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CES 2018 Day 3 roundup: From huggable robots to exercise bike desks

CES 2018 moved into high gear on the third day of the popular tech convention, which meant spending a lot of time on the crowded showroom floors of the Las Vegas Convention Center exploring new wares from companies around the world.

On the audio front, one of the major themes this year was waterproofing, which included a slew of waterproof Bluetooth speakers from companies such as Sony (SNE), JBL, Altec Lansing, and House of Marley. Sony, for instance, unveiled three new “party” speakers with a heavy emphasis on bass sound, ranging from $100 to $250. Meanwhile, JBL announced its waterproof Clip 3 Bluetooth speaker, which has better audio than the last model. The speaker also has an echo and noise-canceling feature for folks who want to pair the Clip 3 with their smartphones and make phone calls.

In the headphones department, Danish company Libratone released the slick-looking (and feeling) Track+ Wireless In-Ear Earphones with adjustable noise cancellation for those who prefer wireless BeatsX-style earbuds for fitness sessions. As with Libratone’s earlier models, you have four levels of cancellation that dictate how much outside sound gets in: You can let in a lot of sound if you’re running outside, or shut it out completely if you’re commuting on a noisy train. You can also use its microphones to amplify outside sound if you want to hold a conversation. Pretty neat.

One of the more memorable items to emerge from the day was decidedly one of the most low-tech: an exercise bike desk from Chinese company Loctek. While standing desks, and even treadmill desks, have become popular in more recent years, there may also be a niche market for Loctek’s product, given SoulCycle’s popularity.

On the automotive side, Honda (HMC) unveiled the adorable 3E-A18 robot, which has a digital face that can smile, shed tears, even doze off, and rolls around on one wheel to move. You can even hug its rubber-like body — something my colleague Dan Howley did, confirming its huggability. Honda envisions the A18 as a guide at airports and shopping malls.

Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley gives Honda’s 3E-A18 robot a hug.

Meanwhile, the Toyota (TM) Concept-i is a self-driving car that uses artificial intelligence to recognize your emotions and adjust your experience in the car, accordingly. So, if you’re feeling stressed, it will lean your seat back, play soothing music and actually start massaging your back.

Popular audio maker Harman Kardon also showed off Moodscape — a mix of new technology that analyzes your “energy level,” or mood, and syncs up with your calendar schedule and current location to pipe out a mix of music and sounds that lead up to whichever meeting or appointment you have lined up next. A so-called “MoodRoof” uses a QLED screen to display different landscapes based on your mood and where you’re going.   

Futuristic as that may sound, today’s highlights are just a fraction of what CES 2018 has to offer. Check back in with Yahoo Finance throughout this week for more of our coverage from the largest tech conference on earth.

JP Mangalindan is the Chief Tech Correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Email story tips and musings to jpm@oath.com. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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