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From Web-Controlled Gardens to Sleep Monitors: 12 of CE Week's Craziest Gadgets


The Consumer Electronics Week show in New York hosts some start-ups with bizarre ideas that just might work.

Self-watering Web-controlled gardens. A special sleep monitor that can suggest a personalized schedule to fit your biorhythms. A baseball cap that uses your bones to conduct sound. These were just a few of the crazy innovations spotted at the Consumer Electronics Week (CE Week) showcase in New York.

CE Week is a younger (and local) sibling to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world's largest event of its kind held each January in Las Vegas. While most companies stash their fanciest product announcements until CES in mid-winter, CE Week is still a worthy event to visit, especially if you're excited about huge TV screens, car electronics, speakers, headphones, and smartphone cases and similar accessories.

However, there are way less obvious inventions hiding around many corners. Some may be one-day wonders while others just might evolve into the next big thing – who knows?

Bitponics: A Web-Controlled Garden

If Bitponics gets off the ground, you'll soon be able to take care of your plants remotely. A $499 box provides all the necessary sensors (temperature, humidity, pH, etc.) and automation (to control the lamp or the watering pump) in order to take care of your garden remotely from any device. Just place the box within range of your Wi-Fi network. The product will be made available this summer.

The basic Bitponics Cloud Web service, which stores all your garden data, is free, but you'll have to pay $9 per month, or even up to $49 per month for additional services, so serious gardening comes at a price. Also note that the base $499 box doesn't include lamps or pumps or garden accessories – only the control device and sensors. The creators said they may introduce a full gardening starter set at some point.

Intelligent Bike-Share

So you know what Citi Bike is all about, but how about setting shared bicycles free from those bike-rack prisons? Social Bicycles uses mobile networks to lock and unlock bicycles (all the interaction happens on the Web), meaning you can lock them to any bike stand available.

Its creators say that rack-free social bicycles might bring great value to small communities, towns, and even companies. A bike sells for $1,000-1,500.

Founded in 2010 in Brooklyn, Social Bicycles still cannot boast a wide network of adopters. With additional venture capital funding secured in May, the company plans to expand its presence. Now you can experience the smart bikes in five locations across the US, from Hoboken, NJ, to the San Francisco Airport, with more places to come.
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