CES 2013: 10 Strange But True Scenes

The Good, The Bad And The Strange

As a show that pulls in more than 150,000 attendees from every corner of the world, it's no surprise that the International Consumer Electronics Show is a recipe for strange. Turns out, this year's show was bigger -- and stranger -- than ever.

Ranging from gadgets that can make your plants talk to tablet-adorned jumpsuits, here are 10 weird scenes from CES 2013.

The Ultrabook Tree

Money might not grow on trees, but Ultrabooks sure look like they do. Well, at CES, that is.

Intel's massive booth at the tech trade show this year showcased a number of new gadgets powered by its low-power Atom processors. But, none garnered as much attention as its Ultrabook line, which was tethered to makeshift branches to look like shiny, electronic leaves. Attendees almost instinctively took shelter under the Ultrabook tree, sitting beneath it when they needed a break from the enormous show floor.

When asked how Intel managed to tie all those Ultrabooks onto branches, a spokesperson manning the booth smiled and said, "Well, they're just so light."

RP-VITA Robot Doctor

Doctors may soon be able to visit multiple patients at once with RP-VITA, a remotely operated telepresence robot on-site at CES.

Jointly developed by iRobot and InTouch Health, the RP-VITA is the first self-navigating robot to receive FDA certification, and it could ultimately change the face of modern-day medicine. Basically, doctors can remotely communicate with RP-VITA through an iPad, with their faces even appearing at the head of the robot (which is comprised of another screen). From there, doctors can speak to patients and have access to critical information, regardless of where they are.

The RP-VITA even has a built-in GPS system, so doctors can remotely move it from patient to patient, up and down the hospital hallways. This super-smart robot has already been put through trials at several hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital of Orange County in California.


One of the most bizarre products at this year's CES was iPotty, an iPad accessory that aims to get your little one potty-trained ASAP using the irresistible lure of technology.

The iPotty is one of those little, plastic toilets you set up for your tot when he or she is ready to start potty training, but with a catch: It has a built in iPad-holder, causing tiny tech-lovers to flock to the potty, knowing their favorite apps await. In a stroke of design brilliance, vendor CTA Digital even added a plastic cover to place over the iPad while little ones do their business, ensuring protection from -- well, you get the idea.

CTA Digital said the iPotty is slated for a March launch, starting at $40.

Boombotix Throws Down

Lots of speaker manufacturers were vying for attention at CES 2013, so Boombotix wanted to make sure it stuck out in the crowd.

Employees of the San Francisco-based vendor turned heads when they toured the show floor decked out in full sumo wrestling gear (yes, fat suits, and all). Using their own "Boombot" speakers to pump out some jams, the wrestlers made quite the spectacle waddling between booths. They even managed to stage a wrestling match on the show floor -- before being nicely asked by event staff to reserve their moves for the ring.

MakerBot's 3-D Printer

Surprisingly, one of the most talked about gadgets at CES 2013 was a printer.

But, MakerBot's Replicator isn't just your average, run-of-the-mill printer. In fact, it doesn't even use paper. The Replicator is a 3-D printer, capable of recreating almost any item, regardless of its dimensions, out of a spool of plastic. Poised to completely redefine the manufacturing industry, the Replicator can quickly churn out a range of objects, including everyday items like door knobs and shower curtain rings, to not-so-everyday items, like this sculpture of Alexander the Great, which was showcased in MakerBot's popular booth.

Parrot's Flower Power Plant Monitor

Not all of us were lucky enough to be born with a green thumb. But for those that weren't, there's Parrot's Flower Power plant monitor.

One of the strangest (yet practical) gadgets on display at CES, Parrot's Flower Power is a smart sensor that can be placed in potted plants to let users know exactly what their plants need, when they need it. The uniquely designed sensor is able to gauge how much sunlight, water or fertilizer a plant requires at any given moment, send that information to the cloud and then ensure that vital information lands on users' smartphones or tablets.

Parrot said the Flower Power monitor, which is set to launch this year, can read the needs of "thousands" of different plants.

Tablet Man

With more than 2,000 exhibitors fighting for the CES spotlight, Accessory Power knew it had to do something special to avoid being lost in the shuffle. Turns out, that something special was a body suit adorned with tablets.

Tablet Man -- or "TabMan" for short -- wandered the halls of CES with 12 tablets strapped to his body, including one that served as a 3-D grid for his face. The tablets showcased the different brands and products made by Accessory Power, which range from multimedia cables to rechargeable batteries. Tablet Man's high-tech suit was a hit among attendees, who were snapping pictures of him at every turn.

The iLounge

Apple is a well-known CES no-show. But, ironically, the event still dedicated a large part of its show floor to the Cupertino giant called "iLounge," where vendors flaunted their latest and greatest accessories for the iPhone and iPad.

The iLounge itself struck some folks as strange, considering Apple wasn't even at CES. But, stranger yet were some of the products and displays found inside, such as this giant, revolving iPad built by Ozaki, an iPhone and iPad case manufacturer.

Snail Mail Makes A Comeback

When you think about bleeding-edge tech innovation, chances are the United States Postal Service isn't the first company that comes to mind. But, leave it to CES to shake that up a bit.

The USPS booth was one of the most visited on the show floor, likely because it touted vintage items, like the old Elvis stamp pictured here, and, at times, was manned by a Marilyn Monroe look-alike. If nothing else, the USPS at least got attendees to stop for a minute and reminisce about the good ol' days when letters were still sent to mailboxes instead of inboxes.

That said, the USPS booth was completely tech-free; the organization was showing off some new mobile apps.

LG's 3-D Video Wall

There were tons of amazing sights to be seen at CES 2013, but none were quite on scale with LG's massive 3-D video wall, which literally stopped attendees in their tracks.

The wall was located in a huge room just outside one of the exhibit halls, and it was almost always packed. Attendees came in droves to get a peak, as LG employees frantically distributed the 3-D glasses. While the wall pretty much just played LG advertisements on a loop, it was still a crowd favorite, with some attendees even pocketing the glasses as a reminder of the fun.