ShadeCraft Sunflower solar patio umbrella follows the sun at CES 2017

Hate having the sun in your eyes? ShadeCraft's robotic patio umbrella can help with that.

Megan Wollerton

Megan Wollerton

Senior Writer/Editor

Megan Wollerton covers renewable energy, climate change and other environmental topics for CNET. Before starting at CNET in 2013, she wrote for NBC Universal's DVICE (now SYFY). Megan has a master's degree from the University of Louisville and a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College, both in international relations. She is a board member of the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. When Megan isn't writing, she's planning far-flung adventures.

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Watch this: Watch this giant robotic arm shield the sun

I love being outside, but direct sunlight can be kind of annoying. Fortunately, Los-Angeles-based robotics startup ShadeCraft has come up with a seriously cool solution -- the Sunflower.

The Sunflower is an autonomous patio umbrella/shade that has a ridiculous amount of tech packed into it, all designed to keep you comfortable no matter the outdoor conditions. ShadeCraft says the Sunflower won't be ready until 2018, but here's a list of its promised smarts:

  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Solar-powered
  • Built-in security camera
  • Integrated lighting
  • Built-in sensors
  • Related SmartShade app for Android and iPhone

Check out all the smart home products at CES 2017 (so far)

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While we've seen all sorts of cool one-off products and ideas expand into bigger trends -- Amazon Echo, anyone? -- we haven't seen anything quite like Sunflower before. It certainly seems like a clever way to manage the sun, but we'll just have to see it for ourselves. We're tracking down Sunflower here at CES for hands-on photos and video, so check back soon.

Click here to find out what else is happening at CES 2017.

All the cool new gadgets at CES 2017

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