A radical approach to records, a 3D-scanning PC and the hippest camera ever – consumer technology with a twist.
Hewlett Packard Sprout
Weird name, even weirder concept – the Sprout combines a Windows desktop PC with 3D scanning station, projector and touch-mat. The simple stuff is a Windows 8.1 all-in-one with Core i7 processor, 23in monitor and mouse/keyboard. But move the mouse and keyboard to one side and you get a touch-mat – put something on there and the scanning cameras on top of the monitor create a virtual version of the object, then, by projecting the object back onto the mat, you can manipulate the 3D virtual object with your hands. The Sprout launches in limited form in the US now, going global soon.
Clearaudio Absolute Phono
According to Clearaudio, one of the biggest problems with accurately amplifying the signal from a turntable or phono is the distance that signal has to go before it reaches the amp. The signal is small and therefore sensitive to electrical interference. Clearaudio’s solution is a tiny amp inside the tonearm headshell – right above where the needle hits the groove. Now the signal only travels 1-2cm before getting a boost, rather than 1-2m of wiring. The Absolute Phono only works with the right Clearaudio phono stages – for the rest, the Absolute Phono Inside is a phono amp built using all of Clearaudio’s know-how.
Atama Sesame 2
A Bluetooth keyfob that will automatically lock down your Macbook if you walk far enough away from it. Ideal if you’re hotdesking or working in a coffee shop. Sesame 2 also features a pause option for Spotify and iTunes – so your music will also pause when you go far enough from base, and play when you return. Apple Script support also means support for other apps (set Skype to ‘away’ while you’re away etc). You also have the option of requiring a password as well as proximity to unlock upon return, and can set the distance the Sesame 2 triggers at, down to 6-8m.
Archos VR Glasses
Can’t wait for Oculus Rift? You can already get a virtual reality headset. Google released its ‘Project Cardboard’ schematics a while back that lets you DIY goggles. Archos have now made the process easier. Their plastic frame slots in a smartphone, with the lenses and baffles ready-placed to give you 3D viewing via your screen. Archos say the ideal is a full-HD 5in smartphone with quadcore processing. Your phone will need motion sensors (accelerometer and gyroscope) so it can sense your head movement. Archos’ system works with all three main phone systems and over 100 apps already.
Lomo LC-A+ Instant Camera
The iconic hipster camera (or at least its rebooted, modern version) now gets even more hip. If a 35mm camera based off a Russian classic, but with multiple exposure, broader ISO control, and Hot-Shoe flash wasn’t handlebar moustache enough, then the instant conversion back additionally means you can shoot straight onto Fujifilm Instax Mini Film instead of 35mm – the result is a smarter snapper for the Instagram generation. Instagram style photos with their high contrast or vignettes are standard for the LC-A+ and instant print harks back to Polaroid Instamatics. As well as the instant back, accessories include waterproof housing, wide-angle lens and several flashes.
Everyone and their dog is currently making wearable technology – but no one seems to have quite cracked it. Perhaps Microsoft’s attempt will be the one. It’s compatible with all mobile systems, features 24-hour, constant heartrate monitoring as well as pedometer and GPS tracking and it acts as a smartwatch – with alerts for email, texts and social media etc. It even partners out data to popular apps including Runkeeper and MapMyFitness. It’s not fully waterproof (‘splash-resistant’) and it only features a 48-hour battery life, but for the price that’s a lot of features – covering both halves of the current wearable trends. US-only so far.