‘Smart’ potty or dumb idea?


‘Smart’ potty or another dumb idea?

LAS VEGAS (AP) — From the iPotty for toddlers to the 1,600-pound mechanical spider, the International CES show is a forum for gadget makers to take big — and bizarre — chances.

Many of the prototypes introduced at the annual gadget show over the years have failed in the marketplace. But the innovators who shop their wares here are fearless when it comes to pitching new gizmos.

Toilet training a toddler is no picnic, but iPotty from CTA Digital seeks to make it a little easier by letting parents attach an iPad to it.

This way, junior can gape and paw at the iPad while taking care of business in the old-fashioned part of the plastic potty.

IPotty will go on sale in March, first on Amazon.com.

A pair of giant hydraulic and lithium polymer battery controlled beasts from Canadian art organization eatART caught some eyes at the show.

A rideable 8-legged creature, Mondo Spider weighs 1,600 pounds and can crawl forward at about 5 miles per hour on battery power for roughly an hour. The 1,200-pound Titanoboa slithers along the ground at an as yet unmeasured speed.

Computer maker Lenovo sponsored the group to show off the inventions at CES.

Hugh Patterson, an engineer who volunteers his time to making the gizmos, said they were made in part to learn more about energy use. One lesson from the snake is that “side winding,” in which the snake corkscrews its way along the ground, is one of the most efficient ways of moving along soft ground, like sand.

Titanoboa was made to match the size of a 50-foot long reptile whose fossilized remains were dated 50 million years ago, when the world was 5 to 6 degrees warmer. The creature was built “to provoke discussion about climate change,” Patterson said.

The original version of Mondo Spider, meanwhile, first appeared at the Burning Man arts gathering in Nevada in 2006.

 

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