Sex Toys, AI Toothbrushes, and More in the CES Forecast

By WIRED Staff

So those might be breast-milk pumps or, I can't tell you how many times, you know, I get approached by the consumer-packaged-goods companies that are like, come try our facial wand to make your complexion better through tech, you know. Like there's all that stuff. But female pleasure was a taboo topic last year. So last July, the CTA sent out a policy update. They said that CES 2020 would include tech-based sexual products on a one-year trial basis. This is like you're being, like, sent away to boarding school for a year, and your parents are like, don't get in any trouble and then we'll see how long this lasts. But this'll be part of the "health and wellness" product category" And there is one stipulation, which is that the products have to be innovative or include new or emerging tech to qualify. So this is, this is not your 2010 vibrator here people.

OK. So we've been receiving a lot of pitches for this stuff, you know, smart, bendable, bullet vibrators. We also got a note from the founder of a male-sex-tech brand who says that CTA's new policies discriminate because it doesn't permit products that have anatomically correct parts such as mouths or human genitalia. So I don't know what that means for Fleshlight fans, but basically we're going to be seeing a lot more of this tech at CES this year.

Of course, I mean, I think some people will just be writing about it because of what you said earlier. It's quite literally a sexy topic and people tend to click on these things. But I think it's also worth having the conversation about how this, in some way, may signal an evolution of women's roles at CES. Not just the products that are being showcased at CES, but attendees, speakers, panelists. You know, traditionally—I've been going to CES for 10 years now, and I don't have exact numbers on the breakdown of attendees the past few years—but traditionally it's a pretty male-dominated show and a lot of the products there are geared towards a traditionally male sort of audience.

And we're seeing that start to evolve. I think around 2013 was the year that the Consumer Electronics Association said they were, you know, banning "booth babes." And so sort of elevating the role of women and how women were participating in this show. Last year, the CTA made a point to say that more than 35 percent of all speakers and panelists were women or people of color. So they're trying to be more inclusive. But as with any change, sometimes this can take a little while, and there may be some missteps along the way.

MC: All right, well, we look forward to you tracking the buzz of all the sex toys at CES this year.

LG: Yes indeed.

MC: Tom, what else are you looking at for this year?

TS: I would also like to talk about buzzing devices that go inside the body. Yes, I see you're all there ahead of me. I'm talking about AI toothbrushes.

MC: Oh yes, yes, yes.

TS: Now, a couple of years ago, Colgate came to CES with a gadget that got a lot of attention. It was an AI toothbrush. It cost $100. Last year they were one-upped by Oral-B, which came along with the Genius X, $220 AI toothbrush. It's called the Genius X.