The greatest of gadgets, gizmos, and A.I…. OH MY! The largest convention to hit Vegas all year long is the Consumer Electronics Show. Held every January, it spills over from all our convention halls into the Venetian Expo, Mandalay Bay, Westgate, and beyond. There are 4,000 exhibitors bringing a whopping 130,000 people to Las Vegas! It’s all accompanied by a tremendous amount of buzz, because this is where you see the absolute latest developments in advanced technology and innovation. I saw hundreds of wondrous things. Here are just a few of the scores of wonders I saw last week.

Flying Car by XPENG AEROHT
Photo by Salvatore Musco

It’s a bird!  it’s a plane! No, it’s a flying car!! This was the first thing I encountered, and it’s easily my pick for the most dramatic, exciting–and perhaps a little terrifying–exhibit. It’s been years in the making. Chinese engineers, designers, and manufacturers have worked to create the flying car, which could be available for retail purchase in less than a year!

As you might imagine, the vehicle is super-sleek and shiny and reminded me of “The Jetsons.” In driving mode, the vehicle transforms into a supercar, seamlessly folding its flying components away for an elegant, on-road appearance. Upon switching to flight mode, the vehicle opens its arms, facilitating vertical takeoff and landing. The functionality allows for effortless navigation through congested areas and obstacles–when conditions permit. The idea is to address the demand for short distance, low altitude travel.

To begin with, the developers want to get government approval for the car’s use in wide open spaces. After launching in these open spaces, the plan is to move onto roads and highways. I asked whether the car would be cost prohibitive for the average person, and whether a driver would need a pilot’s license. The reply was that the retail price should be equivalent to that of a Ferrari. And get this–no pilot’s license will be necessary! The car will be controlled by an autonomous system similar to those used in driverless cars. Since I’m not exactly thrilled about driverless cars, imagine my thoughts about a driverless flying car!  But if you like the idea of being George Jetson, keep an eye on the company behind the flying car: XPENG AEROHT, an affiliate of XPENG.

Scotch “cushion lock” wrapping paper modeled by the writer
Photo by Salvatore Musco

And then I heard water and headed to investigate. Of course! It was KOHLER, one of my favorite companies whose products I’ve enjoyed in my own home for many years. From sinks to toilets, Kohler offers a variety of styles, design using a vast array of materials. Upon entering the Kohler booth, I found a bathtub with twelve water features. Yes, twelve! The installation was the size of my dining room! A wall panel controlled what amounted to a literal water symphony. Choices included water temperature, water pressure, lights, and music. I asked if the water could dance in time with the music as the Bellagio fountains do. Jillian Rosone, Kohler public relations representative, said they’re not there yet but that I should tune back in next year, because you just never know!! Jillian is certainly in the right business! Her passion for the Kohler products was obvious as she walked me through each and every product on the platform.

My next favorite item was the smart toilets. From keeping themselves clean to keeping the user comfortable, Kohler toilets are nothing short of amazing. A bidet feature has adjustable water, temperature, and spray patterns along with warm air drying. And of course, the toilet seats are heated. A UV light wand automatically cleans the toilet before and after every use. And that’s not all! There’s a remote control to dial in your ideal settings! Last but not least, Kohler paid attention to the look of the toilet. Unlike common commodes, Kohler smart toilets boast a sculptural quality and designer colors. Therefore, not only can you get the most state-of-the-art potty, you’ll also get a piece of art for your bathroom.

Master Chef Eric Gephart applying some bourbon to the meat
Photo by Salvatore Musco 

Pop! Pop! Pop! Goodbye, plastic bubble wrap. Now you can package your items with the confidence of protection without the guilt of plastic!  Scotch “cushion lock” is an expanding protective paper wrap made with 100% recycled paper. A 30-foot roll expands to do the work of 75 feet of plastic bubble! This is truly one of the most amazing green products I’ve ever seen in my life. It has a self-locking design, so you don’t need scissors or tape. It looks flimsy and then, when you touch it, you realize it’s hard as a rock. I give the wrap a solid 10 out of 10 for durability and protection. And the best part is that after you use it, it’s recyclable–again! This is the only product I saw that leaves no question about its performance and its claim that it’s good for our planet! Bravo, Scotch!!

It’s been quite cold in our desert lately–even a little snow out in Henderson. Yes, snow!! But we’ll warm up soon enough, and we’ll all go back to happily grilling our food! My sweet husband even endures the cold and cooks on the grill in these chilly temperatures!! So we were thrilled to discover Konnected Joe by Kamado Joe! This ceramic grill offers built in digital controls. The charcoal is automatically lit with the push of a button. A digital control board displays temperature, graphing, alerts, and multiple cook modes. You can use the Kamado Joe App to set temperature and times, monitor meat probes, and discover new recipes.

Kamado Joes company smartly has taken master chef Eric Gephart on full-time to travel globally and promote this amazing grill. Gephart cooks everything from appetizers to entire prime ribs on this grill. I was super lucky to be included at the intimate VIP party that Kamado Joe gave at Resorts World at Eight lounge, the intimate outdoor terrace had enough space heaters so that we were all cozy. The lounge sofas were very comfortable, and the landscaping of sculpted trees and twinkly white lights was beautiful. The roaring fire in the gorgeous extra-large stone fireplace was enchanting, but the real showstopper was Eric Gephart working his magic on multiple grills. The mouthwatering aromas wafted over us. Just when I thought I might faint from wanting to try his amazing creations, waitresses passed trays of mini burgers, shrimp, prime rib, little tacos, and other delicious appetizers.  I can honestly say that each was the best of its category.

In addition to his culinary skills chef, Chef Gephart is extremely friendly. When I asked him what his favorite part was of the job, he said he just loves to meet people. It gives him great joy to feed people as a way of communication and “feeding our souls.” Then I asked him what the worst part of his job was. He told me that he’s a husband and father, and his travel takes him away from his family in a small town in North Carolina. Please check out his Instagram. It is spectacular!

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