Make your own home control, be seen from all sides and build a games console - the future of technology, right now.
Technology Will Save Us DIY Gamer Kit
This hip Hackney, London startup creates educational kits for baby hackers of the 21st century. Think electronics kits for a new millennium. The DIY Gamer Kit lets you make your own handheld games console with 8x8 matrix display, then program games to play on it. That means soldering 40 parts (you can buy pre-soldered also - but where's the fun in that?), and learning to program in popular internet-of-things language Arduino. The basic kit requires an extra Arduino board - also usable in other Technology Will Save Us projects. Also in the range: "Electro dough", a DIY synth and a build-it-yourself speaker.
Veglo Commuter X4
As ways to come up with a product idea, being knocked off your bike into a four-way junction by a lorry is extreme. Ed Ward's Commuter X4 design came from the experience - it's a wearable bike light with cross straps that also light up, that you wear (including over a backpack). The result is increased visibility from the back and sides - with the static light ensuring drivers can judge your distance better. The Commuter X4 is a Kickstarter success that's already won awards and recognition from the Gadget Show Live (British Inventors Project 2014), Shell Live Wire Business Awards 2014 and John Lewis PitchUp.
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Canon's most pre-ordered dSLR ever has finally hit the shops. The 20.2 megapixel camera is built for speed of response - with 10fps burst shooting at full resolution, 100-16,000 ISO and 65 "cross type" point focus. On top of that, there's highly customisable user-interface, built-in GPS and weather sealing, but no wi-fi or touchscreen control. As is standard these days, Full HD video is in too (not 4K) - but here with mild slow motion (60fps). This, then, is a serious enthusiast's camera - tough, customisable and extremely well-specified - at a fairly keen price. The only real surprise is the lack of screen you can prod to focus etc.
Belkin WeMo Maker
Belkin's WeMo internet-connected, home automation range already includes plug switches, lightbulbs and nightvision security cameras. Now, with the Maker, they're adding low-voltage DC switching devices to go after the maker/hacker market, and connecting that to the massively popular collection of IFTTT ("If This Then That") internet "recipes". In other words, you'll be able to connect most 5v sensors, as well as motorised blinds, sprinkler systems and even electric Nerf guns to internet services such as email, SMS and Facebook. The WeMo Maker has already scooped an Innovation Of The Year 2014 "Best Of What's New" award from Popular Science.
Kodak PixPro SP360
An actioncam with a difference. While this apes the market leader GoPro in shooting in Full HD 1080p, with a tough 2m shockproof, dustproof and water-resistant case, with wi-fi connectivity, there's one key difference to the SP360. It takes 360-degree wraparound footage with one lens. Choose from a ring, dome, front and rear 180-degree split, a panorama or even globe video. As well as the unusual lens configuration, and consequent odd shape, there's also 16MP sensor, 10 frames-per-second burst stills, time lapse and motion detection - offering a super fisheye difference to other actioncam competitors.
Bowers & Wilkins T7
The British hi-fi brand are known for their iconic Zeppelin Air rugby ball-shaped wireless AirPlay speaker (and their high-end traditional hi-fi speakers too). But they've never done a wireless Bluetooth speaker before - surprising as, unlike AirPlay, Bluetooth works with all smartphone and tablet brands pretty much. Apparently, they were waiting for the higher-quality aptX codec to become common enough. The T7, as well as toting aptX, also uses a honeycomb bracing around the outside to reduce vibration and distortion and trickle-down engineering from their other wireless speakers to squeeze better sound into a smaller space. The result is pricey, but best-in-class audio quality for a portable speaker.
The Ollie takes remote controlled robots to a whole new level of rugged driving. Use the controller app on a smartphone or tablet to spin, drift, flip or jump at speeds up to about 10mph, which looks faster than it sounds. With wheels at each end of a cylinder, the Ollie appears to defy Newton’s laws of physics. The apps provide automatic feedback and points based on the difficulty of the manoeuvres and tricks. Programming apps are also available, as well accessories like different types of tyres. The Ollie is rechargeable through a USB connection. Great for older kids or big kids who could never afford a remote controlled car when they were young but still yearn for one. Or you could get one each and race them.