Technology is incredible. From wearable fitness monitors to highly versatile gaming consoles, we already have gizmos we would have thought impossible just ten years ago, so what can we look forward to in the future?
We’ve rustled up some weird and wonderful gadgets – some which seem amazing and some which, uh… get points for creativity – from recent Kickstarters and tech expos like CES 2017. While these products are still prototypes and concepts that aren’t on the shelves yet, it’s still an interesting look at the kind of innovation we can expect in the near future.
While charging is a pretty routine part of any smartphone owner’s day, it’s hard to argue that the OvRcharge does it in the coolest way possible, thanks to the sci-fi genre’s favourite physical phenomena: magnets. While we already have wireless phone chargers which transfer power to a phone when it’s placed on top of a charging mat, the OvRcharge kicks it up a notch and charges your phone as it levitates and slowly rotates above an ultra-minimalist base.
If you love the magnetic levitation but don’t care about charging your smartphone, consider the Air Bonsai instead.
Weird: Kératase Hair Coach powered by Withings
Brushing your hair isn’t exactly an everyday activity that comes to mind when one thinks of cutting-edge tech, but that hasn’t stopped the Kératase Hair Coach from being developed. It’s a wireless smart hair brush that has tiny microphones built into the bristles to collect and analyse the audio data of you while you brush your luscious locks. Hair care feedback about frizziness, dryness, split ends and greasiness is then provided through a companion app on your smartphone.
You can read more about the science behind the product here, but we’re not sold. Honestly, how useful can its advice be compared to a quick Google search and some tips from your hairdresser? To us, it just doesn’t seem worth paying several hundred dollars for.
Wonderful: iSCOUT Head-Up Display
Technology is playing a bigger part in driving than ever before and while GPS navigators and Google Maps on your phone are useful, using them often means you’ll have to take your attention away from the road. The iSCOUT Head-Up Display tackles this problem with a transparent screen that will bring the information up right in front of you so you can keep looking straight ahead. Functioning as both a navigation device and a dashboard camera, it can also connect wirelessly with your smartphone to enable hands-free calling, music playing and more via voice commands and gesture controls.
The iSCOUT also plugs in to a car’s OBD II port, allowing it to display info about speed, RPM, fuel and more. If you’re low on fuel, iSCOUT will even look up directions to the nearest petrol station! The premium iSCOUT also has blind spot cameras, displaying the feed whenever you indicate to turn left or right. The iSCOUT puts safety first and it all adds up to a reduced risk of a car accident.
Weird: HushMe Voice Mask
If you ever wanted to make a private phone call around other people, the Hushme is here to help. It’s not quite the Cone of Silence from Get Smart, but it’s a start. Hushme works by fitting a headphone-like device over your mouth to muffle your voice for people around you while still delivering clear audio to the person on the other end of the phone. You can hear the call through a connected earpiece and if you’re still not satisfied that no one else can hear what you’re saying, there’s the option to play voice-masking sounds through a speaker on the outside of the device. You can choose from options which include wind, birds and even Darth Vader-style breathing.
While it’s certainly a novel idea, the downside is that wearing the Hushme makes you look like an evil henchman in a superhero movie and the overall design brings up a lot of questions about breathing and hygiene. We’ll stick to moving into another room for important calls.
Wonderful: JACK by PODO LABS
You may have heard all the hype about Apple AirPods alongside the launch of the iPhone 7 and there are now a number of wireless earbuds on the market for listening to music via Bluetooth. Personally, I dislike all of them. They cost hundreds of dollars and seem way too easy to lose. As a consumer, I’m not prepared to give up the affordability and security of my wired earphones… but it would be nice if the cable could end up somewhere convenient upon my person instead of the bottom of whichever bag I’m carrying at the time (adequate pockets are extremely rare on feminine clothing).
Enter the JACK: a little Bluetooth gadget that accepts any headphones with a 3.5mmm cable, easily clips onto belts and clothing, and has a 12-hour battery life that’s more than triple the average battery life of any wireless earbuds. That’s not all; you can sync up two JACKs to share audio from the same source and if your device doesn’t have Bluetooth, you can plug one JACK into the AUX output and transmit audio to another JACK, or a Bluetooth device. It’s a clever idea that a lot of people are keen for – JACK was funded on Kickstarter in a gob-smacking 3 hours!
Are there any gadgets you can’t wait to see hit the market? Tell us in the comments.