This CES Might Be Your Most Unhygenic Yet

Published on November 13, 2019
Ooey Gooey! It’s CES Time 

As a veteran CES attendee, I can attest. It’s always been an uphill battle to stay healthy. The sardine-like flight, poorly circulated, questionable-quality air, the cacophony of man and machine, buffets of dubious vintage and the throng of crowds breathing heavily in anticipation of the latest tech candy.

Now, thanks to smaller form factors and more wearable tech, CES 2020 may prove to be the least hygienic (but most fun) yet. You’ll be spending increased time in virtual reality, clipping tech into every orifice, monitoring every vital sign and catching a few zzz’s on high tech sleep-beds. What could possibly go wrong?

Varieties of Goo

VR headsets may be the biggest culprit because it’s so tantalizing to put them on your head and take a journey. They get gobbed up with dry-detritus like dead skin flakes, loose hairs, and scalp flakes. Oils, sweat and yes, makeup account for most of the wetter stuff. And at their worst, VR headset swapping can transmit everything from lice to ear wax. 

What to do? At minimum look for booth attendees wiping down the VR goggles with a microfiber cloth and sanitizer between uses. Some exhibitors swap out the face gaskets.

Earbuds and Headsets 

Personally, I wouldn’t stick anything in my ear at CES, no matter how great promise of high fidelity. But if I did I might consider the new LG Tone+ Free true wireless headphones (not available in the US). They have a UV light built into the case that kills germs while the headphones are charging. Many exhibitors use disposable ear tips. Points for personal hygiene; demerits for environmentalism.

In 2019 my most tempting moment came from Opte’ a product from Proctor and Gamble. It’s a handheld 3D printed makeup gun. It rolls over your skin  (and everyone else’s) searching for imperfections. Then it spits out tiny microdots of coverup makeup to camouflage age spots and pigmentation. P&G called it “photoshopping in real life”. But, with high tech beauty products, my advice is to offer your hand, not your face as the guinea pig.

In 2019 Lumen introduced a breathalyzer for hacking your metabolism and the Y brush mouthpiece shaped toothbrush promised to brush your teeth in under 10 seconds. Two examples of product demos where watching the videos are safer.

The sleep-tech section of the show floor? Draw your own conclusions, but I have some misgivings. (Thanks to Dave from Business Insider for the photo). 

What’s a germaphobe to do? You’re bound to see a fair share of surgical masks being worn, some more fashionable than others. Consider downloading the latest version of the Weather Channel app for Android and iOS. It has a Flu Insights feature that uses IBM’s Watson to warn you when influenza is likely to be on the warpath. And NY Magazine ranks the best hand sanitizers. Good luck, safe journeys and remember your body may be your temple, but at CES it is also your guinea pig.

Robin Raskin is a News Columnist at Grit Daily. She is an American writer, author, publisher, TV personality and conference and events creator known for curating the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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