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Robot kitties and smart trash cans are getting buzz at CES 2020

LAS VEGAS — On the eve of the world’s largest consumer technology show in Las Vegas, reporters roamed a giant conference center full of booths featuring tech products ranging from fertility trackers to robots and high-tech cosmetics.

Ahead of CES 2020, tech companies gave reporters a glimpse into this year’s lineup at the “CES Unveiled” event on Sunday. It’s a chance to see what themes and trends could dominate the show this year.

The event featured aspiring startups and established brands showing off quirky, innovative and sometimes downright strange concepts. While some of these products have a launch date, others will never actually hit the market.

But it’s not the only preview of what’s to come: In the days and weeks leading up to CES, companies started announcing their latest gadgets and innovations to help drum up excitement.

Here are the highlights of what’s been announced so far:

A TV that rotates to play vertical videos

Samsung is betting on a unique concept specifically with smartphone users in mind. The company unveiled its new Sero TV, featuring a display that rotates vertically from landscape mode.

Samsung hopes it will appeal to Millennials looking to watch the videos they consume on social media or record on their smartphones on a much bigger screen.

The 4K TV looks like a standard horizontal model, but when you press a button, the orientation of the display switches — similar to what happens on a mobile device.

Food shopping based on your DNA

DnaNudge is offering consumers a novel way to make healthier choices when grocery shopping by basing it on their DNA.

The concept: At the supermarket, customers take a DNA test on the spot via a saliva swab. Then using a wearable band, they can scan food products in the store to see what’s best for them based on their genetic makeup. For example, if the results showed a number of genes that are associated with high cholesterol and high blood pressure, the company predicts that person’s health could be highly affected by excess salt in their diet, so dry roasted peanuts wouldn’t be a healthy snack choice for them.

The band also monitors the person’s physical activity — or lack thereof — and will update its food recommendations accordingly.

The UK-based company has been testing the concept in London since November 2018 and is launching in the United States this year.

The company also takes steps to protect user privacy. For example, when the DNA test is finished, the cartridge containing the sample is completely destroyed.

A trashcan that ties up its own garbage

While the Townew trashcan won’t walk your garbage outside or throw it down your apartment’s trash chute, it does tie up the bag when it’s full and puts a new one in its place.

Users push a button on the trash can, and it automatically seals the bag and opens the lid so you can remove it. It also has an overload feature that detects when it can’t take on any more trash. The bin lifts its top compartment to catch any overfill and prevent spills.

It’s available for purchase online in white or teal for $99.95.

Alexa in the shower

Good news for people who enjoy singing in the shower: Kohler announced a new showerhead with a smart speaker and Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built in.

It’s no surprise that Alexa is heading to the shower. The voice assistant is already present in nearly every product imaginable — from microwaves to clocks and cars.

Kohler is debuting other bathroom tech this year, too. Besides the Moxie showerhead, the company is also featuring its latest Numi intelligent toilet and a digital shower system that lets you remotely start a shower or bath from an app.

Here kitty, kitty

CES is always full of robots of all kinds — from one that makes bread to Sony’s Aibo dog and Buddy the companion robot. This year features a robotic pet cat called MarsCat, developed by startup Elephant Robotics.

CES is always full of robots of all kinds — from one that makes bread to Sony’s Aibo dog and Buddy the companion robot. This year features a robotic pet cat called MarsCat, developed by startup Elephant Robotics.

The bionic feline can walk, stretch, play with toys, avoid obstacles and bite its nails. It can also recognize human faces and knows 20 commands and phrases, including “sit” and “come here.”

Mars’ personality develops based on its interactions with humans, and it reacts differently depending on where it’s petted.

If cats aren’t your thing, enter companion robot Lovot, who was a hit at CES Unveiled. It’s cute, colorful and loves to give hugs or be picked up. Plus, with the camera on top of its head, Lovot moonlights as a home monitoring system.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane … it’s a half-bike, half-plane?

The Manta5 Hydrofoil Bike is part bike and part plane.

The e-bike is designed to mimic cycling, but on water — and it has a fully waterproof battery and motor. The product has been in development for eight years but got some buzz after Manta5 demonstrated a prototype version in 2017.

Now, the New Zealand-based company said it’s ready to launch the bike and introduce it in the United States.

An egg-shaped Segway

The Segway S-Pod is designed for enclosed spaces like airports and malls. It can go up to 24 miles per hour, and passengers can control the speed with a knob.

Segway said the pod balances on its own, and it doesn’t need passengers to physically lean forward and back to speed up or slow down.

The S-Pod is the “first step” in Segway’s goal of offering new transportation options to cities, according to the company.

Tech for your teeth

The Oral-B iO electric toothbrush features a sensor to let users know they’re brushing too hard or just right.

The accompanying app guides users through a two-minute brushing session and offers insights, such as tracking to ensure users are cleaning all areas of the mouth. It will be available in August 2020.

Meanwhile, Colgate introduced a new toothbrush with technology that detects biofilm buildup in the mouth and removes it while brushing. It also notifies users when they need to brush longer in one area of their mouth. A light ring around the toothbrush will turn blue when buildup has been found. A white light displays when teeth are clean.

The Colgate toothbrush will launch later this year.

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