Get smart about note-taking with the latest smartpen, smarter about inside-out umbrellas and watch your TV track you with the latest in high-end technology.
Smartpens suddenly seem to be all the rage. First there was the Livescribe – designed to capture audio and scribbles simultaneously. Now this – a digital pen that captures what you're writing or drawing on any paper surface. Simply clip the receiver to the top of any note or sketchbook, then use the pen. The resulting work can then be transferred via USB to your computer – with the included software allowing not only editing, but output to Photoshop, Autodesk, PDF etc. Everyone thought the paperless office was the future – but Livescribe and Inkling, it looks like the pen may be mightier than the mouse after all.
Tackling not one, but two of the key issues with umbrella design at one fell stroke – the Blunt range is an umbrella for those who'd more often rather reach for a weatherproof coat instead. Firstly, and most obviously, there are no tips – to spear other people in the eye. Secondly, and more smartly, a "radial tensioning system" involving double struts, floating ribs and those blunt tips, mean that this umbrella has little for wind to catch or work on – Blunt umbrellas tested in a wind tunnel withstand up to Force 12 winds (>70mph). The result is an umbrella designed to use for years.
Helmetcams are gaining ground not just among extreme sports fans, but cycling commuters looking for instand evidence in a collision. The latest from Roam ditches the GPS – which can be handy for pinpointing exactly where you are when that taxi cut you up in court. But it will save battery life. And to the standard high-quality Full HD 1080p video, the Roam adds a 1m waterproof casing, tripod mount and much smaller and lighter body. That makes it a serious contender to the much more versatile, but incredibly large and weighty GoPro rivals.
A smart solar charging backpack for your iPhone 4. The Mobius sucks up the suns energy – taking an hour out in sunshine to charge up 25 minutes of talk time, 20 minutes of Internet use or over 2 hours of audio playback. And a Lithium Ion battery built in means the power is stored in the case for use whenever it's needed, with a switch to let the juice flow when you most needed. The case also features light indicators for both current solar power state (how good the sun's rays are at that moment) and battery level.
Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm lens
Panasonic's new Micro Four Thirds zoom has a very smart trick up its sleeve: it's the world's first "digital interchangeable power zoom lens". In other words, it looks like a flat "pancake" lens, weighing only 95g and having just under 27mm in depth. But hit the button and it telescopes out from the middle, revealing it's actually a 14-42 (3x) optical zoom lens, controlled electronically with a button on the side of the lens, but keying into the camera's auto-focus etc. So not only can you now get SLR level control and picture quality from a smaller camera, you can now get a high-quality zoom lens that doesn't dwarf the camera.
Toshiba 55" ZL2
£TBA (rumoured €8,000)
The first big-screen glasses-free 3D TV available. At its heart this features similar parallax barrier overlay technology to Nintendo's 3DS and smartphones such as the LG Optimus 3D and HTC EVO 3D. But here, the CEVO processor inside can track the head position of up to nine viewers, ensuring they get the best possible 3D effect.
The first big-screen glasses-free 3D TV out on the market – and it's a smart trick indeed. Sure, at its heart this TV features similar parallax barrier overlay technology to that seen in Nintendo's 3DS, new smartphones such as the LG Optimus 3D and HTC EVO 3D and Toshiba's glasses-free laptop. But here, the multi-core CEVO processor inside the TV can also track the head position of up to nine viewers, then ensuring they get the best possible 3D effect. On top of that there's realtime 2D-to-3D conversion, 4x Full HD conversion (and pixel count) and a wi-fi connection and Smart TV apps.