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High Tech, High Times

Sex tech, toilet tech, what the heck? A look at CES, the world's most important electronic trade show.

High Tech, High Times

As I write this, it is early January, and in Las Vegas, that means one thing: a two-week hangover, followed by a brutal two weeks of winter.

OK, two things.

But wait: January in Vegas means one more important thing. If you can stand the winter deep-freeze—when daytime temperatures barely make it out of the 50s—you can go to CES.

CES is the popular trade show that was originally called the Consumer Electronics Show, and it’s one of those events to which slot manufacturers and even casinos send their resident innovators, for technology that can be adapted for use in the casino industry.

These consumer shows have provided slot manufacturers a lot of ideas over the years. Programmable button decks, cashless technology and interactive slot displays are among the consumer ideas that have been successfully commercialized on slot machines. Others, like a slot machine built into a treadmill or other exercise device, were suggested but never took off.

They should have included an ashtray on the thing like I suggested.

In any event, whenever CES comes around in January, I pay close attention to stuff that may end up in a slot machine, or even in a casino hotel room or bar.

This year’s CES, held the second week of January, didn’t disappoint, although from my perspective, there was much more innovation that can be used on the non-gaming side than in a slot machine.

For the hotel room, there was a “multitasking bed for sex.” It was one of the “sex tech” exhibits, which also included “internet-connected vibrators.”

I can’t wait to see these in my suite at Caesars Palace or MGM, if only to find out just how many multiple “tasks” there are to be had in bed. As far as I can see, there’s only one. (OK, maybe two on a good night.) And I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want my vibrator connected to the internet.

For that matter, what the heck does connecting something like that to the internet do? Never mind. I don’t even want to know. This is a family column.

I read that these “sex tech” products are now allowed at CES in the “health and wellness group” of exhibitors. (Well, well.) It’s an updated policy, implemented to prevent the kind of brouhaha that happened last year when sex-toy company Lora DiCarlo’s CES Innovation Award was taken away because of a policy prohibiting “immoral, obscene, indecent or profane” products. CES is much more liberal now, although they still don’t allow cannabis products.

Because, you know, that would be much more immoral than an internet vibrator.

Other stuff for the casino hotel room featured at this year’s CES included a lot of something called “toilet tech.” There were sensors to determine how much water each flush requires, “voice assistants” to flush your toilet, a “roll bot” to save on toilet paper, and even a wearable stomach monitor to notify you when it’s time to use the bathroom.

Wow. Just, wow.

What do the voice assistants say?

“Flush! In the name of all that is holy, FLUSH!”

And for the record, I’m 63. There are a lot of things I need: Heartburn pills. Physical therapy after my dog yanks my shoulder out of its socket on a walk. Someone to remind me why I went into the kitchen just now. If there’s anything I don’t need, it’s something to tell me when I need to go to the bathroom.

Then again, maybe I should get with the times. Think of it. Technology hooked to my gastrointestinal tract can assure me that I’ll never miss a bathroom trip.

Here, I’ve been relying on intestinal cramps, like some loser.

Moving on, there are two men in Mississippi who could have used some of that high-tech karma. Authorities say two men attempted to scam the state lottery by submitting a losing ticket that had the winning numbers glued on. The men, both from Columbus, Ohio, submitted the glued-up ticket and tried to claim a $100,000 prize.

From what I understand, the ticket was made of construction paper, with pictures of cows and horsies pasted on with Elmer’s Glue-All. It worked about as well as their former attempt to use a Magic Marker to fill in the third “7” on a slot-machine near-miss.

These guys should have gone to CES before planning their caper. They could have implemented at least some rudimentary technology to create their bogus lottery tickets.

And as a bonus, they could have gotten something to tell them when to go to the bathroom. And to complete the picture: internet vibrators!

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.