November is a weird time in terms of gadgets. All the big retailers are watchful that Christmas is around the corner and spend the time consolidating their offerings, whilst new launches are deferred till January, in honour of CES 2011. The interim period is filled with random geeky news, cutesy USB offerings, and the rare gem here and there. Welcome to your latest batch of November gadgets, European style.
The Asset Test Speed Camera
Driving has long since been a national past-time of the British. There’s nothing we like more than taking to the roads, as a long drive is a great way to de-stress and take in the scenery. Sure, traffic jams may make our eyes start boggling, but we can normally hope a journey will be calm and road rage free. During the drive, it’s not uncommon to top up the lippie, change the tune… all safely and above board of course. Or is it…
Who amongst you can wholeheartedly admit to always buckling up when they get in the car… or slowing their speed when cameras pop up along the road? This used to be normal behavior-till now. New speed cameras have been on trial in Finland, which not only check whether you’re above the limit- but register whether you’ve paid your road tax and have your seatbelt one! It does this by using a 3D camera mounted on a trailer, which is used in conjunction with a number plate reader, and infrared sensor for checking weather and road conditions.
They can gather footage from up to 150 foot away and crimes can be filed as and when they occur-think immediate reporting. Images are filtered to a central database system which stores them for up to a month, and can be cross checked if incidents occur. Why are they taking such high precautions? Matti Kutila, a senior research scientist said: ‘The main intention is to support traffic police so that drivers follow traffic rules such as wearing seat belts, keep to the speed limit and maintain sufficient distance to the vehicle in front”. This is a pilot scheme, with no set date to roll it out to the rest of Europe, and people have been very resistant- do you blame them? I know it’s good to be protected, but I’m not sure I like the move towards a Big Brother state.
[Via the Daily Mail]
Monty Python Social Media Games on the Way
When you think of Monty Python, many things spring to mind (possibly less, if you’re not British). John Cleese and the Ministry of Silly Walks are two obvious ones, and the list goes on.. and on.. and on. In light of this it’s surprising that people haven’t really tried to push a Monty Python gaming franchise that much before, but things are all about to change. Zattika, a gaming company that specializes in online games has just announced that they have acquired the license to create social game based around the Monty Python group.
Tim Chaney, CEO of Zattika says, “By acquiring these rights we will be transporting Monty Python into the 21st Century, with a totally new experience for their unique comedy that will delight old and new fans alike. The games will be released on Facebook, with potential website access as well. Some of the original team are onboard for creative control, so fans can expect this to stay relatively true to the original.
The game will join their other offerings, such as, uh, Mr Bean, Butt Scan and PetKill… Release date TBD.
Cats are cute little creatures aren’t they? As long as you don’t have more than three and/or live alone, you’re allowed to enjoy their sweet little eyes and soft paws for as long as you like. Sometimes, you just want a little time to yourself though, and come cats can be so needy. Keep them distracted (and away from the curtains) with the FroliCat Bolt. It’s a device that creates random laser patterns and beams them around the room; which will have your pet transfixed.
You can set it to auto for random patterns, or have it on manual and create cool shapes by aiming the laser pointer with your own hands. A small mirror aims the laser over surfaces, and you pet will look adorable as it tries to get to grips with the light. It’s a great way to keep your pet entertained… or you! Just think of the YouTube potential… £19.95 from Prezzybox
Rebel Swap Watches
James Bond pioneered the idea that gadgets can go micro, and the last few years have seen spy style tech make their way into the mainstream. We’ve oohed over the LG watch phone and sighed over the slimline handsets that have made their way to market- well now there’s another player on the block. The Rebel Swap Watch may not come with a hugely glossy veneer, or incredible spec sheet, but it makes up for it but having a cute style and a wallet friendly price tag.
It features a 1.46 inch touchscreen, and manages to pack in a camera, an MP3 player and a watch (well, duh) into its slim frame. It connects to your mobile via Bluetooth, plays multiple file formats and allows you to take video as well. If you find the touchscreen fiddly there’s a mini stylus included to allow you to type with ease and it comes with a 2GB SD card (expandable to 8GB). This makes it really easy to playback all those sneaky vids and snaps you have taken (it’s a watch phone, you’re sooo going undercover here), and has a whopping 85 hour standby time. £189.99 from IWOOT
Marc by Marc Jacobs USB Keyrings and Headphones
The twinkling lights are out, the red suited man is leering from the TV and boyfriends worldwide are looking dolefully at their wallets. Christmas is in the offing, and everyone wants something shiny and new under their tree. Marc Jacobs has cottoned onto this fact, and has brought out gifts a’plenty for the season, but thankfully most are in the affordable range.
You can opt from adorable Marc by Marc Jacobs USB keyrings (memory is small, but what price cuteness?), Miss Marc and Mr Marc Colour Pop headphones with uber cute prints on the chassis and mini MP3 speakers, with that beloved logo scrawled all over it. Yes, you’re buying into a brand, rather than aiming for quality, but the recipients will love you for it- and I’m kinda tempted myself.
Electrolux Vac from the Sea Vacuum Cleaners
Recycling is good. We all know that it’s good. How can making sure you don’t leave waste behind you not be a good thing? It isn’t very sexy though, is it? Dinner party conversations don’t exactly sizzle when you start debating composting vs. those little green sacks. Electrolux have managed to create something that strangely would be a topic of conversation as they’ve taken waste from different oceans and turned it into five stylish looking vacuum cleaners.
Each vacuum cleaner is created using waste plastic from a different ocean. Showing that sustainability can be cool, and creating rather stylish and functional objects in the process. I think the Indian Ocean Vacuum (the white one) is particularly striking, and hope these will go into mainstream production; it’s a great way to highlight an important issue- and turn something unattractive into a talking point. Learn more about what Electrolux are doing here.
Elite Racer Pro Simulator
Gaming is a fabulous way to lose a few hours (or days) immersed in another world. From high speed rally chasing to GTA antics, you can experience your wildest race fantasies with no repercussions. Sadly, the outside world has a way of infringing on your game time, with traffic noise and family demands interrupting. Keep on that winning streak and try something a little more enchanting.
The Elite Racer Pro Simulator was previously available only in arcades, but can now be your pride and joy at home. It offers a seat customizes to fit your proportions Sony Bravia surround sound and screens tailored to your preferences- including 3D options, You get three pre-installed games, and it runs off an Intel Quad Coe i5 processor. Now you just need to find a spare room to put it in- and at that price, you probably have a couple.
£14,240 from Harrods