San Francisco (CNN Business)After three hours wandering through endless aisles of gadgets at CES, the world's largest consumer technology conference, the products start to blend together. Was this automated cat litter cleaner the same one we saw 20 minutes ago? How many internet-connected locks can the world possibly need?
Here's what I realized at CES this week:
1. We are tired
We are not getting our recommended seven to nine hours of sleep at night and are desperate for help. So much so that we are willing to stick wearables on our forehead, put on Bluetooth-connected headbands, or sleep on data-collecting mattresses filled with sensors — anything so long as it promises to tell us what we are doing wrong.
If it's too much screen time, the Umay Rest is an eye gadget that claims to undo the damage of smartphones with "thermal therapy." The Hupnos sleep mask, detects sleeping positions and vibrates to stop any snoring. If we'd rather wear something during the day, the Urgonight headband is advertised as training the brain to be better at sleep using neurofeedback. Or we can just duck into a nap pod like Procyon's Dream Box.
Me, I'd rather spoon with the Somnox sleep robot, a soft cushion that imitates a human breathing.
2. We want to be less stressed
We probably can't sleep because we are thinking about everything that gives us anxiety, like how we will pay for all these new devices.
3. We're too busy obsessing about our babies
We're likely stressed and sleep deprived because we're hovering over the baby all night to make sure she's OK. Here are some of the "smart" devices available to track their vitals: a swaddle, a chest band, a sticker, sock, and a onesie. There are also cameras that can track breathing from above, and cushions that send sleep patterns and vital signs to an app.
There's even a connected bottle that automatically logs how much milk she drinks, and multiple high-tech breast pumps to fill them up. Now instead of being stressed in the same room, you can obsess over your child's health while looking at apps.
4. We worry about messing up our older kids
Good news: When those babies grow up we can find new things to obsess over. Are they smart enough? Do they watch too much YouTube? Can the 5-year-old even code yet? Whatever our inadequacy as a parent, there is a gadget at CES that addresses it. The Den is a little vault for locking away kids' devices and setting timers for when they can access them. A Harry Potter coding kit comes with a wand and can prepare them for a job at Google. And there are multiple fluffy robots, like Woobo, that are billed as teaching the kids their ABCs and more.
5. We think gardening can help
6. We order out too much
The Instapot inspired a number of all-in-one kitchen gadgets that try their best to make cooking real food easier. The June is a smart oven that can bake, slow cook, toast, and dehydrate, and the Brava multi-tasking oven uses infrared light to cook. They all have internal cameras so we can live-stream what's cooking inside.
7. We don't have enough time for our pets
It is now possible to have a pet that you never see, even as you help it to live a long (if lonely) life. We can let the dog in the house through a Wagz pet door, which only opens when his collar is close, and give him food with an automated feeder controlled through an app. We can get in quality time with a Wi-Fi connected camera and remote snack dispenser, then make sure he gets exercise by making him chase a treat-holding robot around the floor. And when he needs to go to the bathroom, there's the Inubox smart toilet for dogs, a large device that automatically cleans up any messes they make, so long as they do it on the gadget's designated square.
And when the dog, starved for human interaction, runs away? We can find him thanks to tracking collars from companies like Dogness.
8. We can't find our keys
Losing keys is more understandable. Honestly, everyone should just go ahead and put a tracker on their keychain, it's genuinely helpful. Bluetooth tags like Cube or Chipolo track things that we know are somewhere in a 200-foot radius, maybe between sofa cushions or under the automatic dog feeder.
9. We are terrified of being robbed
10. We don't leave the house to go to the gym
11. Mostly, we still feel lonely
A companion robot doesn't judge; it just wants to be held. Small and fuzzy with giant eyes begging us to believe it cares, Lovot is just such a companion robot. It coos, it hugs, it follows us around and begs for attention. It's so adorable we can even overlook the giant camera mounted on its head like a top hat. Unlike the other gadgets at CES, Lovot doesn't have any practical purpose. It only wants to make us feel loved and to forget for a moment that we are overextended, stressed out and exhausted. Then again, that's what the dog was for. Maybe we should go watch him on the snack dispenser's camera again.