Emotional robots, safety in a can and DIY smartphones - the latest in cutting-edge consumer technology.
Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard
An ultra-thin, stylish folding keyboard that you can pair with two devices simultaneously. Pair it up with an iOS, Android or Windows smartphone or tablet and then switch between two devices with a button press. Unfolded it measures 295x125mm with a full-size but low keyset (it's only 5mm thick unfolded, 11.5mm folded). A rechargeable battery will keep the keyboard going for three months off one charge, and Bluetooth 4.0 is required on the device.
198,000 yen plus at least 14,800 yen monthly plan
You can't really buy the "world's first personal robot that reads emotions" yet. The initial sale of 1,000 units sold out in a minute flat when it went on sale in Japan in June (there are more coming). Pepper is designed to read facial expressions, recognise friends and read surroundings and respond suitably. It is happy when praised, gets scared in the dark and sighs when upset. Pepper records significant emotional moments in a photo and video diary and displays its current emotional state on the chest screen. The robot is bristling with cameras, infrared sensors, touch sensors etc. in order to read its environment.
Volvo scored a PR hit with what it dubbed ‘Life Paint’. But now you can actually buy the stuff. Powder-fine particles of reflective paint mean it instantly turns anything it's sprayed on high-vis. The paint comes in four varieties: Light Metallic is a permanent grey colour ideal for solid materials such as metal or concrete - so bike wheel rims, helmets etc; Invisible Bright is a textile spray that washes out, and that's invisible in daylight; Sparkling Grey is the visible textile version; Horses and Pets works on fur and lasts for a week.
"The world's most advanced wearable" follows the original Moov's massive crowdfunding success. A nine-axis ‘Omni Motion’ 3D sensor in the wearable strapped to wrist or ankle means the Moov Now offers more complex feedback - not just tracking stride, but coaching you (via headphones) on stride length, impact, and pace when running, or giving lap, stroke and turn breakdowns when swimming. It's also got a six-month battery, comes with loads of workout and sport app options, supports wireless heart-rate straps and does the usual sleep and activity tracking too. Amazing, if it delivers (it's shipping in autumn).
The original Fairphone sourced conflict-free tin and tantalum (from the Democratic Republic of the Congo), invested in a worker-controlled welfare fund with its factory in China and set up an e-waste recycling scheme in Ghana. The second iteration both ups the spec (5in Full HD screen, quadcore processor, Android 5.1 Lollipop) and the ethical elements, with greater supply chain transparency and longevity. The phone is designed to be modular and disassembled, with tutorials available on how to repair, replace or upgrade key components and spare parts sold online.
Philips Fidelio B5
The TV soundbar moves on an idea Philips already pioneered with the award-winning HTL9100. As well as being a standard TV speaker and wireless subwoofer combination, the ends of the B5 detach and can act as battery-powered, wireless rear/surround speakers - like the HTL9100. But now, both the rear speakers and main unit include Bluetooth with high-resolution aptX compatibility - which means you can now use all three sections independently as separate home speakers, taking one of the pair out onto the patio, for instance, while the other plays music in the kitchen.
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