New gadgets, gizmos, and devices are constantly hitting the market, all promising to make our lives easier, more fun, or simply more hassle-free. Increasingly, manufacturers are leveraging cutting-edge technology trends such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) to create gadgets that are smarter and more easily integrated into our lives.
While many of them might simply serve as variations that will quickly end up stashed away in a drawer or cupboard and rarely see the light of day, occasionally, one comes along which truly has the potential to impact our lives in a positive way.
So, I thought it would be a good idea to cast an eye over some of the most useful or intriguing devices that have appeared on my radar recently, including a few upcoming gadgets that are set to make their mark during the coming year. Some of them might be fun toys, some will be genuinely useful, and some might even be able to save your life!
Meta Quest 3 and Meta Quest Pro
Meta scored a hit with its Quest 2 virtual reality (VR) headset, enabling it to introduce almost 15 million of us to its version of the metaverse. Of course, we’ve always known that this was only the beginning, and soon we will see the introduction of two new headsets that will enable even more immersive and interactive virtual experiences.
The Meta Quest 3 will be the next iteration of the current consumer-focused headset line, probably sold at a subsidized price in order to bring more users into the ecosystem. The headset is expected to be an evolution, rather than a revolution, of the current Quest, lacking technology such as eye-tracking, which is expected to be present in the next generation of higher-end headsets. The Quest Pro, on the other hand, is aimed at productivity use for professionals who want to get involved with building the virtual worlds that will make up the metaverse.
Apple Watch Ultra
Apple has been making consumer smart watches for a few years now, but late 2022 saw the introduction of a new model designed to compete with the high-end sports and luxury models recently introduced by competitors such as Garmin and Tag Heuer. The Apple Watch Ultra is encased in a titanium shell, making it more hard-wearing and durable than any previous Apple Watch. It also has a brighter, scratch-resistant screen, a powerful proprietary S8 processor, and a battery that lasts almost twice as long between charges. New sensors include a depth gauge and water temperature sensors, both aimed at divers.
Did you know your urine contains more than 3,000 metabolites, which can be used to create an in-depth snapshot of our health, providing early warnings of a number of medical conditions as well as recommendations for diet and exercise? Smart device manufacturer Withings does, which is why it has created the U-Scan. This device is billed as the “first hands-free connected home urine lab” and sits in a toilet bowl, ready to collect samples whenever it is used. An optional “For Professionals” cartridge enables advanced data collection and analytics that can be used by doctors for long-term monitoring of day-to-day changes in patients’ health, as well as to collect data for clinical trials.
Lifeaz Home Defibrillators
While it’s nice that devices such as the Apple and Pixel Watches are starting to include sensors for conditions such as arterial fibrillation, which can be a predictor of heart problems, they can’t yet do anything about them. It is therefore good to see other manufacturers working on devices that can be used to directly intervene in medical emergencies. The Lifeaz Home Defibrillator is the first ever defibrillator designed to be kept in private homes and was unveiled at CES this year. Essentially, it enables us to put the power to pull someone out of what would otherwise be a fatal cardiac arrest into our own homes. Although it is still awaiting FDA approval in the US, it has reportedly been installed in over 100,000 European homes, where it has been used to save 17 lives.
Ring Always Home Drone Camera
The latest addition to Ring’s suite of smart home security devices is an autonomous drone designed to patrol your property, enabling you to have eyes on places that static security cameras just won’t reach. First teased back in 2020, the Always Home drone cam was finally shown in prototype form at this years’ CES. Although there are still no concrete details of when it will be available, reports suggest that it will cost around $250, which seems quite affordable for such a high-tech piece of home security gadgetry. As well as potentially alerting you to intruders, it could also come in handy for forgetful homeowners wanting to check that they didn’t leave the kitchen stove on or the windows open.
This is a “smart mask” that was first unveiled a few years back when there was a rush of technology-driven innovation aimed at solving problems caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Several iterations later, the Airxom mask is now billed as providing protection against viruses, bacteria, and atmospheric pollutants, thanks to its polyethylene terephthalate filters that trap particles inside meshed textile fabrics while deactivating them and rendering them inert through exposure to antiseptic and copper antibiotics, as well as ultra-violet light rays projected onto a photocatalytic silver surface. This process neutralizes threats posed by organic and non-organic pollutants as they pass through the mask.
Everyone knows we’re supposed to spend two minutes brushing our teeth, right? Well, not anymore! The SonicBrush is marketed as the world’s first fully automated toothbrush – meaning you don’t even have to move it around your mouth to get a perfect clean. Because it brushes every tooth in your mouth simultaneously, the manufacturers claim it can reduce the time we need to spend brushing our teeth from two minutes to just 30 seconds! This means we can enjoy a valuable one minute and 30-second snooze in bed both in the morning and at night. The SonicBrush was another innovative gadget unveiled for the first time at this year’s CES.
Lots of us have discovered the fun as well as the opportunities to capture stunning photography and video footage offered by drones in recent years. The latest offering from the leaders in the field of consumer drone technology, DJI, is aimed at those who want to experience the thrills of first-person flying. The DJI Avata is designed to provide a fully immersive flying experience via a wide field-of-view headset that truly imparts the feeling of high-speed flight from the airborne drone to the user on the ground. The motion controller mimics the feel of a joystick for intuitive hand control, while the rugged design helps to minimize the damage caused if you should happen to accidentally crash the drone.
Electric bikes provide a convenient and environmentally-friendly way to travel around city environments, but until now, they have often suffered from a lack of portability. The G4 from GoCycle, however, is among the first of a new wave of fully foldable electric bikes that can be converted into a more manageable form that’s easy to take onto public transport or even to pack away in a car for vacations or longer journeys. The G4 isn’t cheap, but as it has the power, portability, and performance necessary for it to become your main mode of transport (especially for those who live in urban areas), it may well be a justifiable investment.
Timekettle Translation Earbuds
Timekettle has created what it says is the most powerful and sophisticated range of real-time, AI-powered translation earbuds in the world. Coming in a range of models aimed at professional, casual, and travel users, the WT2, M3, and WT2 Plus earbuds enable translation in a range of situations, from business meetings, short conversations while traveling, and phone calls. This means that it’s possible to speak naturally and simply have the earbuds translate for you as you talk. The higher-end models allow up to six people to converse simultaneously, in 40 different languages, from Arabic to Vietnamese.
GE Profile Smart Mixer
A high-tech kitchen helper, the GE Smart Mixer automatically weighs out the correct quantity of ingredients thanks to its inbuilt scale and talks users through recipes with step-by-step instructions. Sensors detect the texture and consistency of mixtures to enable the device to offer real-time suggestions while preparing snacks and meals. It also integrates with Google and Amazon Echo devices meaning it can be fully voice-controlled.
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