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DIGIMENTORS TECH TIP | Saramonic Blink Me Wireless Microphones: Here’s Looking at Me

Excerpted from the Feb. 11, 2024 edition of Sree's Sunday Note.

Las Vegas is all about the Super Bowl now, but a few weeks ago it was blanketed with countless electronic gizmos and technologies as CES, the consumer electronics mega-showcase, enveloped the city for a week. For 2024, the key words were “artificial intelligence” and there was no shortage of clever uses for the evolving technologies.

This year marked an attendance comeback for CES with more than 135,000 attendees filling the Las Vegas Convention Center and other venues, according to the Consumer Technology Association, which operates CES. No, it didn’t match the 170,000 from pre-pandemic CES 2020, but marked a significant improvement over the 115,000 that saw CES 2023.

Samsung saved its smartphone announcements for after CES, but in Las Vegas it highlighted its advances in AI, including a preview of a new version of Ballie, a rotund, rolling “AI home companion robot. The unit, about the size of a bowling ball, not only contains a camera, speaker and a microphone, but also incorporates a projector and can show movies or images on floors, ceilings or walls.

According to Samsung, Ballie uses AI to learn a user’s habits and patterns and can patrol a home on its own, sending notifications to a smartphone app as needed. In a video shown at Samsung’s CES press conference, the unit catches a dog making a mess and sends a notification to its owner, who then instructs Ballie to dispense food from a smart pet feeder.

However, like an earlier Ballie prototype shown in 2020, Samsung offered no details on the specifications of the unit, pricing or when it might become available.

Smart pet doors are nothing new, but AI can help your home from being the final resting place for “presents” brought home by the family cat. At CES, Switzerland-based Flappie Technologies, founded by twin brothers Denis and Oliver Widler, showed off Flappie, an AI-assisted cat door which incorporates “prey detection.”  

If your cat comes home with a dead bird, rodent or other “gift” in its mouth, Flappie’s camera will recognize the prey, send a notification to a smartphone app and keep the pet door locked. When the cat returns with nothing in its mouth, the door will open and lock as usual. The unit can read microchips, thus ensuring that only your cats can use the door.

According to the company, the AI-powered prey detection can recognize numerous breeds of cats and prey. The unit can keep a video record of a cat’s comings and goings, thus giving its owner insight into the cat’s behavior patterns. Flappie is expected to be available this spring first in Europe before making its way to the US, according to the company.

Watch this space for more coverage of products at technologies seen at CES 2024. My tech tips appear regularly in Sree's Sunday Note.

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