The latest technology including a build-it-yourself SLR, 41MP Windows Phone and the high street’s first 3D printer.
Like a gigantic plastic exlamation mark, it’s clear that this is the year 3D printers are arriving. Retail chain Maplin has just announced the first high street-available machine – this Velleman. So, yes, while many have been tinkering with enthusiast-level 3D printers for years now, 2013 is apparently the moment they start to go more mainstream. The K8200 runs eight different colour cartridges of plastic filament, and requires a reasonably serious level of self-assembly. With printing resolution of 0.15mm X/Y steps, 0.781 µm Z steps and layer thicknesses of 0.5mm X/Y, 0.2-0.25mm Z. Print time is 30 mins approximate for “a smartphone case”.
Nokia Lumia 1020
Nokia finally brings its camera technology to Windows Phone in full with this smartphone. The 41MP camera sensor, the second generation following its introduction in the Nokia 808, delivers a host of innovative ideas in use: “dual capture” means the camera can produce a 38MP picture and a 5MP version for sharing simultaneously; manual focus means you can change focus distance from 15cm to infinity with a touchscreen ring; or you can use zoom in digitally to take a picture without any of the usual artefacting (by cropping to a portion of the scene). Plus the phone totes 4.5” 1280x768 screen, 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 2GB RAM.
Blue Mics Nessie
The first adaptive USB microphone. That means that processing built inside the mic, to “professional studio” level according to the company, transforms raw audio before it’s passed off to the computer, with the processing applied constantly adapting. The result “automatically smoothes and refines audio in real time”, with EQ, de-esser and levels automatically controlled, with three recording modes for vocals, instruments and raw through-put to apply “the most common, professional techniques instantly”. On top, an inbuilt pop filter and shockmount reduce distant rumbles or external distortion and harsh vocal plosives. There’s also a zero-latency headphone out for direct monitoring.
The “world’s first 35mm do-it-yourself SLR camera”, the Konstruktor is another in a long line in quirky, inventive and often brilliant analogue film cameras from the company, originally formed in response to the Russian LOMO LC-A compact camera. The components come on frames to snip out of, like old model airplane kits. And the end result includes a 50mm f/10 lens. Sadly this isn’t really swappable for other common SLR lenses, but Lomography plan a range of their own lenses and accessories. Shutter speed is to 1/80s, there’s a tripod thread and multiple exposure capability as well as bulb, long exposure setting.
The name might be more befitting of a satellite only adult TV channel or dodgy night club in Romford. But this is actually a pair of fairly innovative wireless bone conduction headphones. In fact, according to the company, these are the “world’s first open ear wireless Bluetooth headphones”. Combining the ubiquitous Bluetooth wireless protocol as found in your smartphone, tablet and notebook, with AfterShokz’ patent-pending bone conducting headphone tech, these don’t stick buds in your ears, but rather sit on the edge of your cheeks. That might look a bit odd, but it means they’re more comfy and offer increased ability to hear your surroundings.
£TBA (out end 2013)
The Ouya’s initial launch has been less than stellar. But there are plenty of other Android home consoles ready to take its place. One of the most impressive is the M.O.J.O. – a set-top box running stock Android means it’ll play all the games on the Google Play Store (as well as on Amazon and other Android-ish stores, the company hints) you already own. But at 1080p on your TV via souped-up quad-core graphics processing. Control is via one of MadCatz’s well-designed C.T.R.L.R gamepads that can use one of the sticks to emulate mouse or touchscreen finger movement for games that don’t support pad control.