Stream 4K television, start fires, play ball, control gizmos without lifting a finger, power your home and never lose a thing.
Installation from £99 with Sky subscription
The latest generation of tellyboxes from Sky are smaller yet more powerful than ever, complete with Ultra High Definition content to make the most of your spanking new 4K television. The main Sky Q, or higher-spec Sky Q Silver, box sits with your living room TV. Thanks to up to 12 tuners and 2TB of storage, it can download multiple shows at the same time and store impossibly huge amounts of viewing. You can also add Sky Q Mini boxes dotted around the house, or stream to a tablet. Pause in one room, resume in another. Or watch different shows simultaneously.
Epiphany Outdoor Gear V3 Pocket Bellows
To start a fire you need fuel, heat and oxygen. Extra oxygen really helps get a fire started; that’s why we fan flames. But this clever little gizmo does the job even better. The telescopic tube expands from 9cm to 60cm long, letting you blow right into the heart of your fire without singeing your eyebrows. The focused oxygen invigorates your fire fast, even when the tinder, kindling and fuel are all wet. You can buy the bellows solo or as part of a compact fire-starting kit, along with beeswax fire fuses and magnesium embedded ferrocerium fire strikers.
There are several high-tech tags that promise to keep tabs on your luggage, keys, pet, bike, wallet, whatever. But this is the smartest we’ve seen yet because it crowdsources location info. You can obviously track it when it’s near you via Bluetooth Low Energy. But when it’s more than 30m away TrackR cleverly poaches a signal from anyone nearby who has the app, so it can ping you its location details. That’s how it can be smaller than a 50p piece and yet have an astounding one-year battery life. Use it or lose it.
This ‘Ball 2.0’ from Made by Many transforms perhaps the simplest toy in the world into something rather special. It boasts Bluetooth, sensors, colour-change lights, noises and vibrations. You can program it with various games via app (just iOS at the time of writing, but Android coming soon). For example, play ‘hot potato’ and you pass the ball around between you in a circle, but if it turns red in your hands then you’re out. Play ‘Bomb Technician’ and you must pass it super gently or lose. Best of all, kids can code their own games using the simple app.
The future of energy isn’t big power plants, it’s distributed energy generation. We’ll generate our own energy, for example with solar panels. The grid will still exist to top us up on a cold, cloudy day when we boil the kettle. And we’ll sell our excess energy back to the grid too. Enter the Powerwall, from electric car pioneers Tesla. If anyone should know how to make a huge lithium-ion battery that stores big power beautifully, it’s Tesla. They have them in all their cars. Weighing 100kg and 1.3m tall, its 7kWh capacity is enough to store a day’s sunshine and for use by night. Plus it will keep your home ticking if there’s a power cut.
Getting the jump on Apple’s rumoured ring controller, Neyya is a chunky unisex ring that lets you control your gadgets without, ahem, lifting a finger. It connects to iOS and Windows 8 phones and tablets (the Android app was in Beta at the time of writing), Macs and GoPro. You wear it on your index finger and use it with the thumb of the same hand. The ring’s surface isn’t a display but it is touch sensitive, so you can use swipes and multi-taps to control your kit. Trigger everything from Powerpoint presentations to remote control selfies in style.