Wi-Fi gets everywhere (even into your greenhouse), coffee goes manual and drones fly the friendly skies - welcome to the future.
Koubachi Plant Sensor
A Red Dot Design Award-winning wi-fi plant sensor. The Koubachi monitors water levels, soil consistency, pH levels, humidity, temperature and light - and informs you as to how your plant is faring via a smartphone app. The app compares the results and your input plant type to an online encyclopedia of indoor plants - and lets you know, in detail, what you need to do to care for your plant. The system supposedly learns all about your plant in a week - so the sensor can be rotated around the house. It will even email you in a gardening emergency.
Fancy espresso machines on your kitchen cabinet are so over. While baristas in the know say glass dual-chambered devices are best for smooth, home coffee, there’s been another branch of innovation - the portable, power-free coffee. Handpresso, for instance, works like a bicycle pump to add pressure. But the British-designed Presso just uses the lever power of your arms - racking up between 5 and 10 bar (depending on elbow grease) - baristas recommend 9 bar for ideal coffee. Portable, simple and stylish - the Presso also makes a mean cup of coffee (and will do it just about anywhere you can get hold of ground coffee and hot water).
Parrot AR Drone 2.0
The original quadricopter drone was a massive hit - this sequel improves in several key ways. Best of all, the onboard camera is now a 720p high-definition video-capturing number with 92 degrees wide-angle field-of-view. There’s also a new pressure sensor, added to the accelerometers, gyroscope, magnetometer and ultrasound sensors that adds to the Drone 2.0’s vertical stability. Taking advantage of the increased stability, the augmented reality smartphone controls are now designed to be more intuitive. And there’s still an indoor and outdoor set of hulls - the former with extra bumpers to protect the Drone 2.0 from any close encounters of the furniture kind.
Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale
Connected health devices are the future - and with an ageing and increasingly obese population, anything that gets us fit is a good thing. The Aria not only weighs you, tracks your BMI and percentage body fat, it also automatically uploads these statistics via wi-fi to track, over time, to a personal profile for you on the Fitbit site. You can then graph your rise into fitness (or descent to the couch) on their smartphone app. The Aria works with up to eight users, and reassuringly, your profile can be set to private. The same profile will also track Fitbit’s Ultra personal activity-tracking device.
Polaroid’s grand return - the Z2300 finally cracks the issue of instant printing cameras - that they look fugly and are hugely bulky. Instead, the Z2300 is a slimline, pleasingly retro-styled digital camera featuring: 10MP sensor, 3” LCD rear screen and 720p high-definition video capture. It also prints out 2”x3” Zink instant print pictures from the integrated printer - developing shots, like the classic Polaroids of yore, in less than a minute. And as Zink paper is a thermal printing process onto water resistant paper with Amorphochromic crystals embedded inside, you don’t even need to shake ‘em like a Polaroid picture any more.
Acer Aspire S5 Ultabook
Sure, it’s only 11mm thick and weighs a mere 1.2kg, but the real trick behind the S5 (literally) is its MagicFlip port cover. Press a button on the laptop and the cover that protects its rear ports lowers, pushing the keyboard up at a slight angle. Not only does that help keep the S5 so thin, and protect/uncover valuable ports, it also lifts the keyboard angle to a more naturally comfortable typing angle. Despite its diminutive frame, the S5 also features 13.3” 1,366 x 768 display, 6.5 hour battery life and 3rd generation Intel Core processors with 4GB RAM.