Our Health Is in the Toilet and Tech Has No Clue How to Help

Companies trotted out smart helmets, orgasm trackers, and more health “solutions” no one asked for at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show.
Katie Way
Brooklyn, US
January 9, 2020, 9:25pm
CES 2020 Health and Wellness Tech
Photo by David Becker via Getty Images

There are a number of overarching health problems that we, as a society, are currently up against. The opioid crisis remains in full swing, rates of loneliness are on the rise, basic healthcare is priced like a luxury item, and we still haven’t really dealt with vaping yet. These are the kinds of glaring issues that could benefit from a little innovation from our best and brightest minds—you know, the kinds of people who’ve been showcasing their wares at the Consumer Electronics Show for the past 53 years.


Or, at the very least, it would be cool if the people with all the money could toss a little bit of it at the issues plaguing the unwashed masses. That’s not quite what happened at CES 2020, but where there’s a will, there’s a way to adapt flashy new technology to solve at least a few everyday crises. Check out the best applications for this year’s hottest gadgets below.

When something is wrong with your water supply

Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have access to clean water, even though Obama went there. The Phyn Smart Water Assistant can’t fix the confluence of racism and America’s failing infrastructure, but it can notify users when the water pressure in their house is on the fritz. And that’s almost as good, right?

When your boss won’t let you mess around on your phone

Does it ever feel like our entire lives hinge on our performance at work because—thanks to financial precarity and employer-supplied healthcare—they literally do? That weight makes it a lot more compelling to toe the line when it comes to company policies like “no headphones at work” or cell phone bans. But slackers rejoice: these Nreal Light mixed reality glasses bring the distraction to the wearer’s face. Of course, someone who can afford a pair of glasses that let you watch Netflix can also probably afford to get a job that allows for shirking. Darn!

When the climate is changing but you want an icy bev

Unseasonably hot outside and only getting hotter? Drown out fears of living out the plot of Melancholia for real with a little help from the Juno Chiller, a product designed to bring beverages down to a delicious, cool temperature. Can they make one big enough for Earth? Just kidding! Unless…

When you've eaten pavement on your e-scooter for the last time

For the professional who wants to get to work on time but you doesn’t want to become a statistic (yet another millennial injured on an e-scooter? Yeesh!), there’s the Tali Connected, a smart motorcycle helmet that uses data to make cruising around on your hog safer than ever. Sure, bikers and scooter-ers alike could also throw on a regular helmet, but at least this one will make wearers look like dorks… with cash flow.

When your uninsured partner snores

Sleep apnea test? No thanks! Paper over breathing problems with the Motion Pillow, which has inflatable airbags designed to reposition the offending breather’s head in the middle of the night to minimize noise. Finally, some peace and quiet, for just the low price of ignoring a potential red flag for Type 2 diabetes.

When you finally watch that documentary about factory farming

Between increasingly loose food safety regulations and the environmental impact of eating meat (there’s that pesky ‘climate change’ again!), cutting pork products is probably a smart move. Thanks to Impossible Pork, newly minted herbivores barely feel the loss—satisfying consciences and chorizo cravings in one fell swoop.

When you aren't orgasming at the optimal rate

The women behind the Lioness, a smart vibrator that allows users to track when and how they get off, are working to analyze that data in order to engineer the best possible orgasm. I’m sure this “does it” for some people, but I can’t even pretend not to be squeamish about an app that knows what it’s like to be inside me.

When the loneliness epidemic really hits

There are a lot of good reasons to simulate human interaction, a primary one being the wave of isolation currently sweeping the U.S. populace. Unfortunately, if the Samsung Neon is any indication, we’re not quite there yet. Although, honestly, the stilted conversation between a reporter and the Neon does sound like one you might overhear at a networking event.

When there aren't enough seconds in a minute for your productivity needs

For the person who thinks, in the midst of a long TB (tooth-brushing) session, “Jeez louise, this is taking forever, I’ve got emails to send!” there’s the Y-Brush, which promises to clean teeth completely in 10 seconds. This gadget does feel tailor-made for someone in a committed relationship, because seeing someone slobber all over this thing in the interest of saving one minute and 50 seconds of time has gotta be a major turn-off.

When you're forced to exist in the world as we know it

Look. I’m not saying that intoxication is the only sensible reaction to life in a fundamentally senseless world. I’m just saying it’s a sensible reaction to life in a fundamentally senseless world. Vape crisis who?

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