Popcord Keyring Charging Cable

British Inventors ProjectOne of the few “tech” products at the British Inventors Project, the Popcord is a short USB charging cable which loops back on itself to hang on a keyring. As it’s on your keyring, you never leave it behind so any time your phone needs a charge, the Popcord is on hand.

Elegantly made from metal to complement the latest mobile devices, it’s available in six colours and two variants, one USB to micro-USB and the other USB to Lightning for Apple owners.

Popcord

It’s on pre-order at GB£29 or a little under US$42.50 and is expected to ship shortly.

Child Angel Keeps an Eye on Children

British Inventors Project

Continuing GNC’s coverage of the Gadget Show Live and the British Inventors’ Project, Child Angel is one of the smallest and most advanced child tracking device on the market. Made to be attractive to the child and easy to use in an emergency, the Child Angel wrist-mounted tracker provides accurate location monitoring by combining GPS, GSM and Wi-Fi hotspot triangulation.

Child Angel keeps children safe in three ways. First the parent can view the child’s location on a map using the Child Angel app on their smartphone or tablet (both iOS and Android). Second, the child can send a “Help Me!” alert by taking off the bracelet and third, an alert is raised if the child leaves a geo-fenced SafeZone.

The battery life is about 48 hours and the Child Angel can easily be recharged through the micro-USB. The Child Angel bracelet is available in different colours and can be customised with personalised covers, too.

The Child Angel should be available soon with a retail cost around £100.

Child Angel

Doddl Cutlery for Children

British Inventors ProjectChild-friendly products are fertile ground for inventors and it’s no surprise to see a number of ideas presented at Gadget Show Live as part of the British Inventors’ Project. Here is Doddl, a cutlery (flatware) set for children that has uniquely shaped handles to help the child hold the knife, fork and spoon.

Doddl improves co-ordination and control while promoting independent eating and develops motor skills, eventually easing the transition onto adult cutlery.

Doddl

Doddl will be pre-ordering on Kickstarter from Sunday 3rd May (though there is an older campaign on CrowdShed). Make eating a Doddl!

SafeSip Stops Spills

British Inventors ProjectSafeSip is a reusable drinks cover that fits almost any glass, mug, cup or can to stop spills. It’s a simple product that has myriad uses with children, the elderly, during travel, on picnics or in places where a liquid leak would be disastrous.

Made from food-grade silicone rubber, the SafeSip can be pulled over a wide range of drinking vessels, including fizzy drink (soda) cans, with a straw pushed through a self-closing hole in the SafeSip. It’s dishwasher safe, works with both hot and cold liquids, and comes in eight different colours. Another great product from the British Inventors’ Project at the Gadget Show Live.

SafeSip

The SafeSip is currently crowdfunding at CrowdShed.

EasiSpread Heated Butter Knife

British Inventors ProjectThe next invention from the British Inventors’ Project at the Gadget Show Live continues the culinary theme and aims to fix the eternal problem of spreading butter straight from the fridge. Introducing the EasiSpread heated butter knife.

The first implement in the EasiChef range of kitchen utensils, the EasiSpread heats the leading edge of the knife to a little under 40C, softening the butter and making it much easier to spread on bread or bagel. The knife is heated electrically and the built-in battery can be recharged in the optional EasiDock charging unit. The blade itself is detachable and dishwasher safe, and it is expected that additional implements will be available in the future, including a heated ice cream scoop. I’d buy that version – nothing worse that chiselling out ice cream at -25C when the fancy takes you!

EasiSpread

Gadget Show Live Quick Review

Gadget Show LiveYesterday’s trip to Gadget Show Live didn’t start off well: my flight to Birmingham airport was delayed for 2 hours because of fog. The knock-on effect was that I missed the photocall with the show’s presenters and the DeLorean from Back to the Future. Fortunately the press office issued a few official photos. Here’s the gang.

Presenters together - DeLorean

Starting on the show floor, I had a quick scout round. This year there seemed to be more independent stands and fewer mainstream stands. In previous years, Samsung, LG, Sony, Microsoft and Canon would have all had major stands but this time HP and Panasonic were the big names. Having said that, there were still plenty of recognisable brands; Western Digital, Tesla, Synology and Philips Hue to name a few. This year, the most popular products were around the smart home, with lighting from Philips Hue, security systems from Swann and domestic appliances from Panasonic.

Aside from the stands there were several areas for activities like robot wars and gadget-making but as it was the press and trade day, nothing much was happening in them.

Viewers of The Gadget Show might recognise some of the exhibits from recent programmes.

RoboJason

Rocket Sled

Spider Bots

There was a giant Rubik Cube too but I didn’t get a chance to play with it.

Rubik Cube

The British Inventors’ Project is an initiative to promote new product ideas and on show were everything from concepts to products ready to come to market. The winning product was OmniO Rider, a lightweight child’s buggy that folds up into a backpack. I interviewed most of the participants in the project so we’ll be hearing from the them later.

OmniO Rider

The Centre for Computing History had a stand with some old computer and consoles. Geeks of a certain age will remember these fondly – I had the Binatone in the foreground.

Historical Computers

Best product of the show for me was the HP Sprout. It’s a desktop PC that uses a touch-sensitive mat combined with a projector and cameras to create a really unique proposition. For example, place an object on the mat and the cameras will scan it to create a 3D model. It’s aimed at creatives but it could be so much more. I’d love to have one in the office just to read documents in a more natural way. Watch the video below to understand it better.

After 7 hours, 12,000 steps and 25 interviews, it was time to head home. I was done. Over the next few days, I’ll be publishing the interviews from the show, so stay tuned.

GNC Heads To Gadget Show Live

Gadget Show LiveThe UK’s Gadget Show Live kicks off tomorrow at the NEC in Birmingham and yours truly will be in attendance on behalf of GNC. Tuesday is the press day with the main show under way on Wednesday through to Sunday. The Gadget Show Live is as close as the UK gets to CES though it’s no small event. For comparison CES gets around 170,000 visitors while GSL will get around 80,000. It’s surprisingly big.

I’ll be touring the stands and getting some interviews – the exhibitor list is here – so if there’s a product you are interested in let me know either in the comments or via @andrewhpalmer on Twitter.

The winner of the British Inventors’ Project Award will be announced too and I’ll try to review some of the less well-known products that will be coming to market soon. And if I’m lucky, I might even bag an interview with Jason Bradbury or Otis Deley, stars of the eponymous TV show.

Time for bed now…it’s an early flight for me tomorrow!

Is the Apple Watch Edition Worth the $10K Investment?

The Apple Waapple watch editiontch launch day is rapidly approaching. While Apple’s entire smartwatch lineup is impressive, the most spectacular offering is the gold Apple Watch Edition. Ever since the initial announcement back in September, Apple fans worldwide have been speculating about one thing— how much will this luxury smartwatch cost? With a real gold frame and speciality gold-accented bands, we all knew the Edition was going to cost a fortune, and now we know the exact cost: a base price of $10,000, with the most expensive watch/band combination rounding out the lineup at a whopping $17,000.

While it’s safe to predict that the majority of Apple’s watch sales will come from the basic $349 Sport version and to a lesser extent the $549 stainless steel version, there will inevitably be a small percentage of society’s elite who will snag an Edition without hesitation. While most of us aren’t uber-famous socialites with millions to blow, there is something to be said about the value of investing in a precious heirloom watch that can be passed down through the generations. While at first glance the idea of spending $10,000 or more on a luxury Rolex may sound crazy, at least a Rolex will retain— and possibly increase— it’s value over time. With a battery replacement and/or tune-up every few years, that expensive Rolex will work just as well 10 years later as it did when it was first purchased, making it a worthwhile investment for those willing to take the plunge.

Even though they have the $10K price tag in common, there is a fundamental difference between a Rolex and an Apple Watch Edition. The Apple Watch is not merely a designer watch, it’s technology product, and the technology scene is constantly changing. Like an smartphone or tablet, a smartwatch is doomed by design to become outdated after a few years, meaning that those who want to enjoy the latest and greatest features have no choice but to upgrade or be left in the dust. It’s difficult for the average person to comprehend dishing out $10K for a watch that will only remain relevant for a year or two– you could buy 3 years’ worth of Apple Watch Sports for that price!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you boycott the entire Apple Watch lineup. The good thing about Apple’s watch strategy is that the specs and features are virtually identical across all versions of the Apple Watch. No matter which version you get, you’ll be able to enjoy health monitoring, GPS, Siri, dictation, heartbeat-sending, texting, and everything else the Apple Watch has to offer. Yes, the Edition looks nicer, but for a third of the price you can get all the same features in the $349 Sport version.

The bottom line is, unless you’re drowning in piles of money, the Apple Watch Edition simply isn’t worth the $10K price tag. You’re much better off buying the Sport or stainless steel version and saving hundreds of dollars than paying a fortune for the same thing plus a few ounces of gold.

Flic Gets Much Well-Deserved Coverage at CES

Flic logoIf you’ve followed our CES 2015 coverage at all, you’ve probably heard about Flic, the Bluetooth-enabled programmable button. One Flic button can be configured to perform multiple tasks with a simple series of (up to) three clicks.

Brian was the latest correspondent to stop by the Shortcut Labs booth and speak with a representative of Flic. Using the Flic app, users can program a simple button to do things like move thru music playlists, send GPS coordinates and more. Flic is available thru an ongoing Indiegogo campaign. Pricing varies, depending on how many buttons you’d like to buy.

Interview by Nick of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the TechPodcast Network.

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BeZilch Marketplace for Unwanted Tech

beZilch LogoFreshly-launched beZilch is a marketplace for the trade of unwanted tech in the space between the auction houses and the fixed price trade-in centres. Jared Hansen, Founder and CEO, sells it to Todd and Todd.

If you want the most money for unwanted gadgetry, generally an online auction is the way to go, but the auction takes time to run and the fees can be expensive. At the other end of the spectrum, fixed price trade-in centres give you the cash quickly but the price can often be quite low. beZilch proposes a middle ground where both buyers and sellers can post ads.

Say you want a phone for your careless kids; first you can check to see if anyone is selling a phone in the price range you are thinking about. If not, post that you want a Samsung S3 and you’ll pay $100 for it.

Sellers can then check out the ads and consider if they’re willing to sell at that price for a quick sale. If they’re not happy with the prices on offer, they can post an ad with the price they’re looking for. Both sides can see what’s on offer and beZilch lets people choose between convenience and money.

Transactions are secured by PayPal so both sides are covered and for sellers the auctions fees are a flat 4% – there’s no complicated fee structure.

It’s a neat idea and offers an alternative channel to the big sites that we’re all familiar with. Let’s hope it gets some traction.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Todd Aune of The Elder Divide for the TechPodcast Network.

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