The kookiest tech at MWC 2017 comes from startups

From cute robots to a composite phone, we check the coolest and craziest tech from the startup world at the 4YFN show at Mobile World Congress.

Katie Collins
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
1 of 10 Katie Collins/CNET

Get ready for some seriously kooky tech at 4YFN -- that's shorthand for "4 years from now." The event shows off the best startups of Mobile World Congress, going on in Barcelona this week. CNET headed to the show and here's some of the coolest stuff we saw:

PiBo is a companion robotic from South Korean company Circulus. This little bot is a friend, an announcer, a calendar, a photographer, a musician and a security guard all in one. It's programmable using the Scratch coding language, and the little interchangeable modules in its head contain different sensors for different occasions.

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German company CarbonWorks has made a phone from composite materials that weighs 107g and is a mere 4.6mm thick. CarbonWorks also claims it is hella tough -- three times stronger than an average phone, in fact. It's available for limited preorder now and will start shipping in March 2017.

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Jooki is a kid-friendly speaker that is controlled by cute little figurines. Each model can be configured to play music or stories using a companion app on a parent's phone. All your little nipper needs to do is pop the figurine on top of the speaker and it will start to play. The app also lets you set time and volume limits, and record stories or messages from your phone to send directly to the speaker.

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The Doobit is a hand-sanitizing wearable that sits on your wrist and buzzes every 30 minutes to remind you to wash your mucky paws. At the touch of a button, the Doobit will release a puff of sanitizing spray that you can rub into your hands. The removable modules each last up to three days. It won't be for everyone, but we can see it being especially useful for hospital workers.

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Ever wanted to try your hand at beekeeping, but didn't fancy putting on one of those crazy suits? South Korean company Nature Fractal is here to help with a smart hive designed to make honey production less stressful for bees and much easier for people. Sensors inside the hive will let you check on conditions and honey production from your phone. The hive also contains technology that extracts the honey for you.

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This laptop might look like your bog-standard notebook, but wait! Don't click away just yet. The Sentio Superbook is a plug-and-play device that has no CPU or storage of its own, instead relying on those in your Android phone. Plug your handset in and enjoy desktop-style productivity with multiwindow support, while simultaneously charging your phone off its battery. Sentio boasts that its invention is the most-funded hardware Kickstarter ever, scoring $3.5 million in presales.

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From a distance we thought the Secret 810 Ionzyme mask was a freaky robot. On closer inspection it turned out to be a thing you put on your own face. The idea is that you don the connected beauty mask and through an app can control the accupressure to massage your face. It's supposed to resolve "whitening, tightening and wrinkle decline." Also a great option for Halloween.

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The MysteryVibe Crescendo vibrator has six motors that can each be controlled individually from an app. It's super bendy so can be contorted into multiple shapes to suit women and couples, and it's crafted from silky high-grade silicone. Later this year we will see a model with Alexa-compatible sensors that will link the vibrator to your lighting -- if that's your thing -- and another model designed especially for men. It comes with a wireless charger and fancy carry pouch.

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Bonnect's Feedi Baby bottle dock fits 80 percent of baby bottles on the market and allows you to record and analyze how much your baby is eating. The companion app allows you to cross-check your baby's diet with its growth, preventing overfeeding.

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Jomo is a wearable badge that displays graphics on its 4K screen. Pin it on your chest and let it do all the talking for you. With a 12-hour battery life and a magnetic fixing, each badge can store up to 100 images. It's primarily designed for sales, marketing and events staff, but it's a fun piece of kit for anyone who loves tech.

Check out the rest of our Mobile World Congress coverage.

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