applications we'll see and also the more frivolous applications we'll see. Right? And so something to keep an eye on going forward.

LG: Mike, what about you? What have you been tracking this week?

MC: Well, the thing that we were expecting to see at CES was scooters absolutely everywhere. Last year there was a big scooter explosion at CES and as we all know, those of us who live in cities anyway, the scooters have taken over the urban sidewalk in the United States and in other parts of the world, particularly in San Francisco. So we were expecting to see a lot of companies stepping up their scooter game here at CES, and we certainly did. There were dozens and dozens of companies launching new scooters. Even the big names like Unagi, the startup with a very popular scooter, launched a second version that's coming in the beginning of this year. And I think the big reason for this is because there are a lot of companies here showing off more powerful electric motors. There are companies here are showing off more powerful batteries that are smaller and last longer. So all of the things that go into making a powerful scooter are getting cheaper and more accessible so people are making better, more powerful scooters.

Scooters are also getting weirder. We're seeing three wheelers, we're seeing one wheelers. We're seeing things that fold up really small. A really good example of this is the company Segway. You may remember them from the Segway People Transporter. They are here showing 19 new products at CES. The weirdest one is a chair that has two wheels and it's self-balancing. It looks just like the thing from WALL-E that all the humans, all the lazy sack-like humans, scooted around in in that movie, if you remember it. It's for transporting people but it's more for like guided experiences, theme parks, airports, things where you have to move a lot of people around in an area that's sort of like a controlled environment, but you can't put them all on one thing. Like you can't just build a tram. Everybody kind of needs to have their own path, but there are a lot of people moving.

So that's why they made this. It can be piloted by the person sitting in the chair or it can be piloted by somebody who is not sitting in the chair using a mobile app. It is a really good example of how electric micro mobility devices as we call them are moving off of the sidewalks and out of the bike lanes and into new areas where they probably make a little bit more sense.

LG: And our colleague Adrienne So had the chance to take this WALL-E-like Segway chair for a ride and she said it was really intuitive, really easy to use. It's a great video by the way on WIRED social channel, so you should go find it. There's this great little intro where she spins around on the chair. And I mean I can definitely see how some people would immediately go to the fact that this is emblematic of a WALL-E-like existence where we're all just really lazy and like slurping giant sodas while we do nothing. But I really liked the idea of it as a transport method for people who maybe have a hard time getting through airports, which can be really vast and problematic for people who aren't so mobile.

MC: Yeah. It is a much more elegant and more efficient wheelchair. And also people will always need to get around.

LG: That's right.

MC: And cars are bad and feet are slow, so you need something in between.

LG: If somebody at this point is a novice to the scooter world, what do they need to know? What are the three basic things they need to know to get started on scooters? Should they buy their own? Should they get an app for an existing service? They need a helmet?

MC: I think they should, yes, get a helmet. Not because scootering is inherently dangerous, but that when you scooter, you put yourself next to cars which are inherently dangerous. You should rent one to make sure that you're comfortable on one and get comfortable and then once you are comfortable buy one that works for you.

BB: Do you think that people are going to move towards buying their own as… Because they've become pretty standardized, the renting scooter model, right? In most big cities. Do you think that as people become more acclimated to scooters, it's going to be a more viable purchase or is it sort of the rental model is kind of here to stay?

MC: I think that people will buy their own once they get more acclimated to them and once cities welcome them a lot more. Right now they're in the bike lanes and that's fine, but we don't have great bike infrastructure in our cities in this country, so that has to change. And also they need to get a lot cheaper. Right now you can get a pretty good one for under a thousand dollars but that needs to come down to like 200.

BB: I mean that's Samsung Chromebook money. Without the 4K screen.

LG: Slap some wheels on that and ride that to work. Nevermind.


BB: I want slap some wheels on that and ride that to work to apply to everything we've talked about today. Pork, the assisted … Just slap some wheels on it.


BB: So Lauren, what have you been tracking at CES? What has caught your eye?

LG: Sex tech. This will come as no surprise to anyone who listened last week, and by now you might know the story. If not, I recommend going to WIRED.com because we have a full story on the website. But there was a company that at last year's CES won an innovation award for a robotic device that was supposed to stimulate a woman's clitoris and G spot. It won an award and then the award was later rescinded because the CTA which puts on the show determined that it was immoral and obscene and profane and all of these terrible, terrible things. Really just sort of took an outdated view on this piece of technology. So this year the CTA actually revised the policies for the show and said that they would allow on a one year trial basis some sex tech companies to exhibit on the show floor, provided that the products were actually innovative, that they contained new or emerging technology in some way.

There were other criteria as well, such as the products couldn't be anatomically accurate or you couldn't have a robot doll with a mouth that was going to do things. So I'm trying to think. It's so much easier to write about this when you can be thoughtful than talk about it, which is like what words shall I use? So yeah, I spent some time with the founder of the company that caused the drama last year, Lora DiCarlo, it's an eponymous brand, and we went through a little tour of CES. She actually, her team picked me up in a glass bus, like a glass box truck, and they had a little living room set up inside and we took a ride around the strip and then I was able to see the new products that they're showing off this year. They won another innovation award this year. It was not rescinded.

And then Lora and I took a spin through the Sands Hall, which included some of the other sexual health and wellness products. We talked to a company called Crave at another event. I talked to a company called Satisfyer. Our colleague Jess also talked to a company called OhMiBod. They're having a lot of fun at the show this year and not sophomoric fun. They're having fun but I think that they're just really excited about the fact that the CTA was actually allowing these products in the show floor this year, because the sort of relationship between the Consumer Technology Association and the industry more broadly and the way women have been treated has been a little bit complicated in years past. And I think that even though these products are not just for women, I think a lot of people saw this as a step towards embracing women's sexuality as a topic that is not taboo and it's something we should be able to talk about openly. And these are just… They're tech products. So it was really cool to see some of them.

MC: So this was a one year trial. Will the sex toys be back next year?

LG: That is an excellent question. It's hard to say at this point. The CTA has not said whether or not they will make this a permanent part of the exhibition. I certainly hope so because I think things were done in like a respectful and interesting way this year and I think a lot of the entrepreneurs behind these companies would agree and would argue that it is very viable technology that should be given a space on the show floor and a lot of them seemed bolstered by even just the one year trial. So hopefully it is something that becomes more of a permanent part of CES. And on that note, we're going to take another quick break and then we'll be back for our recommendations. You're not going to want to miss these.


LG: Brian, since you're our special guest, why don't you give us your recommendation for business travelers first.

BB: I will, and this is a recommendation also for your daily life, but especially when you're traveling, especially somewhere as hot and dehydrating as Las Vegas. Nuun tablets. Nuun tablets, N-U-U-N. You drop it in some water. I go with the grapefruit orange flavor. And they're just sort of packed with vitamins and electrolytes and they're just an energy drink basically, but with less sugar and they help keep you feeling tip top shape. They're good if you have a hangover. I actually haven't had one at CES this year, which I think I'm doing CES wrong, but just in general, even without that, it's just a good way to feel sparkly.

LG: Brian, I'm very curious about this because earlier in the week when I wasn't feeling well at all, you didn't give me a Nuun tablet. You gave me an Advil Cold and Sinus. I got your B game.

BB: No, no, no. I think of it as more maintenance whereas you were actually sick. So I suggested that you take four Advil Cold and Sinuses at once.

LG: At once.

BB: So, that's not a B game. That's an atom bomb. That was a—

LG: Yeah, I took them right before I went to look at all the sex tech.

BB: Good. No wonder they were having more fun than anyone else. That's the headline of Lauren Goode's story on WIRED.com about sex toys.

LG: Nuun tablets. Where can people find them?

BB: You can find them on Amazon, on—

MC: On the internet, on the internet.

BB: On the internet. But also you find them in running shops or, you know, if you have an athletic shop near your house, they'll usually be there.

LG: Excellent. Mike, what's yours?

MC: My recommendation is to get an AeroPress Go and make your own coffee in your hotel room. Coffee options are usually pretty bad at most of the hotels you go to. Here in Las Vegas, we have a lovely coffee shop right at the bottom of the elevators, but it's a big convention and there is a huge line every morning. So this is how we do CES. We bring coffee to the hotel room, we make it in the hotel room. You will need a machine to make the coffee. The AeroPress Go is under $25. It is a fantastic way to make a steaming hot, delicious cup of coffee. You will need ground coffee beans. You can grind them yourself with a hand grinder, but don't do that. Grind them before you go, pack them in your bag.

And you will need, the third thing, a way to heat up your water. So I brought my own kettle from home because I had the room in my bag. If you don't have the room in your bag, they have collapsible kettles that are made of plastic that you can buy on the internet that are of varying degrees of quality but are also mostly good enough to get the job done. If you don't want to buy something, you can usually use the coffee maker that's in the room to heat up the water and then pour the water over the coffee grounds in your AeroPress and start the day with a cup of coffee. It is like the easiest thing in the world to pack with you. You should do it if you're a coffee drinker.

LG: And the added bonus is that your room smells deliciously like coffee. It really does. I've been here a couple of times this week and every time I walk in and I say, "Oh, it smells so nice." Like Cafe Bustelo.

MC: Yeah. Covers up all the other smells.

LG: That's right, especially during CES. OK. My recommendation is somewhat related. It's to carry with you your own reusable water bottle. I have a mini S'well bottle. I'm not sure how many ounces it is, but it's great and it fits really easily in my backpack. And my roommate this week, Adrienne, actually bought a huge container of water to start the week. So I was just refilling my water bottle all week thanks to her. And then my other recommendation is just try to avoid the alcohol, especially early on in the week when you're at a weeklong conference. It's not worth it when… Oh, just when you're at a casino, it's like your hangovers are just magnified, and you just don't want to start off the week having too much to drink. So go really easy on the alcohol if you can. Look, I know I sound like a killjoy. I don't want to prevent you all from having fun when you're traveling, but really just, you're not fully present if you're not feeling great because you drank too much. Just be present. Go easy on the booze.

BB: Or try a Nuun. Try a Nuun tablet.

MC: Night one, bitters and soda. Night two, one glass of red wine. Night three, drink as much as you want. You'll have way more fun.

LG: That's your formula. So are we on? We're on night three for you. All right.

MC: I think we're on night seven.

LG: I think we've got to go get the party started for Mike. All right everybody, that's our show for this week. Thanks for listening and thank you to Brian Barrett for joining us.

BB: Thank you guys for having me. I look forward to doing this again sometime in 2022.

LG: We'll bring you back sooner than that. If our listeners have any feedback, you can find all of us on Twitter. Just check the show notes. This show is produced by Boone Ashworth and our consulting executive producer is Alex Kapelman. Thanks for listening and bye.

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BB: This is all staying in.


BB: This is why I wasn't invited back for a year and a half.

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