CES 2017 The annual godforsaken hypegasm that is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has given an "innovation award" ... to a Wi-Fi-connected microphone-fitted allegedly "smart" hairbrush.
A comb through the technical specs of the Kérastase Hair Coach, a snip at around $200, reveals the high-tech hairbrush has sensors that monitor your hand movements along three axes, and an accelerometer and a gyroscope to log the number of strokes through your barnet. The gadget vibrates angrily if it thinks you're being too frenzied on your follicles.
Also included is a mic that listens to you mastering your mane to give you "insights into manageability, frizziness, dryness, split ends and breakage," according to the builder's blurb. It even has sensors to tell if the hair is wet or dry – in case you had a problem working that out for yourself.
All of this crucial data is collected and sent via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi from the gizmo to a mobile app, which crunches the numbers along with information about the weather, wind, humidity, and ultraviolet light levels. It then advises the fashion victim owner on effective hair maintenance given the surrounding environment and the state of their locks.
"For more than 50 years, Kérastase has pioneered luxury hair care that's at the forefront of scientific research," purred Vincent Nida, haircare product boss at beauty tat flogger Kérastase. "Our customers see their hair as intimate expressions of their identities, and we are always looking to provide them with high-quality tools and technologies that make their hair as beautiful as possible."
The novelty item is the brainchild – if such a word could be used – of L'Oréal, the multinational that makes billions from exploiting people's insecurities. Now it's made a potentially insecure thing miscreants may be able to exploit. Because you're worth it? We hope it was worth it.
The French face paste giant went to Withings – Nokia's heathcare sensor arm – to add the necessary hardware to a brush to make the Hair Coach an unfortunate reality. Just get a load of this:
"Withings has a track record for empowering everyday objects such as bathroom scales and watches with sensors that provide people with insight into their behaviors, and we're excited to now bring this expertise to the beauty industry," gushed Cedric Hutchings, digital health veep at Nokia. "Each time someone uses the smart brush they get rich data they never before had access to, which can improve their overall hair care experience."
That CES saw fit this week to cut this pile of piffle an innovation gong tells you a lot about how technologically savvy the show is these days. That manufacturers thought the idea was hair-raising enough to take to market is also revealing – some people seem to think shoppers will buy anything these days so long as it comes with an app.
"This is a horrible thing. Our species does not deserve to survive," was but one comment overheard in the office as we passed around word of this damned doodad. Hopefully it will be hair today and gone tomorrow. (Nah, actually, it's shipping mid-2017.) ®