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(Stephan Sorkin, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Johnny Wood, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • CES 2020 is a global showcases for technology and consumer goods.
  • The Las Vegas show features things from wearable tech to food innovations.
  • Highlights include a virtual sun visor, an anti-theft mailbox system, and a lamp to help people with dyslexia.

A sit-down Segway resembling something from the movie Wall-E; a robot that delivers toilet paper; and a thought-operated TV remote control are a few of the eye-catching inventions unveiled at this year’s CES 2020 expo.

 

The technology and consumer goods event, held in Las Vegas, features every sort of gadget and gizmo, ranging from wearable tech to voice-activated taps.

Here are 10 of the many clever, cool and quirky inventions from this year’s show.

1. Segway’s mobile chair

Resembling an armchair on two wheels, this comfy mobile seat takes the Segway concept one step further, allowing the rider to travel seated as opposed to standing.

The self-balancing, egg-shaped S-Pod vehicle, which runs on battery power, presents a new way to get around enclosed facilities such as theme parks, universities or airports. But it would offer a nail-biting – and in some countries illegal – ride if used on public roads.

2. A virtual sun visor

A virtual sun visor.
Image: Bosch

Aiming to redesign conventional pull-down sun visors that have been a common feature of car interiors for many years, German manufacturer Bosch has launched a virtual visor.

A transparent screen sits in place of the usual visor. Using facial recognition technology to locate the driver’s eyes, the device casts a shadow over this area to prevent the sun’s glare obscuring the view of the person at the wheel.

3. A smart mailbox to prevent package thefts

The exponential growth in online shopping has had the unfortunate side-effect of presenting opportunities to thieves looking to steal deliveries left on the doorstep.

The Parcel Guard is a smart mailbox designed to prevent packages from being taken. An anti-theft slot allows small parcels to be securely dropped off; for larger items, the box can be opened using a secure code, operated by an app, which also allows homeowners to chat to the delivery driver. A sensor camera records deliveries as they are made.

4. A light to assist people with dyslexia

The Lexilight lamp radiates pulses of light which correct distortions in cell patterns in the eyes to relieve dyslexia and make it easier to read.

People without dyslexia have a dominant eye which sends visual information to the brain, whereas in dyslexic people, both eyes send information, which can lead to confusion when reading. The company behind the lamp says it will work for 90% of people who have dyslexia.

5. A new kind of delivery package

A new kind of delivery box?
A new kind of delivery box?
Image: Living Packets

Could Living Packets’ The Box offer a solution to the growing volume of packaging materials used in parcel deliveries? Eliminating the need for cardboard, plastic and other materials, customers can receive products in protective boxes, which can be used again and again.

If customers have nothing to send, the foldable boxes can be stored for later use or returned to a participating outlet for a small credit.

And that’s not all. The shipping version will be fitted with GPS tracking, temperature and humidity sensors and an inward facing camera to monitor the contents.

6. A solar-powered tricycle

The solar powered tricycle.
The solar powered tricycle.
Image: Wello.

Cyclists using bike lanes may soon be joined by tricycles capable of speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour.

Manufacturer Wello has designed a three-wheeler fitted with a lightweight cover containing a solar panel, which protects the rider from the weather while charging the vehicle. The result is somewhere between a bicycle and a single-seater electric car.

No driving licence is required to ride the trike, as it relies on a mix of pedal-power and solar energy. The battery has a range of 100km, and Wi-Fi connectivity allows the vehicle’s location to be tracked.

7. The robot toilet assistant

Designed to assist people in their moment of greatest need, the RollBot is a quirky android that delivers that much-needed roll of toilet paper.

The two-wheeled robot can be summoned with a Bluetooth-connected smartphone, and autonomously navigates to its owner to deliver an extra roll. Although the device could make bathroom visits less stressful, manufacturer Procter & Gamble has yet to announce if the device will go on sale.

8. A mind-controlled TV remote

TV controlled by your mind.
TV controlled by your mind.
Image: NextMind

Could video game controllers or TV remote controls become redundant as tech manufacturers turn their attention to brain-computer interfaces?

NextMind is a headset fitted with sensors that monitor electrical pulses in the wearer’s brain. By tracking activity in the visual cortex, the device translates brain waves into real-time digital commands, allowing the wearer to change TV channels, turn up the volume, or control video game characters simply by concentrating on objects on the screen.

9. An instant drinks chiller

Do you have a warm beverage that you want cold in a hurry? The Juno chiller might be just the thing you’re looking for. Using thermoelectric cooling technology, the table-top device is said to chill a bottle of wine to just above freezing in under five minutes, and canned drinks in fewer than two minutes.

Although it’s not yet available, the technology could have a multitude of uses, as vending machine operators would no longer need expensive cooling units, for example, and hotels could replace costly in-room minibar fridges with chiller units.

10. Plant-based pork

From gadgets to food, as culinary creatives Impossible Foods revealed their latest plant-based substitute meat offering.

Following the launch of meat-free beef burgers at 2019’s show, this year saw the arrival of Impossible Pork. The range includes sausage and ground varieties, made of a plant molecule called heme, which is free from gluten, animal hormones and antibiotics.

The company, which won the 2019 United Nations Global Climate Action Award, says its plant-based burgers require up to 96% less land and 87% less water to produce than its meat equivalent.