January 10, 2011, 1:22 PM — There's a fine -- if not blurred -- line between innovative and wacky, a point well illustrated at this year's CES 2011 show in Las Vegas, which concluded Sunday. Alongside the next-generation smartphones, tablets, and TVs rolled out and heavily touted by industry leaders were a wealth of products that received little to no attention but warrant a second look -- or a double take.
Following is a look at the wackier -- and in some cases, quite innovative -- products that cropped up at CES 2011.
[ Also at CES: A glimpse of mobile's future and how Microsoft's quiet keynote shows its decline in action. | See more tech oddities in InfoWorld's "10 even wackier USB devices" and "7 crazy iPad accessories" slideshows. ]
Scent Sciences ScentScape While plenty of vendors have been dabbling in bringing 3D products to the consumer market, a company called Scent Sciences is pushing to add a fourth dimension to the mix: scent. The company has plug-and-play product called ScentScape; compatible with PCs and gaming consoles, ScentScape is designed to emit aromas -- birthday cake, flowers, fresh mowed grass, ocean, and roasting turkey -- to complement the action on the screen.
Using the ScentEditor application, a movie such as "Beaches" could be updated (or "scent-enabled") to include the aroma of salty surf. A Vietnam-themed online shooter could include the musk of the jungle or smoke -- or hey, perhaps napalm, for gamers who happen to love that smell in the morning.
The $70 ScentScape is 3.5 inches tall, 4.25 inches wide, and 5.5 inches long, and it provides 20 basic scents per cartridge; each cartridge lasts up to 200 hours.
Marchon3D EX3D glasses Perhaps you're not ready to embrace the fourth dimension that Scent Sciences can provide. But you could be enthusiastic about 3D -- and you want to look your best while taking it all in. Enter Marchon3D. The company, a division of eyewear maker Marchon, announced the mass-market availability of its customizable EX3D glasses at CES.