Build your own music, hack your drone, and supercharge everything but the kitchen sink.
3D Robotics Solo
Described as the ‘’world’s first smart drone”, the Solo is designed to make flying, and getting great video from, drones far easier than before. The first consumer drone with high-end processing (1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 running Linux) in both controller and drone, that means future-proofing for updates; open-platform support - so it’s easily hackable; and a controller and flight system that deliver far more simple and smooth control. That includes a ‘follow me’ mode and ‘orbit’ around a subject. There’s even an optional GoPro-controlling gimbal and flight sim app that lets you learn to fly before you risk crashing your expensive new kit.
Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators
Three tiny pocket synths designed to just mess around with. The PO-12 handles ‘rhythm’ with drum synth and sequencer with parameter locks, 16 punch-in effects and individual step re-triggers to loop and create your own drum beats. PO-14 is ‘sub’ with a bass line synth and sequencer, and a synth engine that will feel familiar to any modern music fan, and again punch-in effects and loops. PO-16 ‘factory’ throws in melody with arpeggio and chord play styles. If all this is jargon to you, the simple way to look at these is they’re designed to be fun to fiddle with and individually, or together, can make funky tunes.
Automatic indicating fingerless cycling gloves. Lift your hand from the handlebars, stick it out sideways, and motion sensors will trigger a flashing light on the back. That means you can pick up your water bottle, shift your hands around the bars or pick your nose and the gloves shouldn’t trigger - they need to be out sideways, thumb on top, to do so. The lights are rain-protected by an IPX3 rubber cover and all the electronics can be removed to wash the gloves; there’s 30 days continuous use battery life with 20-second signal use, and the gloves weigh just 65g per pair.
Angle & Curve Carboncans
Headphones can take a lot of physical abuse - thrown in bags, bent around necks, rested on while sleeping. That’s why this audio design company has taken ideas and materials from automotive engineering and sports technology to come up with Carboncans. The headphones are made from a nylon/carbon compound adapted from those used currently in snowboard bindings. The result is strong, flexible and features a lifecycle of over 30 years. Carboncans are also highly weather-resistant, foldable and feature a built-in mic. They’re designed and made entirely in England. And Angle & Curve promises excellent sound isolation and “deep, rich tones” free of “overbearing bass”.
Pentax K-3 II
From £770 (body only)
The perfect astronomy DSLR? Not only is the K-3 II weatherproof and cold-resistant, it also features inbuilt GPS with ‘Astro Tracer’ function which enables “high-precision tracking of celestial bodies” automatically. As well as star-gazing, the K-3 II features a 24MP APS-C CMOS image sensor, up to 51,200 ISO, improved image stabilisation and Pixel Shift which captures four images, shifting the image sensor one pixel each time to create a composite image that’s got better colour and less noise. Add on top the usual (27-point autofocus, 8+ images per second burst, Full HD video, HDR shots etc.) and you’ve got a seriously specced DSLR.
A single device to recharge your mobile devices on the go and/or jumpstart your car. The JumPack manages a starting current of 200A, 400A peak - enough to start most cars multiple times. And a 7,500 mAh battery with 2.1A USB so you can recharge most mobile devices several times (or give your laptop a good few more hours boost). There’s also a LED flashlight with strobe built in and option to charge via wall or 12V car socket. The only drawback? It’s a bit bigger and more involved than the average smartphone battery booster.