CES' weird and wonderful tech gadget wrap-up

CES' weird and wonderful tech gadget wrap-up
CES' weird and wonderful tech gadget wrap-up

At a big trade show like CES, there’s all sorts of weird and wonderful gadgets to look at from robotic laundry folders to headphones with a running coach inside. Here’s a few we’ve found.

My Special Aflac Duck is a robotic toy duck designed to help kids with cancer get through their treatments. It has touch sensitive cheeks and wings, and can cuddle or quack to help its user feel less scared. Kids can use an included set of emoji-printed discs to tell the duck how they are feeling, and a companion app can be customised with different environments to allow children some virtual time away from the hospital.

Segway’s new robot Loomo can be ridden like a hoverboard to a destination, be loaded with cargo, and follow you back home. It can be ridden like a hoverboard with familiar controls for anyone who’s ridden a Segway before - leaning forward to go forward, backwards to slow down. Loomo is voice activated, so once you’ve ridden it to your destination, the command “Loomo, transform” will turn the robot from hoverboard mode to robot mode. After Loomo is loaded with cargo, the command “Loomo, follow me” will have Loomo following you back home with baggage in tow.

Laundroid is a laundry folding robot that can fold a load of laundry using image sensors to recognise what sort of garment is inside. Laundroid debuted at last year’s CES, but an updated model is being shown this year with a sleeker design. Multiple robotic arms pick up your clothes and a neural network is used to match the clothing article with other images, allowing the device to know how to fold the clothing. After folding, Laundroid can sort garments by different categories, like who owns it or what sort of item it is.

Selfly is a phone case that hides a tiny camera-equipped drone inside for flying selfies. The Selfly can shoot 1080p video and is controlled with an app on your phone. It doesn’t carry your phone with it, but that’s probably for the best as the battery only lasts for four minutes. The Selfly will undoubtedly allow for unique angles and limited drone exploration, and it’s fairly inexpensive compared to many other offerings on the market coming in at around AUD$200.

Lastly, there has been quite a bit of wearable tech shown this year, but among the most interesting is a pair of smart shoes from French startup E-vone. The new shoes can alert emergency contacts or emergency services if they detect unusual movement or if you’ve fallen over. The shoes include GSM connectivity, GPS tracking and a gyroscope for sensing movement.

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