Christmas in July is an odd but yearly event that many journalists experience. Despite the blazing sun we sit in dark rooms eating mince pies and listening to carols as companies unveil their Christmas ranges. Having been to a fair few of these odd events recently, I now have many stocking fillers to pass on to my friends- and cool Christmas gadgets to share with you. Add to that some exciting Sci-Fi like aircraft and a futuristic video camera and I think we’ve done very well for ourselves this July.
Taranis Stealth Aircraft
Shows like Star Trek and Firefly make us familiar with the idea of aircraft that can fly solo and be undetectable to radar, but generally reality hasn’t managed to match up to science fiction.. until now. BAE Systems, a company that prides itself on developing advance defense and security systems has just unveiled the Taranis, a brand new stealth aircraft unlike anything we’ve seen before (in the real world that is). The prototype cost 140 million pounds to create and can fly unmanned, and will be invisible to all current ground radar systems. The plan is to use it for spying on areas that are considered risky or threatening to Britain, but worryingly it does have the capacity to carry missiles as well. The official plan says that flight trials are scheduled for 2011, but considering we’ve just heard of this project, it makes you wonder what else UK agencies have up their sleeve.
Bigger is better may be the motto of the 20th century, but the 21st sees a new decade of minimalism and sleekness. We now require our gadgets and toys to be scaled down to the smallest dimensions possible, as the art of doing so somehow makes them seem more modern and desirable. The Modu Phone follows this principle by weighing in at a mere 43g with dimensions of 72.1 x 37.6 x 7.8 mm. This handset has been floating around in a prototype version since 2008 but is now finally ready to make the jump to the mass market.
The selling point of the handset is the variety of interchangeable Modu skins you can get for the phone. They’re more than just cosmetic devices, as each skin turns the Modu into a different phone, adding GPS capability, a bigger camera and sports functions, to name but a few, Essentially you’re getting a mix and match mobile which you can customise.. for a price. The skins aren’t cheap, coming in at £29.99-£49.99. The basic phone is functional without any of the jackets though, as it features 2GB of storage, Bluetooth and a USB port, but it only really becomes exciting when paired with the interesting jackets. I love the idea- creating a phone around your needs, rather than buying one that you think will suit you, but I think the high price may scare people away.
[via Idealo] £129.99 from Purely Gadgets
The Bendable Bike
Cycling seems such a wholesome activity, as pootling down sun filled lanes make ones think of flowers, picnics and an Enid Blyton-esque world of high tea and jolly goods. The reality is a little more harsh with evil cars, pedestrians and other impediments all trying to turn your journey into a sweat fueled rage, and turn everyday roads into heinous obstacle courses. If you take into account the fact that a lot of bikes get stolen (officially 23,748 in London last year), you start to wonder whether all this stress is actually worth it.
Kevin Scott, a 21 year old designer, won’t be able to clear the road of angry drivers, but he has come up with a concept that will make your bike safer from those with itchy fingers. He has created a bike with a bendable frame that allows it to be wrapped around a lamppost, meaning both the wheel and frame can be secured with one lock. It might not be the prettiest of designs, but the added security measure is pure genius.
[via the Daily Mail ]
Juicy Couture Critter Couture Mouse Headphones
As you get older your musical taste expands, much like your taste buds and your notion of pleasure. You now enjoy a variety of music and will often choose variety and eclecticism over pure cheese and tinny pop, much like you might opt for a cheese board and wine over the option of ice cream and jelly. When you’re young however, your tastes tend to be less refined and more about pure escapism, so whatever makes you smile goes. This is the targeted group for these Juicy Couture headphones, and I think it will fit well with young teenyboppers. I have very little information about the Juicy Couture Critter Couture Mouse headphones, other than the obvious fact that they’re designed for those twelve and under, and will make anyone wearing them look ultra cute. I’d guess they’d have a lower decibel range than normal headphones to be more delicate on younger ears, but as all I have is an image and price to go by this is pure speculation. Still, I can see those who love the Juicy brand falling all over themselves to get a pair of these ultra sweet ‘phones, and I’m wondering if they’re going to make them in an adult size…
£65 from Selfridges London. Release date TBA
Panasonic 3D Videocamera HDC-SDT750
A picture may tell a 1000 words, so a 3D version of this must surely take your understanding to a whole new dimension. There are many things we capture daily on film, from birthday parties to the kind of antics that make us unfriend people on Facebook. Well, de-tagging unfavourable pictures has just become more complicated with the launch of the HDC-SDT750 3D camcorder from Panasonic.
Videos of your everyday antics can now be captured in 3D, enabling you to view back those crazy dance moves in their full glory. The video camera use a Leica lens and features a 12x optical zoom. You can record by using the viewfinder or the three inch touchscreen and the camera works in both 3D and 2D. The 3D option can be utilized by attaching a 3D conversion lense, which records in 1080p. It works by recording two images simultaneously through two lenses. Problem is, you need a 3D capable TV and the matching active shutter glasses to view the footage, so those with dodgy dance moves can breathe a sigh of relief.. for now. As prices come down, this technology is sure to get more prevalent in the home.
Out in the UK later this year. £1300 TBA Panasonic UK
LEGO Prince of Persia Battle of Alamut
Have you ever fancied a fictional character? It’s a sad but true fact that I have previously had my heart set on the lovely Aladdin, and had a secret yearning for Jin from Tekken. I have to add the rather dashing Prince of Persia to that list as well, and Jake Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of Prince Dastan in the recent film has only solidified this appeal.
He is now immortalized in LEGO, and whilst the Alamut Castle LEGO set may not give you the satisfaction of the fiction turned into reality, it will let you relish in the adventure of building up your own base and securing it with catapults against all enemies. Hey, it’s OK to play with LEGO as an adult- David Beckham has just given it his seal of approval and he’s a bona fide grown up!
£70 from Hamleys
Samsung Tic Toc
Just when you thought tech manufacturers had stopped thinking about women in terms of pink and kittens along comes an MP3 player that defies those ideas. This time it’s Samsung who’s the culprit as they’ve designed the Tic Toc with a female audience in mind. Available in black, light blue, pink and Hello Kitty (I guess that’s a colour now) the MP3 player is incredibly tiny, but boasts a truckload of interesting features.
It come s in two rather small capacities- 2 or 4GB, but impressively plays a large variety of files, including MP3, AAC, WMA, Ogg, FLAC and WAV. There’s a battery life of around 12 hours and it’s motion controlled, so you can skip tracks by shaking the device, and skip albums by clicking he Tic Toc three times, presumably where the name comes from. I like the fact that they’ve given it a ‘smart feature’ of allowing it to distinguish between slow and fast songs, so it will sort them accordingly if you’re after some randomly generated slow playlists, as this is a feature that’s surprising for such a budget player. £39.99 from September [via Pocket Lint]