Let this year be known as the CES that put “booth babes” on the back burner when it comes to the chief attention paid toward women at the show.
Yes, the models were still there, but they weren’t the ones drawing the chatter from the press and attendees. Instead, the show headlined such keynoters as General Motors chairman/CEO Mary Barry and Ginni Rometty; announcements were made about progress achieved in increasing diversity in tech; and multiple awards were given celebrating achievements by women in technology.
To be sure, men still outnumbered women at the show, both in terms of speakers and attendees. When stacked up against other industries, the tech sector is still lagging in diversity. But we like to think that progress is being made, and we look forward to seeing this trajectory continue with each CES.
In terms of products, this year’s show featured an unprecedented number of new devices that are geared specifically toward women. That’s not to say that all women may want to use them. Some of them, in fact, are downright cringe-worthy. But given our all-encompassing coverage of all-things-CES, we’d feel remiss if you didn’t at least acknowledge them.
We’ve rounded up several female-focused tech devices that made their debut during CES 2016, and we’ll let you be the judge as to whether these are useful progress-makers or pure harbingers of absurdity.
The Lovelife Krush Kegel Exerciser
This device, manufactured by OhMiBod, is designed to help women strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. It connects to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth 4.0, and an app will track exercises and provide voice-guided training. It’s slated for spring availability for a $129 suggested retail.
Take note that this is not the first digital Kegel counter on the market. London-based Chiaro launched the Elvie last fall.
First Response Pregnancy Pro
Previously, a digital pregnancy test was one that displayed the words “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant” instead of plus or minus signs. First Response upped the game with the launch of the Pregnancy Pro, a Bluetooth-enabled test stick that can display results on a smartphone. The accompanying app can also provide tips on what a user’s next step should be, as well as store results for multiple tests.
The Pregnancy Pro will be available this year for a $14.99 to $21.99 suggested retail.
Perhaps one of the most talked-about (or cringed over) female-focused gadgets at CES, this intravaginal device is meant to transmit music to a fetus. The “tampon speaker,” as it’s being called, can cause fetuses to react and respond in utero, according to the company. (No word if they cover their ears over bad picks.)
Interested users can also already purchase the speaker for $139.
Smart Watches, Smart Jewelry
Lululemon may be all the rage — the term athleisurewear is now used to describe the sporty clothes many women wear daily — but not all smart watch users want to wear fitness gear. Numerous companies are looking to cash in on the great market potential of wearables that can be worn with other types of attire.
Manufacturers at the show looking to give consumers more alternatives included Huawei, which unveiled a line of watches with jewel-encrusted faces; Mira, which launched fitness-tracking bracelet and pendant jewelry; and Martian Watches, which announced a line of women’s “hybrid” smart watches with just a single alert light and a variety of vibration patterns. By removing some of the bell-and-whistle tech from the Martian watches, the devices are able to keep the smaller form factors often associated with women’s wristwear.
And, yes, there were also a handful of products at CES that were geared toward sexual activities for women. The Consumer Technology Association even doled out one of its coveted Innovations Award to the Little Bird smart vibrator.