FaceID… now for pets too.

Imagine this. You’ve got more than one pet. Probably a family of cats or dogs or both. You keep separate feeding bowls for each, but when you’re not around, there’s that one dastardly pet that dominates all those bowls. One pet that bullies the others and eats their food. That’s a problem, right? It’s not the most glamorous problem for technology and artificial intelligence to solve, but it’s a problem nevertheless.

Showcased at CES 2019 (and also a winner of the CES Innovation Award), Mookkie’s AI Pet Bowl takes up this unusually perplexing problem. What’s their solution? Facial recognition. The same technology that can lock and unlock smartphones now locks and unlocks the feeding bowl. A wide-angle lens captures the entire bowl as well as the animal approaching it. Artificial intelligence scans the face of the pet and determines whether it’s eaten or not. If it already has, the bowl promptly closes shut, much to the chagrin of your greedy pet… but if it’s said pet’s feeding time, the bowl opens up and lets them eat their meal. Multiple bowls work together to feed your pets, allowing only the ones who haven’t eaten to access their food, and it also allows you to see whether your pet’s eating well (if you’re the inquisitive kind). The AI behind Mookie works well enough to tell two pets apart even if they’re the same breed or a part of the same litter. Different bowls also allow you to segregate meals for your pets, given that different pets have different diets… plus the opening and closing lid makes sure that the food doesn’t gather dust or attract flies when your pet isn’t eating anymore. The Mookkie AI Pet Bowl also comes with Google Assistant support, allowing you to talk to your smartphone and give the bowl commands. Yep, we truly live in interesting times.

Designer: Mookkie

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Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot was my CES road trip companion

I love a good road trip. I've spent hundreds of thousands of miles in cars during my life, and the best times were when I knew it would be hours or even days before I reached my destination. Typically a friend (or friends) or family members would...

Lenovo’s ultraportable speaker is as slim and small as your phone

The Lenovo 700 Ultraportable Bluetooth Speaker is quite literally the most portable one ever. Most portable Bluetooth speakers are portable alright, but they aren’t slip-into-your-pocket portable. Audio drivers tend to have depth/thickness to them, resulting in speakers that may be small and lightweight, but are almost always chunky too, making them ideal for laptop bags, but not pant pockets.

Lenovo’s latest offering wants to be the kind of Bluetooth speaker you carry around with you, the way you carry your phone. Designed to be pretty much the same size as the phone you have, the Lenovo 700 slides right into most pockets with ease. At just 11mm thick, it’s probably the slimmest Bluetooth speaker to exist, and can fit into your pocket without you even noticing the difference. However, take it out and tap it against your phone and the Lenovo 700 becomes a speaker worth noticing. Built with NFC and Bluetooth 5.0, the speaker pairs with your device almost instantly when brought close to it, and a set of controls located on the base of the speaker grill let you toggle through your music and even answer and reject your calls.

Given that the Lenovo 700 is too thin to stand on its own and needs to be placed lying down, the speakers are built to push sound outward in 360°, rather than just upwards. This approach makes it easy to listen to your music no matter where you are in relation to the speaker. The speaker provides 8 hours of use on a completely charged battery (which takes two hours to charge to 100%), and even comes with an IPX2 rating, making it splashproof. Designed to be carried everywhere you carry your smartphone, the Lenovo 700 was made to be used both indoors and outdoors, at work or at home, and even be the speaker-of-choice to take to the gym or even the poolside.

The speakers were a part of Lenovo’s CES 2019 showcase, but are yet to be launched.

Designer: Lenovo

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After Math: How we survived CES 2019

As cleanup crews descend on the Las Vegas Convention Center and the events attendees reluctantly make their ways home, it's hard to believe that the weeklong technology expo is already over. We saw autonomous bread machines, self-driving semis, and e...