Smart devices on offer from really smart tech firms
From a tiny robot that strikes a pose when you point a camera at it, to earbuds that can translate languages, here are five eye-catching devices on display at the Mobile World Congress trade fair, which opened on Monday in Barcelona, Spain:
1. SMARTPHONECONTROLLED LIGHT BULB
Want to dim the lights in your living room but don’t feel like getting up from the sofa?
China’s Xiaomi, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker, presented a new connected light bulb – the Mi LED Smart Bulb – which lets users control light colour and brightness via an app on their phones or Amazon’s voice-controlled assistant Alexa.
2. ROBOT COMPANION
South Korean robotics company Torooc turned heads with its tiny companion robot called Liku which walks and expresses emotions like a human with its large eyes.
The robot, just 0.5m tall and weighing 1.1kg, has a forehead camera that allows it to pick up on our cues to strike up a rapport.
If you walk into a room and greet Liku, it will tilt its head towards you, make eye contact and smile.
Its cartoon-like eyes can express “emotions” including surprise, happiness and sadness, or appear to be sleeping.
If you point a camera at it, Liku will smile and strike a stylish pose with its arms and legs – even when you take a selfie with it.
The company plans to start shipping the robot early next year. It is priced at about $2,500 (about R34,600).
3. DOG HEALTH MONITORING HARNESS
Spanish startup Dinbeat presented a harness for dogs dubbed the DinbeatPRO, which uses sensors to monitor breathing, body temperature, barking activity level and body position.
The harness was specifically designed to be used by veterinarians treating dogs that have been admitted to hospital.
4. LAVVIEBOT FOR TOP CATS
Going on holiday and have no one to look after your cat?
South Korean startup PurrSong displayed an automatic litter box called the LavvieBot which auto-cleans and auto-refills.
After your cat does its business inside the machine and has walked off, LavvieBot noiselessly pushes a rake through the litter before hurling a few handfuls of clean litter in the box.
5. TRANSLATION EARBUDS
The Netherlands-based startup Travis presented small earbuds that can translate conversations between people speaking different languages in real time.
The Artificial Intelligence powered device synchs to computing in the cloud to translate any combination of 105 languages.
You can select the two languages using your voice and then just start to speak.
You will hear the translated voice almost immediately via the earbuds.