The Last Gadget Standing at CES 2020

The Last Gadget Standing at CES 2020

When a new high-tech product can win a competition based audience appreciation and applause alone, you know you’ve probably got a winner.


One of my favorite events at CES each year is the Last Gadget Standing competition. It’s not a scientific competition, but rather one in which the competitors compete for the largest cheers from attendees at the event and for votes in a separate competition online.

This year, the event’s 20th, saw a tie for the winner between the Ambassador Interpreter, a device that does on-the-fly translation among languages, and MedWand, which combines a variety of medical instruments into a single device, helpful for at-home diagnostics.

Below are some details on the winners and the other finalists:

Event Winners:

Ambassador Interpreter from Wavery Labs claims to offer the highest quality translation tool. The device goes over your ear and pairs with a smart phone. It uses a far-field microphone to listen to someone speaking to you in another language, then translates it into your language so you hear it through the earpiece. It can also provide translated text in an accompanying app. This works in three modes, for listening, lectures, and two-way conversations (where two people wear the device.) Because it’s over the ear, it’s hygienic, and it comes with two devices, so one can be shared. There were a number of translation devices at CES this year, but this looked to be one of the coolest. It is slated to be available in March for $199 ($129 now on Indiegogo)

MedWand is a handheld medical diagnostic device that combines a medical camera system, pulse oximeter, IR thermometer, stethoscope and ECG all in a single 4-ounce enclosure. It will be offered by itself as well as in a kit which allows a health care worker to see the results and connect with a doctor if necessary. This is designed for real time remote exams, either done by the patient or by home health care, EMS, hospice or palliative care workers. It looks like a very compact way of extending common tests to the home environment.

Online Winners:

ClearUp Sinus Pain Relief from Tivic Health uses microcurrent, a low-level electrical stimulation to help reduce sinus pain. It’s a small, hand-held device that you glide around your check, nose, and brow bone and it detects where to apply the current. The company has medical research that says this is as effective as medication for 74 percent of patients and lasts about six hours. I was skeptical at first, but I’ve used it and it works pretty well. This is available now for $149.

WowCube is a handheld gaming platform that looks like a two-by-two version of Rubik’s cube but that lets you put various games that you play by twisting and shaking its 24 little screens (8 elements with 3 sides each). It includes a variety of different kinds of games, including mazes, puzzles, and more traditional-looking arcade games. This should be out shortly for $249.

ThermArt is a stylish ear and forehead thermometer that uses a smartphone app to track your body temperature. It didn’t make the finalists group that presented at the event but did get a lot of votes in the online competition.

Other finalists:

DoodleMatic Mobile Game Maker from Tink Digital lets you turn your hand drawn images into playable games. Deisgned for kids, you draw your game level with differently colored markers, take a photo of your drawings, and then you can play the game on a browser, or through an iPhone app. It’s $29.99, including game creation guides, sketch pad, and washable colored markers.

The Flic 2 Smart Button is a very flexible button that can be placed in your home or offfice, can pair with your smartphone or PC via Bluetooth, and can then control a wide variety of functions, such as turning devices on or off, or performing more complex combinations of multiple tasks. A pack with a hub and tree buttons is about $160; additional buttons are about $30 each.

The Lioness Vibrator connects with an app to let you visualize arousal and orgasm. It uses biofeedback and precision sensor technology, as well as AI-driven guidance, and costs $229.

Octobo by Thinker Tinker is a plush toy with a variety of sensors in which you place a tablet. Designed for young children, this includes a variety of play types, including storybooks, as well as unstructured play. The basic pack sells for $149.

The Orbi WiFi 6 Mesh is a mesh routing system that uses the new Wi-Fi 6. Netgear’s Orbi line has been one of the leading mesh networking solutions, and Netgear says this version offers higher speed, better efficiency, and four times the capacity of the Wi-Fi 5 (802.11 ac) solutions. A router and a satellite connection costs $699.99

The Phyn Smart Water Assistant goes under a sink and can then show how much water each fixture in a home uses. This enables homeowners to track water consumption and identify problems, such as water leaks. It will cost $299.