There were plenty of products with great ideas that filled needs I never knew I had to be found at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Showcase, and then there were those that left me scratching my head and wondering why.

As I’m still working on the product reviews of the stuff I really liked, we’ll start with the whys I ran across. Keep in mind, I don’t hate these products; I’m just wondering why they exist, and in some cases simply weeping for humanity.

Portable foldable wireless charging mat

CES2014 Inpofi folding chargerI understand the appeal of wireless charging, and I understand the appeal of portable phone chargers, but a charger with a charging mat that folds up into a flashlight just seems to be pushing random technology together just for the hell of it.

At the point you’re carrying around a flashlight sized charging bank with you, I’d think it’d be significantly more feasible to just go ahead and plug the phone in rather than place it on a surface. Hell, you could recharge on the go if it’s plugged in, while the fold-out mat anchors you to keeping the phone flat unless you enlist the aid of a rubber band.

The other chargers offered by iNPOFi make sense to me, but maybe I’m missing something here. It makes about as much sense productwise to me as the body-heat powered glowing duck I ran across last year.

Target assist dot

This is one I’m still struggling to understand. It’s an LED that you stick to your TV to help with targeting in first person shooter video games.

It also leaves a long wire danging from the center of your TV straight down. Then again, perhaps it does have a use in first person shooter games that don’t have a heads up display … which is none of them.

I wanted to ask if there was any research about this helping players, but the person who was manning the table was a bit busy with people who weren’t staring in confusion at the prospect of sticking something on your TV.

Target assist dotDaisy chain portable speakers

Daisy chain rechargeable speakers

Now don’t get me wrong, these sound pretty decent and are probably great for portable powered rechargeable speakers, but you can, according to claims, add more to add more depth to the sound by purchasing another speaker and adding it to the chain. The limit to how many you can add is somewhere over 80 – I forgot the exact number, but the idea of portability goes out the window past two or three.

There’s also the extremely short connector cables to contend with.

One or two of these are great, but four or more – why? Recharging more than four would be an interesting prospect, too.

Bluetooth controlled personal pleasure devices

Perhaps I’m just old fashioned, but if I want to remotely control something in the underpants of my partner, I’d rather use proprietary RF rather than something that can be disabled in airplane mode or might get stuck if your phone locks up or reboots. It also wouldn’t have worked very well at CES 2014 due to the absurd amount of Bluetooth traffic.

OhMiBod blueMotion

Oddly it’s not available yet.

Remote shutter for selfies

ShutterBallSo the concept here is this – you want to pose and take the perfect self picture of you and your buds. So you use a remote squeeze ball (ShutterBall) to take the picture. The ball is portable, can fit on a keychain or be carried easily, and uses Bluetooth and an app to tell your phone to snap that picture.

It’s an interesting idea, but neglected is what’s holding the camera? So you’ll also need to bring along a tripod mount, or a friend who you let know you value their ability to point the camera but not their ability to press the button.

Plus with phones these days, how hard is it to record a video, make a few poses, and then choose the frames you want for your picture.

I can see uses for a remote shutter, but selfies are not one of them.

Remote controlled iPad on a stick

telepresense unitI’d seen the concept of these on the Colbert Report, but several companies now have telepresense devices that allow you to steer an iPad-carrying device around an office and Facetime with people.

While not all were iPad, none had robot arms or cupholders and were the same basic concept of a fixed camera position, which makes looking down at anything pretty hard.

Tablet-holding chopping block

iPad bamboo cutting board

Imagine the greatest distraction in the history of mankind, now put that behind a small shield and give the operator a knife to chop vegetables with.

The idea here is to read recipes on the tablet, but knives, food that can squirt, and tablets should probably be kept apart. I’ve found in the kitchen that any tablet should be suspended from any surface that can get wet, because it will.

Tracking Point targeting scope

Upload your kill video, stream video of your hunt, etc.  You can see them in action at the website. Something about bringing social media into hunting just boggles my mind.