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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.

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Megan Wollerton
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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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