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gooey1.pngThere are times in life when you really do need an extra pair of hands, especially when you are holding your smartphone, Well a brand new gadget accessory aims to make your life a tad easier.

'goo.ey' which is the brainchild Sydney born entrepreneur Rachel Verghis is add on for your smartphone that enables you to stick your mobile on to smooth surfaces like windows, mirrors or even your fridge

The £15 Goo.ey which works with the iPhone 4 & 5, Samsung Galaxy S2, S3 & S4, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, iPad Mini and iPad (all generations) uses an adhesive polyurethane epoxy which you place on the back of your phone. Then when you push it against smooth surfaces it sticks tightly - until you pull it off that is. The rest of the time the material feels smooth to the touch.

So it could enable your phone to work more effectively as a sat nav in your car, attach to your fridge to help you to read a recipe or stick to your bathroom mirror so you can entertain yourself with a quick video while you clean your teeth.


Rubbee turns any bike into an electric cycle

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rubee.jpgI am a little torn. As much as I love cycling and the exercise it gives me I can't help but yearn for an electric bike for those moments when you want to take a bit of a break. I challenge anyone not to take a ride or two on the GoCycle and not be consumed with covetous thoughts.

So I kind of like the idea of a module that turns your existing bike into an electric one which is exactly what the Kickstarter funded Rubbee is.

The device hooks up to your bike and and then allows you go at up to 15 miles via its powered battery without you having to do anything.

Apparently simple to install (this is the main fault with many of its rivals) the Rubbee is 14 lbs, which I am sure you will notice if you are restoring to pedal power, and takes two hours to charge.

It comes in at a pretty reasonable (bearing mind how much electric cycles normally cost) £799.

marshall-fridge.jpgHere is possibly the most bonkers brand extension ever, Marshall, which as any proper rock star will tell you is the last name in go to 11 amps, has unveiled the Marshall Fridge.

Yep you did read that right. It is a fully functioning fridge decked out to resemble a good old Marshall stack.

And it does all the basics, like keep things cool in the fridge bit and frozen in the freezer. but the cool bit is that each time you open the fridge door a deafening celestial power-chord rings out.

Yours from Firebox for a penny shy of £400.

YO! Sushi's Robot Drone flying waiter

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yosushi.pngThis is really something else. In fact it had me checking the date to ensure that it wasn't from April 1st.

Anyway everyone's favourite Japanese food emporium YO! Sushi has unveiled the iTray, a flying robot that takes food directly to diners.

It sounds like its customised Drone quadrocopter - that one from Parrot I guess - which is remotely controlled with an iPad.

It is being used at the chain's Soho branch for when customers order one of the restaurant's new YO! Burgers.

Apparently the drone can travel up 25 miles per hour which brings a new meaning to the term fast food. It knows where to go as it is directed to the customer's table using its camera.

Worryingly for waiting staff it doesn't expect tips either.

The company says that if the iTray is a hit it will roll it out in other stores in coming months. There must be a shed load of health and safety issues to overcome, but at least this is a fun use for a Drone.

sky now box.pngA couple of big-ish announcements this morning from Sky TV. The satellite TV broadcaster/broadband provider has announced the imminent arrival of a new Sky+HD box, with integrated wireless facilities and a Now TV £10 box that enables viewers to watch on demand services.

The announcement of the new box was included in the company's financial results. The company said

"We will step up the roll-out of connected boxes across our base by offering a low-cost wireless connector to customers that have a Sky+HD box but haven't yet connected it to broadband," says Sky. "We will also launch a new WiFi-enabled Sky+HD box as standard from September, rolling it out to targeted groups of customers who don't yet have Sky+HD boxes.

As for the £10 Now TV box, it will enable viewers to watch the BBC iPlayer, Sky Sports and Sky Movies though at the time of launch not Netflix, Lovefilm or 4OD. Users will still have to pay to access the Sky channels - Sky Movies will cost £8.99 per month for three months (£15 after) and Sky Sports Day Pass is still £9.99 for 24 hours.

The company is fending off attacks on its services from all sides including ambitious plans from BT, Google's Chromecast gadget that was announced this week and smart TV upgrade gizmos like the Roku.

Are you concerned that your dog is looking a little on the chubby side? Well no worries because some enterprising New Yorkers and our pals at Kickstarter are coming to the rescue.

After fitness tracking devices for humans like Fitbit and Jawbone we may soon have a versions for dogs called FitBark. Basically it is a small wireless activity tracker for canines that fits on Fido's collar. It then monitors the dog's activities throughout the day and sends that data to your smartphone.

You can obviously optimise it to set targets for your dog an by inputting its age, breed and more.

For this wonderful gizmo to happen the company needs $35k on Kickstarter. The good news is that at the time of writing they have almost reached that goal.

The device, which is also waterproof and ruggedly built, is selling for $59 to the first 250 buyers on Kickstarter.

yanko-iwatch.jpg We are only months away from an almighty battle for the smart watch market. Apple is rumoured to be beefing up its iWatch team, Samsung is working on a similar device and Sony has been in the market for a while with its range of watches. Might however the smart watch be a small blip on the road to something more meaningful like smart textiles or maybe even smart implants?

We spoke to Oliver Stokes, Principle of Design and Innovation at agency PDD who has worked with a number of clients on wearables and new technologies and especially how humans can interact with them in a natural and seamless way. He has some forthright view as on smart watches but thinks the days when get 'chipped' might be a few years away yet.

Do you think there is going to be a market for smart watches? Or will they just be a intermediary device with a short shelf life?

The whole concept of the smart watch is an interesting one. We've seen previous attempts through products such as the LG GD910 or Sony LiveView SmartWatch, neither of which in my understanding have seen wide adoption. So it's unclear what a potential Apple or Samsung offer could bring that would inspire people to become more involved. It would seem that much of the functionality is focused on the device becoming effectively a second screen to your smart phone and that I believe is not sufficient, there has to be a greater insight to pull people in. Certainly if Apple were to launch a fully flexible, wrap around screen that we've seen in some hypothetical concept renders online then that might 'persuade' me to invest!


Do you think that there is a type of wearable gadget that will succeed in the long run?

I feel for true 'wearables' to succeed in any category we as consumers need something that is more naturally fitting with our bodies than a clunky box. The product should also be part of an eco-system that can provide sufficient value to us so we're not moved to forget it.

Explain why you think smart textiles will be more successful that wearable tech? Is it all about the fact that we have to wear clothes, but don't need to wear glasses or watches?

There is something more discreet about a smart textile compared to an object (Watch / Glasses). Therefore I could see this being an easier category to adopt for us consumers in the social context - if the garment / product is able to provide simple feedback, process tasks without being impacting others then that is potential a more compelling offer.

In the reality of today, an object that you need to interact with and is overt to others, such as Google Glass is really pushing people to rethink about their self-image / body language. We as humans are used to intuitively or through association understanding the cues of body language and interaction. Whether that is facial expressions or the tell-tale white cable that we've grown to associate with someone listening to music or talking hands free. We have learnt and built these cues, adapting them to social context, but the reprogramming of this language to suit voice control or the act of 'staring' with Google glass may require greater time to become the 'new normal'.


Are smart textiles mainly about health monitoring and fitness? What are the more consumer focused/fun uses for them?

The great rise in sensor technology and reduction in price, plus the natural role of a smart textile in apparel lends itself more naturally to health and fitness - it's an obvious link. But as technologies develop we can see that the role or opportunities for smart textiles start to broaden. Imagine in the future a fabric that could change colour or pattern and the impact that could have on fashion (both visually and commercially) - concepts like that would really start to push smart textiles away from just monitoring / reporting on your physical performance

Might textiles also be an intermediary technology as we one day are embedded with chips in our bodies? What might need to occur to make this happen?

'Implantables' have been around for over 10 years, with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) having approved certain RFID technologies back in 2003/4. So the idea of having some implanted is not that new or outlandish in certain sectors especially when you think of how long pacemakers have been around. But to imbed a technology for consumer application opens up a whole new area of challenges and opportunities. Already 'life hackers' are self-imbedding RFID tags in their hands so they can automatically open their car or house. But when you consider the rapid pace of technology at present, that I change my phone every year and could change every three months if I were to hop brands to keep up-to-date. Then you start to wonder if 'injectables', 'implantables' that may need 'upgrading' each year is realistic in the short term. 'Ingestables' on the other hand could be a different again. As Motorola presented at D11, the passcode pill that lasts day to authenticate your life is potentially interesting as are sub dermal circuit boards that dissolve over time. So on that basis, maybe there is an opportunity for these products to have a limited life span. Ultimately the age of the human cyborg is maybe still many social debates and years away!

I am particularly interested in how smart textiles can interact with machines. is there an example of how they might work with say cars in the future?

I'm not aware of any major projects that involve smart textiles in cars, but the BMW GINA light visionary model of 2008 or 'shape shifting car' is an interesting concept that could be combined with a smart textile to allow shape and colour change (Exterior and Interior). The automotive sphere is certainly one where smart textiles could play an interesting role once they become more developed.


Can you give me a timespan for when you think smart textiles will be mainstream?

I see many programmes in the public domain that are exploring smart textiles and I'm sure there are many more behind closed doors, but I would propose that smart textiles are probably still 5 years away from real commercialisation

Are there going to be very real savings in health care using smart textiles?

Without surmising an application, it's tricky to know what benefits they could offer. But certainly healthcare has commonly been an early adopter of new technologies in terms of investment to develop and application. So once we understand more about how they could be applied I'm sure developments of smart textiles in health care will come.

Who are you working with for PDD on smart textiles?

PDD has a history of working with companies across a number of sectors on wearables and other new technologies. But I'm not able to disclose who we are working for and in what areas due to strict confidentiality ethics. You can see a sample of who we have worked with and some examples of our work on the website.

The jury really is out on most retro gadgets. Quite often they try a little too hard and come across as a pale pastiche of the products they are trying to imitate. Or they are so low-tech that they are almost useless in the modern world.

Here are nine though that we think deserve the moniker of retro gadget classics.

3D Printer - watch more funny videos

Fancy a 3D printer? Well you can now pick one up from next to nothing, well £700, from Maplin and whisk up iPhone covers to you heart's content. Just don't do what this lot do with their one!

Our affection for retro looking cameras probably never really went away. Old school snapper are however very much back in the spotlight thanks to the Lomography craze, the re-invention of instant cameras and even digital snappers, like the Fujifilm XF1, being kitted out with a really striking liveries.

Here are eight of our favourites

maplin 3d printer.jpgYesterday High Street Electronics store Maplin announced some pretty significant news. It confirmed it was going to become the first retailer to sell a 3D printer in the UK from its stores. Up until now they have been available but via the web.

It is offering the Velleman K8200 for just £700, which is way cheaper than any of its rivals.

So it sounds great, but what exactly are you going to use it for?

Well first up, here's a quick resume on how it work? First you you have to use PC software to design what you are going to print. You then send this data to the printer which then builds up the layers in plastic.

After a while the printing is completed and you have your object. It can produce basic things in less than 30 minutes. More complex stuff can take hours.

Maplin is selling the printer with five metres of polylactic acid (PLA) -- the 3mm plastic wire which is used to create the objects.

Ok, so what can you make? Well the headline story has always been about engineering a gun and there are examples of how this has worked, and how it has gone horribly wrong.

You can create mobile phone covers, ornaments and more, but I suspect that it will get most of its use creating jewelry or fashion items. Some of the more complex things that have been created on professional 3D printers such as a violin, weird shoes and more are way beyond low-end models like this for a number of reasons. One of the main obstacles being that printing complex objects can take days to complete, another is that 3D printers require a deal of technical knowledge to be operated. It isn't just plug and play and out pops an item.

There are other downsides though. Firstly Maplin is now showing a 30 day wait for the product. Secondly the printer is a self assembly model so it will take the user a while to put it together.

Nevertheless the arrival of a 3D printer in a UK store is the start of a journey - who knows where it will lead.

Still maybe one day you will be able to use a 3D printer to create another 3D printer - now that would be progess.

Pink gadgets are back! Here's the evidence


Round about five years ago the stores were awash with gadgets in all manner of pink. Pretty much every consumer electronics maker had a selection of phones, music players and more in salmon, fuchsia, coral or just shockingly loud.

But then along came the iPhone and the market for girly pink gadgets seem to die almost overnight.

There are however signs that pink gadgets might be about to make a comeback. So if you want pink gadgets here are a few that are of the more recent contenders.

Ok, so we are a little late with this. I mean who would have thought that Nadal would be on the plane home before we got our annual Wimbledon gadgets and games feature out. Nevertheless if you do want to emulate the great British player Andy Murray (aka as the Scots fella should he not be lining up in the final on Sunday) then here are a few games and gadgets to get you in the mood.

kisai intoxicated.jpgThe Tokyoflash mob have always come up with some fascinating watches - mostly because of their peculiar way of telling you the time. This one however might be the company's oddest one yet.

Called the Kisai Intoxicated, it is as it sounds a watch that features a blood alcohol, sensor that will tell you how drunk you are.

To make it work you open the sensor cap and press the alcohol button to start the test. Once the sensor has warmed up, you blow for 5 seconds and wait for the watch to give an on screen reading.

The display on the right of the screen shows 10 different levels of blood alcohol content. A green display showing 0.00‰ means you're sober. A yellow display showing between 0.41 and 0.60‰ means you're buzzing. A red display showing 0.61‰ or above means you're drunk!

I am not entirely sure how useful it might be as evidence should you have a run in with police officer, but it is fun little addition to a very stylish watch which is made of stainless steel, sports an LCD display with colored backlighting and has time, date, alarm and is charged via USB.

It is available at the special release price of $99 (€76, £64) until Friday June 21st at 4pm(Japan time).

We have all been there. The alarm clock is ringing away but no matter how loud it gets there's no way you are coming back from the land of nod. Well a US boffin has come up with a neat way of ensuring that when the alarm goes you fly out of bed.

He has basically combined an alarm with a shredder, so if you don't get up you get fined with that fiver shredded beyond legal use.

The inventor Rich Olson created the device by hacking together a Sparkfun Clockit and a USB paper shredder .

Of course it is a prototype for now - and in many countries it is illegal to destroy money - but maybe one day we will all have a very good reason to get up pronto!

No, we don't mean picnics or a sunday barbeque - this is distinctly more grown-up, dinner party-esque and posher than that. We're not quite in the Aussie's league yet, but we have come along way just in the last decade (- despite the weather playing against us).

We've pretty much extended our homes and furnished it's 'outdoor rooms' with all kinds of superfluous dining equipment, outdoor structures and feasts inspired by Sunday Supplement recipes.

As the British do so well, we've adopted the best bits from other nations (of warmer climes) and are Al Fresco Dining as soon as there's enough blue in the sky to make a pair of sailors trousers.

Here's our top ten al fresco ideas we'd love to have in our back yards for the best outdoor dining experiences.

The other day we took a peek at some of the most interesting men's watches on sale, You know the ones that pack gadgets, sport unusual features or simply require a degree in astrophysics in order to tell the time.

But why should the blokes have all the fun? Here is a selection of our favourite women's watches.

Very soon now the world of watches will be changed forever as Apple, Samsung and whole load of others release their smart watches into the world. So instead of checking your texts on your mobiles you'll be checking your wrist.

But it is likely that smart watches even if they become huge will not appeal to everyone, People buy watches for all manner of reasons. Sure some to access features and gadgets but other times simply because they look stunning.

Here then is a round up of watches for men that are either stylish or packed with interesting widgets.

lionelhead.jpgIs this the most bizarre Kickstarter project ever? Could be. After failing in their campaign last year the intrepid Hungry Castle team are back with a new attempt to create a massive inflatable Lionel Richie head for the Isle of Wight's Bestival.

Yep, you read that right.

So why does Bestival need an inflatable head of the Three Times A Lady fella?

Well this is not just a massive mountain of kitsch oh no!, It is an interactive immersive experience.

As HC says

This will be a fully immersive, slightly surreal and very personal experience. As people enter one at a time, they will discover at the core of Lionel's Head lies a telephone. When a person answers the phone, they hear 'Hello, is it me you're looking for?'

Genius eh?

The team need the cash to get the Lionel Richie Head at a respectable height (3m)./ The money will also be spent on internal turbines to keep his head up, internal sandbags to keep his head down and £1,000 for overnight Bestival security (aka Head Guards).

That leads to a grand total of just shy of £4900. There's also a stretch total which would mean an even bigger six metres high head.

And what do you get for your cash investors? Well masks, t shirts and more and if you stump up over a grand you can even camp in the head for the night.



So you weren't too impressed by this lot? Then chances are that you are going to like this little collection of gadget and gifts a little more.

What with three more films to look forward to and the first one likely to made in the UK, things are looking up for Star Wars fans.

As long as Disney don't mess things up...

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