3. Lassie, the automated dog toilet
Inubox sounds like an email inbox cleaning app, but it meets a more down-to-earth need: this Texas company has found a way to detect when a dog has left a deposit. The shelf on the business end of the system automatically closes, dumps the waste matter in a sand box, and seals it in a bag. It has a “remote configurable process, so it’s active when you are not there”. Oh, and it gives the dog a treat when its done. Well, if humans can have a smart toilet, why not dogs?
4. Smart Pepper Spray
Many traditional gadgets can benefit from automated operation. Pepper spray is not one of those. That didn’t stop Swedish start-up Plegium from releasing the world’s first Smart Pepper Spray at CES 2019.
Don’t take our word for it. This is what Plegium says:
“It’s a pepper spray that connects to your phone. When you fire the pepper spray, your phone immediately and automatically sends a text message with your location to your emergency contacts. On top of that, your emergency contacts receive an automatic phone call informing them that you are in danger.”
In practice, text messages are sent to your emergency contacts with a Google Maps link showing your location, and a voice informs them that you are in danger.
Not only that, but it is also equipped with a 130 dB siren and triple strobe LEDs. The siren is “tuned for maximum penetration” and “strobe-blinking (19 times-per-second) disorients the attacker” as well as helping you aim in the dark. Ominously, “all functions activate simultaneously when you fire the Smart Pepper Spray”.
In other words, when it is activated, all hell breaks loose. Which is great if it’s being used in an emergency. However, activate it by accident, and you will have some explaining to do to friends, neighbours, law enforcement authorities and all the pets in the area.
To be fair, used correctly, this is probably the single most useful product launched at CES this year. However, it also encapsulates the fine line between high-tech triumph and disaster.
Click here to read the first instalment of “useless gadgets at CES”.
Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee