Bluff The Listener Our panelists tell three stories about a surprising new device unveiled at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, one of which is true.

Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists tell three stories about a surprising new device unveiled at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, one of which is true.

BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis, and we're playing this week with Paula Poundstone, Brian Babylon and Amy Dickinson. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. Right now it's time for the WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME Bluff The Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME.

SHARON SCHMIDT: This is Sharon. I'm calling you from the Rogue Valley of Oregon. And I am close to Ashland where I hear you were just recently a guest.

SAGAL: I was. I was in Ashland. I was there seeing shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival which was just wonderful.

SCHMIDT: Very cool, very cool. I understand Paula Poundstone is coming out here soon, too.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: I am. I think I'm in Medford, maybe.

SCHMIDT: I think you are.


SAGAL: Can I say, I'm delighted to hear from you, but it's creepy how much you know about us.

SCHMIDT: It's good. It's good.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, really.

SAGAL: Sharon, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Sharon's topic?

KURTIS: It's amazing, but what does it do?

SAGAL: So the Consumer Electronic Show that is wrapping up right now in Las Vegas - it's the highlight of the year for dorks everywhere. It's where amazing and ultimately useless products get unveiled to consumers and we, of course, will buy them all anyway. But we read about a surprising new gadget that debuted at the show this week. Guess the real one, and you'll win Carl Kasell's voice in your voicemail. First up, let's hear from Amy Dickinson.

AMY DICKINSON: Over the years, many useless products that nobody wants have been introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show, like fitness trackers, green energy innovations and, of course, the smart phone itself. And now a brilliant innovator is using technology to forever change the way we hold up our pants. I bring you Belty, the so-called smart belt. The concept behind Belty is complex and futuristic. The buckle and corresponding strap either expands or contracts depending on how much food you've consumed and how much exercise you've done. Before Belty, Americans simply had to suffer with synch-like apparatus holding up their pants. And as they get fatter, people molded themselves into sausage shapes until they eventually exploded.


DICKINSON: Belty grows as you grow. It's almost encouraging you to gorge yourself, sitting there around your gut, saying eat, papa, eat.


SAGAL: Belty, the smart belt.

DICKINSON: (Singing) Belty.

SAGAL: Oh, we've already got the theme song. Very good, Amy - that knows when to expand based on your eating and exercise habits. Your next story of technological innovation comes from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: If you think it's easy to hail down a cab, try being a black man.


BABYLON: This is where the Bigot Buster can help. It's a new device at this year's Consumer Electronics Show that promises to trick cabdrivers into stopping for black men.


BABYLON: You wear it around your wrist like a watch or some fancy handcuffs. And when you need to catch a cab, you just press a button, and it projects an incredibly realistic hologram of a white woman trying to get to cab.


BABYLON: Designer Ben Calhoun told the Chicago Tribune, quote, the hologram looks just like a real white woman holding a 2-year-old kid who's holding a puppy.


BABYLON: What cabdriver is going to ignore that? Admittedly, the trials of the prototype haven't gone so great. So far, Calhoun says, most cabdrivers slow down because they think you're trying to rob the white woman that's holding the toddler and the puppy.


BABYLON: Quote, I think it's time for us just to add a second puppy because people love puppies.


SAGAL: A device for black men to help them catch a cab by projecting the image of a white woman with a baby and a puppy. Your last story of a new gizmo comes from Paula Poundstone.

POUNDSTONE: What tech taketh away, tech giveth back - sort of. Many computer, slash, tablet, slash, smart phone users have lost, or never developed, social skills. One-on-one conversation has become a common fear. Speak by Intuitive Tech Incorporated aims to correct that problem. Speak tells the user what to say. The user wears an earpiece and a computerized programmable bracelet with which they select from a menu of settings where they might be in conversation and relationships of whom they might be in conversation with - fellow employee, boss, casual stranger, et cetera. The bracelet reads the pulse of the user and based on pulse, setting and relationship, it identifies the feelings of the user and tells them, through the headpiece, exactly what to say. Conversation prompts for potential romantic interest seems to be driving the most consumer traffic to the device. Common conversation prompts are I feel scared.


POUNDSTONE: I find you quite attractive. I've never talked to a woman without my smart phone before.


POUNDSTONE: Except when my mother cleaned my room. And then I have my computer. Designer Rusty Frank uses the device herself. When asked how she felt about it's success, however, she said, hold on, I have to put this thing in my ear.


SAGAL: All right.



SAGAL: If you were walking the floor of the CES in Vegas this week you would've seen one of these. Was it from Amy Dickinson, Belty, the smart belt that knows when to unbuckle when you've had a big meal? From Brian Babylon, a projector for black men to help them catch a cab? Or from Paula Poundstone, Speak, a device that tells socially awkward tech nerds what to say to other human beings? Which of these is a real device soon to be on the market?

SCHMIDT: I'm going to go with number one.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Belty?

SCHMIDT: With Belty, yes.

SAGAL: That would be Amy's story of the smart belt that expands and contracts without you needing to go to the trouble.

SCHMIDT: Yeah, I can see people buying that.

SAGAL: All right. We actually were able to speak to one of the people behind this amazing new gadget.

KC CASSILY: It will automatically loosen when you sit down or tighten when you stand up. If you eat a big meal, it also loosens to maintain that level of comfort.


SAGAL: Congratulations, you got it right. That was KC Cassily. She's the U.S. consultant for Emiota. That's the company that makes Belty, the new smart belt. Congratulations. You did get it right. But more importantly, you have won our game, and you will be going home, virtually, with Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail. So well done, congratulations.

SCHMIDT: Yay, oh, I'm so pleased..


DICKINSON: Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) Moving up baby. Moving up baby. And now throw your love on me.

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