Donky Bike

Gadgets

Monitors that, well, monitor you, smarter TVs and the ultimate smartphone? Higher IQ consumer technology headed your way...

Donky Bike

£499

Cargo bikes are ideal city solutions for many trades and deliveries. The Donky's an attempt to design a city hod carrier from the ground up. It features 20" BMX wheels, removable front and rear racks along a central square load-carrying beam and boasts neat touches like three-speed hub gears and an integral lock.

"A versatile load carrier" and "a new utility vehicle" - cargo bikes are becoming increasingly popular as city solutions for more and more trades and deliveries. It works well in China and the Netherlands, after all. But even there, most are traditional bikes retrofitted or hacked about to cope. The Donky's an attempt to design a tough city hod carrier from the ground up. It features 20" BMX wheels, versatile and removable front and rear racks along a central square load-carrying beam and comes with neat touches like three-speed hub gears and an integral lock. Zero emissions, nimble through traffic, fitness-improving - it's the future.

www.donkybike.com

 

Leap Motion

$80

This tiny block sits in front of your computer screen and is, according to its makers, "up to 200 times more sensitive than existing motion control technology". It'll track fingers and thumbs to within 1/100th of a millimetre with no visible lag. In other words, move over touchscreens - the next UI revolution is gestures.

When the Xbox 360 Kinect controller was originally announced, people got excited about the motion-sensing tech, until they tried it - laggy, inaccurate and low-resolution. The Leap Motion promises a lot more accuracy than Kinect, and at a much cheaper price. This tiny block that sits in front of your computer screen is, according to its makers, "up to 200 times more sensitive than existing motion control technology". It'll track all of your fingers and thumbs to within 1/100th of a millimeter, with a 150-degree field-of-view and z-axis depth sense, with no visible lag. In other words, move over touchscreens - the next UI revolution is gestures.

www.leapmotion.com

 

Toshiba "Cloud" TVs

from £330

Toshiba have taken altready popular "smart" internet-connected TVs and gone one step smarter. Their "Cloud TV" service monitors viewing habits to provide personalised recommendations, offers integrated content search across all services, and runs a live twitter stream alongside TV viewing, linked to the hashtag of the programme you're watching.

"Smart", internet-connected TVs add a suite of apps and services to standard viewing that typically include YouTube, video-on-demand from the likes of Netflix, 4oD, BBC iPlayer and the like, and often weather, web-browsing and social media apps too. Now Toshiba have gone one step further and smarter with their "Cloud TV" service, available on new 4 Series LED TVs and above. This adds to the standard "smart" offering by monitoring your viewing habits and providing personalised recommendations, plus offering integrated content search across all services/apps, and live twitter stream alongside TV viewing, linked to the hashtag of the programme you're watching.

www.toshiba.co.uk

 

Samsung Galaxy S4

around £600 SIM-free

The screen's the big story - 5" Full HD 1080p resolution at 441ppi. On top, there's a 1.9GHz quad-core processor for the UK (some markets get an "octa-core" processor), 4G data and 13MP camera. Plus new user-interface features including "Air Gesture" that lets you swipe without touching your screen with messy fingers.

Likely the biggest smartphone launch of the year is the S4. The screen's the big story - 5" Full HD 1080p resolution at 441ppi. On top, there's a 1.9GHz quad-core processor for the UK (some markets get an "octa-core" processor), 4G data and 13MP camera. There's also some new user-interface features - "Dual Camera" records with front and rear cameras simultaneously, "Smart Pause" pauses videos if you look away and "Air Gesture" lets you swipe without touching your screen with messy fingers. The question now is whether the S4 can beat the mid-range, much cheaper smartphones like the Nexus 4 at that price.

www.samsung.com/uk

 

Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner

£49

A lightbox that straps to your smartphone to let you snap pics of your old 35mm film. Raid those attic negatives now. All types of 35mm stock are supported and the scanner will work with iPhones and a bunch of other phones that fit the form factor, including the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Lomography seem on a mission to save traditional film photography from extinction. This, their latest project, came from a successful Kickstarter campaign - but is now available to buy by anyone. Its a lightbox that straps to your smartphone to let you snap pics of your old 35mm film. Of course, Lomo-toting hipsters can now transfer their shots to Instagram more easily, but everyone else can also turn those boxes of negatives in the attic more easily into digital images. All types of 35mm stock are supported and the scanner will work with iPhones and a bunch of other phones that fit the form factor, including the Samsung Galaxy S3.

www.lomography.com

 

Philips ErgoSensor Monitors

from around £200

This new range of ErgoSensor monitors measures your viewing distance, neck angle and time at desk, telling you off if you slouch, have an incorrect setup or spend too long gazing into pixels. It even drops energy consumption by 80 per cent when you do take that overdue break from the electronic grindstone.

Monitors - they're not sexy, but they are important. Until, that is, Minority Report style holographic, touch-sensitive displays (and instant back replacement medical procedures) become reality rather than science fiction. Meanwhile, the new range of ErgoSensor monitors at least measures your viewing distance, neck angle and time at desk, telling you off if you slouch, have an incorrect setup or spend too long gazing into pixels. It even drops energy consumption by 80 per cent when you do take that overdue break from the electronic grindstone. The monitors come with ergonomic bases for a good range of adjustments, plenty of eco-credentials and easily-optimised image settings.

www.philips.co.uk

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