BERLIN – Now that we've had a few days to explore IFA 2015, we've learned that it's not all fancy smartphones and OLED TVs. IFA also plays host to a number of gadgets that run the gamut from unexpected to surprising to downright weird. From water-cooled notebooks to smart shoes, some of this tech may find a spot in your living room, and some of it may go the way of the Palm Pilot, but it'll all make you scratch your head and smile.
Slinging drinks may look easy in the movies, but ask any bartender, and you'll soon learn that real mixology takes a lot of precision and repetition. If you want to serve a mean mojito without muddling your way through vague cocktail cookbooks, you can try the MixStik: a Bluetooth LED apparatus that sits in a glass and connects to your smartphone. The MixStik displays different colored lights at various levels to show how much of an ingredient you should pour – green for lime juice and white for vodka, for example. With more than 100 drink recipes and the option to program more, the MixStik should keep even the most discerning imbibers in their cups.
MORE: The Best of IFA 2015
The Asus GX700 is the world's first water-cooled laptop, and while that's a fantastic idea (in theory), it also looks bizarre. This powerful gaming laptop hooks up to a water-cooling apparatus nearly as big as the machine itself, which helps ventilate the system and keep it cool by circulating water. Based on our hands-on, the system looks great, and should keep games running at peak efficiency, but if water-cooled laptops don't catch on, this one is going to look strange in hindsight.
A lot of stuff you carry is connected to Bluetooth: your phone, your fitness tracker, your headphones and maybe even your watch. If, however, you've neglected to connect your shoes, Digitsole can help. This unusual device is a smart insole that pairs with nearly any phone and nearly any footwear. Digitsole's primary purpose is to be a heated insole with programmable temperatures: perfect for outdoorsmen or those with circulatory conditions. However, as long as it's down there, it will also act as a pedometer and a calorimeter. Useful? Probably. Off the beaten path? Definitely.
Before IFA 2015, the last time I saw a Polaroid camera was at my grandma's house when I was growing up. Still, the plucky photo company wants to bring its signature instant photos into the digital age, and the Polaroid Snap is the latest tool in its arsenal. The Snap is a modest digital camera that can instantly print photos, just like Polaroid's existing Zip printer. At only $100, the Snap is a fun little point-and-shoot, and the ability to print photos at-will is what made Polaroid so popular in the first place. I never expected to see an honest-to-goodness Polaroid camera again, and yet here we are.
Furo-D Smart Ad Robot
You probably won't buy a Furo-D Smart Ad robot for your home, but you might start seeing them in public places before too long. This Korean robot features a solid, rotating chassis, a huge touchscreen interface and, most distinctively, a cheerful chibi face that follows you wherever you go. The Furo-D's gaze met mine while I interacted with it, and continued to look at me when I stepped to the side. While I admit to getting a few uncanny valley creeps, this device could be fantastically useful for travelers in new areas thanks to its multi-lingual interface and infinite patience for information requests. Just don't be surprised if they also try to sell you something.