Future tech

Internet-connected vibrators – for men, women or unisex, a hand-held translator: IFA 2018’s weirdest devices

Device makers push the envelope at Europe’s largest tech show, and they’ve got you covered from living room to kitchen to bedroom

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2018, 3:27pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2018, 3:30pm

Berlin’s IFA tech show is the largest in Europe, and while the hype may not match its American big brother CES, there’s no shortage of weird and wonderful devices to reward curious visitors.

Tame luggage

I-Porter may be the solution for those fed up with juggling phone, passport, boarding pass and hand luggage at the airport. The cabin-sized suitcase is motorised and follows its human master with the aid of a laser detection system. If you’re worried about its affections straying, an optional Bluetooth bracelet can help avoid mix-ups. Around US$1,733.

Iron chef

German home electronics maker AEG is offering a range of frying pans and saucepans with built-in sensors. They can step in to turn down the heat quickly if it looks like your dish risks bubbling over or browning too close to black.

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It’s not quite the universal translator promised by Douglas Adams in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, but the Pocketalk (around US$266) makes a fair stab. Speak a phrase into the handheld box and it will translate into more than 70 languages – as long as it’s connected to Wi-fi or the mobile network and does not mishear you.


IFA does not stop at the entrance to the bedroom, with a stand offering internet-connected vibrating devices for men or women, as well as unisex options. Manufacturers are making eyes at the sector after the expiration of a 1990s-era US patent on “teledildonics” – an “interactive virtual sexual stimulation system” with “one or more user interfaces” – thus opening the boudoir to would-be robotic Romeos. One vital ground rule: any data collected must remain under cryptographic lock and key.

Rolling thunder

Danish high-end audio specialists Bang and Olufsen show off a futuristic, tactile speaker, the Beosound Edge, that can be attached to the wall or placed on a table. To adjust the volume, just roll the almost featureless circular device to left or right. Touch controls appear on the surface when the proximity sensors detect you are close.