Vegas-The CES trade show is powering up again in Vegas. Most of the biggest names in tech and stacks of start-ups you've never heard of will compete for attention over the next week.

Some products may launch new categories - past events presented a first look at video cassette recorders (VCRs), organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs and Android tablets. But many more will flop or never even make it to market.

One of the biggest developments at the last few CES expos has been Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant's rival efforts to extend their reach in the home and beyond.

Last year things peaked with an Alexa-activated toilet flush, but over the past 12 months manufacturers have developed voice-controlled "skills" or "actions" for more products, and in some cases embedded one of the virtual assistants outright.

For 2019, we're being promised tags that will let smart speakers tell you where your pet or TV remote is hiding, as well as Alexa/Google Assistant-controlled pianos, heart rate monitors, lawnmowers, motorcycle helmets and meditation lamps. That's not to say others aren't trying to muscle in.

Samsung is rumoured to be revealing a fresh Galaxy Home speaker powered by its smart assistant Bixby, and German start-up Autolabs will demo Chris - a virtual helper designed for use in cars. Several firms will also urge developers to get behind "open source" alternatives, in which neither of the two tech giants act as gatekeeper to the apps on offer.

For example, Volareo will show progress on a crowdfunded smart speaker that lets you buy Bitcoin and stream porn to your TV. Others will be pitching ways to drive the category forward.

So, for example, Elliptic Labs will demo a radar-like system that lets smart speakers detect their owners' approach. It suggests the tech could be used to trigger diary reminders or to make the speakers adjust their volume according to how close the person is.

Taking things one step further, Smart IoT Labs has Miranda - a kind of smart assistant for smart assistants that issues commands on your behalf to Alexa or Google based on your past behaviour, which sounds a bit bonkers.

Mui's creator says it follows "distraction-free" design principles by only lighting up when in use

And for consumers still wary about talking to their tech, Mui Lab has a "calmer" alternative. At first sight its product looks like a plank of wood, but when touched it lights up to provide a way to control Google's Assistant with swipes and presses rather than barked commands.