vol 9, issue 6

Gadgets

16 June 2014
By Simon Munk
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Freedman Chair

The first chair designed to let your spine and pelvis rest in the positions that they have when you’re standing

Braun BNE001BK Calculator

This is a reissue of the Braun ET66 calculator featuring the same lovely rounded buttons

Healbe GoBe

Wearable fitness tracker adds pulse and impedance sensors to measure blood flow, heart rate and tissue fluid level

3Doodler pen

The “world’s first 3D-printing pen” - it extrudes 2mm plastic string that turns rigid as you draw in air

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon jumps into the “smart” TV set-top box market

Oppo PM-1

Planar magnetic headphones, with a new seven-layer diaphragm with conductors on both sides

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A fitness tracker that can tell calories in as well as out, the world’s first 3D-printing pen and the return of a Steve Jobs-influencing design classic.

Freedman Chair

£799

"The first true innovation in seating in more than 7,000 years" may be overstating it. But this chair, created by osteopath and inventor Simon Freedman, is designed to let your spine and pelvis rest in the same positions that they have when you're standing. As Freedman says: "When standing, the combination of side-to-side curves (scoliosis) and forward-to-back curves (lordosis) in the spine provide structural support for our bodies and the back muscles act merely as stabilisers. [Traditional chairs] force the spine out of its natural position and force the back muscles to support an unstable spine - a job they are not meant to do."

www.freedmanchair.com

 

Braun BNE001BK Calculator

£30

A reissue of the classic Braun ET66 - the iconic 1987 calculator designed by Dietrich Lubs and Dieter Rams. It's widely acknowledged that Steve Jobs and Jonny Ive were influenced by Rams' designs for Braun - the original iPhone calculator app is strikingly similar to earlier Rams-designed Braun calculators. Don't expect complex graphing functions, a massive screen or massive processing power - for that, your phone is probably a better bet. But do expect an absolutely joyful to use design classic with buttons that just beg to be pressed. Until, of course, one of your covetous colleagues sneaks it out of your desk drawer.

www.braun-clocks.com

 

Healbe GoBe

$299

A wearable with a difference - the GoBe combines pulse and impedance sensors with the usual accelerometer. The result is a device that can, according to its makers, measure blood flow, heartrate and fluid level in tissues above the usual activity. So it can track not just the energy you're expending, but the calories and hydration you're putting in also. In normal use, it should last three days, including non-stop heartrate sensing - which will be a serious boost for fitness tracking compared to rivals that connect to wireless heartrate straps, but often lose battery life rapidly in doing so.

www.healbe.com

 

3Doodler

£100

"The world's first 3D printing pen" is set to be followed shortly by a host of others. But for now, let the 3Doodler bask in the limelight. Like a thin-nozzled electric glue gun, the 3Doodler extrudes a thin flexible string of 3mm diameter heated plastic (PLA or ABS) that goes rigid quickly - letting you draw three-dimensional shapes as if using a pen in the air. Of course, the 3Doodler can be used for minor repairs and personalising existing objects, but judging by the 3Doodler Instagram account, its uses are largely limited by your freehand drawing skill, imagination and plastic supply.

www.maplin.co.uk

 

Amazon Fire TV

$100

The TV streaming market is hotting up right now. Despite the fact that most modern TVs are themselves "smart" - ie they connect to your Wi-Fi, feature apps such as BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Netflix, and are designed to be simple to use - all the big Internet players are also developing their own devices. Apple TV and Google's very cheap Chromecast are now facing off in America against Amazon's Fire TV (UK release date unknown). The key difference is power as well as the games that enables. Amazon's device features a dedicated graphics processor, higher power main chip and optional console-style controller.

www.amazon.com

 

Oppo PM-1

£1,099

Planar magnetic headphones have been done before - but Oppo thinks it's onto something new with the introduction of "a seven-layer diaphragm with spiralling pattern of flat conductors etched on both sides" and "FEM-optimised high-energy Neodymium magnet system". The double-sided diaphragm means higher sensitivity, better damping and more drive force. But frankly, what you need to know is using planar magnetic technologies allows for a lighter weight for the quality of sound - so these may cost over a grand, but they're light enough to use with a phone on the train. A cheaper, £699 version is due later this year with lower quality materials.

www.oppo-bluray.co.uk

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