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Walking Cars And Face ID For Cats: The Coolest Gadgets From The World’s Biggest Electronics Expo

From cars with legs to wearable airbags, technology companies are showing off their latest innovations at CES 2019.

CES 2019: The Hyundai Elevate

It’s CES week — the time when tech journalists from around the world travel to Las Vegas to inspect the newest cohort of gadgets designed to set their nerd hearts aflame. The Consumer Electronics Show is an opportunity for the biggest names in the business to strut their stuff and get us excited about the latest developments in home electronics. It’s also an opportunity for tech companies to get creative, and sometimes a little silly.

Many of the gadgets at CES are designed to offer some convenience. Some solve a problem, no matter how small it is. Some are just plain fun. Here are a few of the coolest, weirdest, more interesting devices on display this year.

B’Safe, An Airbag Vest

Not being content to restrict itself to heavy machinery, airbag manufacturer Helite is branching out in its quest to cushion people from injury. Their latest product B’Safe is an airbag vest for cyclists. According to Helite, B’Safe will automatically inflate when its sensors detect a fall, and then slowly deflate allowing you to reuse it — as demonstrated by the exhibitors in bright yellow vests repeatedly falling off bikes on the showroom floor. This invention is worth it just for that visual.

Helite also showed off Hip’Safe, an airbag belt for elderly people. This was revealed at last year’s CES, but I still feel it deserves a mention because the mere concept sparks joy.

The BreadBot, An Automated Bakery

You’ll never have one of these in your home, but you’re going to want to. Designed for grocery stores, The Wilkinson Baking Company’s BreadBot makes 10 loves per hour, letting customers get their hands on their bread less than an hour after it is baked.

I love this bot. It’s a well-known fact that everything is better when it comes out of a vending machine, and freshly baked bread was already the best thing before sliced bread. Putting the two together sounds like awesome. Also, the smell of fresh bread just makes me happy.

The Hyundai Elevate, A Car With Legs

Every year the dream of owning Howl’s Moving Castle becomes more attainable. This year at CES, Hyundai has unveiled a design concept for the Hyundai Elevate — a four-legged drive.

Featuring a quartet of wheeled legs, the Elevate will be able to travel in any direction as well as traverse rocky terrain, all while keeping passengers level. Hyundai claims it will also be capable of stepping over a 1.5m gap and climbing a 1.5m wall. You won’t have to worry about fitting into undercover car parks either, as the legs are retractable.

The Hyundai Elevate is designed to serve as an emergency response vehicle, though in a press release Hyundai vice president John Suh proposed that it could also be used for things such as helping people in wheelchairs bypass stairs (we’ll ignore that this would probably require driving on the pavement). I imagine doing work on the underside of the Elevate would also be a bit easier than for other cars.

Mookkie, A Pet Bowl With Facial Recognition

CES gadget Mookkie

As much as we love our pets, we must acknowledge that some of us own gluttonous little beasts. I have heard many a tale of a furry friend scoffing down food that does not belong to them, leaving their sad siblings hungry and meowing.

Pet bowl Mookkie seeks to restore order to dinnertime with the use of a camera and AI. When Mookkie’s camera detects a nearby animal, it uses facial recognition to determine whether the creature is the one registered to the bowl. If it is, a flap over the bowl will open, giving your pet access to the food inside. The Mookie is scheduled to be released in September, and will cost USD$189.

The LG Signature OLED TV R, A Roll-Up TV

The future has arrived, folks. LG has unveiled a 65-inch television that rolls up like a yoga mat and stores itself in a soundbar-sized speaker box when not in use, so it doesn’t block your pristine ocean view while you recline in bed, sipping your $20 kale smoothie and enjoying your perfectly KonMaried Sydney apartment.

According to LG, the LG Signature OLED TV R has three modes: Full View, Line View and Zero View. Full and Zero view are exactly what they sound like — the screen fully unrolled or completely within its box (though music can still be played). Line View partially unrolls the screen, so you can check the time and weather or view photos.

Of all the gadgets in this list, this television is the one I’d most like to actually own. It looks like something you’d have if you lived in a Black Mirror episode.

The Elvie Pump, A Wearable Breast Pump

Being a parent is an endless exercise in trying to keep a small, irritable human alive while keeping your bigger, irritable self from going spare. I do not have a child but I do have a younger sister and a dog, so I can sympathise. To assist in this endeavour, the Elvie Pump is designed to run silently while fitting inside a lactating person’s bra. This allows them to continue going about their business while quietly extracting liquid from their mammaries.

It may feel a little weird going out in public while a hidden gadget sucks away your nipple, regardless of whether it makes a sound or not, but parents have many things to do and limited hours to do them. Being able to pump on the go means time that would otherwise be dedicated to draining boobs dry can be used for things such as well-deserved sleep. The Elvie Pump will be available in the US in February — no word yet about Australia.

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire, The First Electric Harley

Some may say that the whole point of owning a Harley is to enjoy the powerful vroom vroom sound that only a petrol-powered engine can provide. To that I say: Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle sounds like a Star Wars speeder, and if you don’t think that is the coolest thing in the world you can get out of my face.

Though we’ve known about Harley-Davidson’s first electric motorcycle for a while, the Harley-Davidson LiveWire‘s pricing and availability have just been announced at CES. The LiveWire will run people USD$29,799, with US pre-orders arriving in their autumn (so Australia’s spring). Global availability will be announced at a later date.

According to Harley-Davidson, the LiveWire accelerates from 0 to 95km/h in 3.5 seconds, and can travel around 177km on a single charge. It also claims to produce minimal heat and vibration, and requires no clutch or gear shifting. It also has app connectivity, because of course it does. Are you really a tech product in 2019 if you don’t have an app?