Category Archives: Interview

Folding Playhouse at Gadget Show Live



Folding PlayhouseMy little girl loves playing outside but I’ve noticed over the years that many of her outdoor toys become damaged and discoloured from the elements of sun, wind and rain. While small toys can be put away in the shed, larger items have to stay outside to be battered about. Kev and the Folding Playhouse may have the solution for at least one garden toy and he tells me more about the development of the product from idea to the current concept model and plans for the future.

The Folding Playhouse is what it says. It’s an outdoor plastic playhouse that folds down, either for storage or for conversion into an arts and craft table. It folds in around 15 seconds and can be reassembled just as quickly. Once completely folded, the Playhouse is not only easier to store in the garage or shed, it can be taken in the back of a large family car for fun at friends’ and relatives’ houses.

Folding Playhouse Prototype

The picture above shows a 3D printed miniature version of the Folding Playhouse. The final version will be in bright colours, about 1.5 m high, 1.4 m wide, 1.3 m deep, with the potential to customise with stickers or decals. With all new products, feedback is vital and there’s been plenty of that at Gadget Show Live as part of the British Inventors’ Project.

Kev and his team have been in contact with toy companies worldwide to bring the Playhouse market and the expectation is that this would sell for under GB£200. There’s more information on the Folding Playhouse website, which has some interesting market stats – did you know that 30 million outdoor toys were sold in the UK in 2014 generating nearly £350 million in sales?


X2 Underwater Jetpack by Supermarinovation at Gadget Show Live



SupermarinovationEasily the best thing at Gadget Show Live, the Supermarinovation x2 is a “wearable personal underwater propulsion device” but it’s much more fun thinking of the x2 as an underwater jetpack. With only three main components – two arm-mounted thruster units and a battery backpack – the x2 brings Superman-like flight to swimmers and free divers. Shown as part of the British Inventors’ Project, Chris tells me about the x2 and its development from idea to product.

x2 Sport Underwater Jet Pack

Aimed at swimmers and snorkellers, the idea is to get down to the interesting bits of the ocean as quickly as possible to get as much bottom time before having to pop back up for air. With the two power units at full pelt, the x2 propels a swimmer at around 7 mph, which is fast for a person underwater. Playtime is about an hour, though this is more reflective of the swimmer’s capabilities rather than the x2 going flat out, and it’ll be depth rated down to 10m (33 feet). Most reefs are well within this depth.

The outer shells are all 3D printed and a small number of advanced prototypes have been sold with a full launch of the x2 anticipated later in the year. Prices are expected to be around GB£4,000 for the x2 Sport and £8,000 for the Pro version. I’ll take two for my superyacht.

Since Gadget Show Live, a new x2 has been announced, the x2 Compact, which attaches the propulsion units directly to the back battery pack. A fourth product called the Hammerhead is in the works too, which is held in front with both hands and then pulls the swimmer along. Check out the renders in the Facebook links above.


Moochew Baby Seat and Lunch Box at Gadget Show Live



Moochew LogoTravelling with children is akin to planning a military operation at times, with tons of gear and provisions catering for every eventuality. Looking to simplify maneuvers in the field, Moochew is a collapsible baby seat that doubles up as a cooler bag or lunch box. Taking part in the British Inventors’ Project at Gadget Show Live, Arun tells me more about the Moochew.

The Moochew is a backpack which can be filled with food, drink, wipes, nappies and toys ready for travel and adventures. The compartments are insulated to keep everything cool and once it’s time to eat, the Moochew unzips to change into a child seat which will attach to most standard chairs. Cleverly, the contents of Moochew can be extracted from the sides of the bag, so once the child is in the seat, he or she doesn’t need to be moved to get into the storage area. Genius!

Moochew Closed Moochew Open

The Moochew is available now for GB£39.99 from the webstore. My children are now a little too big for the Moochew but had it been around three years ago, I would definitely have bought one.


Azoi Kito+ Health Tracker at Gadget Show Live



kito_homepageOnly a slightly bigger than a credit card, the Azoi Kito+ is a personal health tracking device that measures ECG, heart rate (pulse), blood oxygen, skin temperature and respiration rate. I’ve seen the Kito tracker a couple of times now and every time I see it, I’m impressed that such a small device can gather so much data for so little money (GB£99). Miran from Azoi tells me more at Gadget Show Live.

The Kito+ works in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet to measure the five stats mentioned earlier. The user holds the Kito+ with both hands and two fingers from each hand rest on four measurement points for about 20 seconds, during which the time the Kito+ records the data and passes it on to the Kito app. In real-time the app shows the ECG graph trace and other figures are shown once they’ve stabilised.

Azoi Kito+

As can be seen from the picture, the Kito+ can be embedded into phone cases for the Apple iPhone 6-series of smartphone cases. It’s not essential and the Kito+ works fine outside of a case with Android or other Apple devices. The Kito+ isn’t tied to one person, so a whole family can share the unit.

The Kito+ is available now from Azoi’s webstore for GB£99, which I think is great value when you think of the technology and potential value of the data. I’ll be bringing a full review of the Azoi Kito+ to GNC in the next few weeks.


Stebles Carbon-Fibre Bike at Gadget Show Live



Stebles LogoContinuing GNC’s coverage of the British Inventors’ Project at Gadget Show Live, I met Mark of Stebles Bikes and his interesting road bicycle with carbon-fibre mudguards integrated into the bike frame. Mark tells me more about his new design and the problem it’s trying to solve.

As an enthusiastic cyclist himself, the thinking behind Mark’s idea was “more riding, less cleaning”. Often keen riders have two bikes, one with mudguards for rainy days and one without for better weather. Obviously it’s expensive to have two good bikes, so why not have one bike with streamlined, lightweight mudguards?

Stebles Bike

Mark used 3D printing to create the initial prototypes and the next stage is to produce the necessary aluminium molds for the frame parts. It’s an expensive business so Mark has a GoFundMe campaign if you want to support him and get the project to the next stage.

Looking to the future, a British-made version of the bike is likely to cost around GB£5,000 but Mark aims to get this cost down to make the bike affordable to wider range of riders.


VRGO Moves in VR at Gadget Show Live



VRGO logoAR and VR are lining up to be the next big thing and the headset space is filling out with plenty of competitors from Oculus Rift to Google Cardboard. Less obvious in the space are the motion controllers and other gadgets helping to make VR an immersive experience. Into this category falls the VRGO Chair, a hands-free motion controller that takes advantage of what we humans often do all too well – sitting down. Joe from VRGO gave me a demo of the VRGO Chair.

Originally a Kickstarter campaign, the VRGO was successfully funded back in December 2015, and won the second prize in the British Inventors’ Project at Gadget Show Live. Looking not too dissimilar to a flat-topped Weeble, the idea is that the VR player sits on the VRGO and controls their movement in the VR world by tilting or rotating the VRGO. It’s pretty cool and totally intuitive after only a few seconds.

VRGO Chair

The VRGO chair uses low latency Bluetooth to communicate with VR headsets, PCs, tablets and smartphones. The VRGO can mimic both analogue (joypad) and digital (keyboard) controllers, and simplistically the further you tilt, the faster you move. Sitting on the chair leaves the player’s hands free for other controllers.

The VRGO will be delivered to Kickstarter backers within the next month or so before going on sale at around GB£250. A lower cost version is in the works, aiming for a price of about £100.


Ohyo Folds Bag to Size at Gadget Show Live



Ohyo_400x400Several areas of the UK now charge for plastic grocery bags as a green tax and reusable shopping bags have become very popular. Mind you, carrying round a scrunched up bunch of old bags is never a good fashion statement. Fortunately Ohyo has designed a good-looking accessory which morphs from a pouch to a messenger bag before completely opening up as a shopping bag. Participating in the British Inventors’ Project at Gadget Show Live, I chat with Guy from Ohyo about his thing for folding.

Ohyo Folding Bags

Guy and Ohyo has worked with designer Felix Conran, the grandson of Sir Terence Conran, to create a flexible bag that changes shape to meet changing needs. The bag can be arranged into four different configurations, a tablet bag, messenger bag, a back-pack and a grocery bag. Available in four colours, the RRP is GB£79, but Ohyo are currently running a Kickstarter campaign where you can get in at £59. There’s just two days to go, so get in quick.

Ohyo have a track record in folding things – Guy’s previous invention was a collapsible bottle, which sold over 700,000 units and might be familiar to parents in Britain as it’s been previously sold in Marks and Spencer’s and Boots.


Milo Brings Home Faraway Parents at Gadget Show Live



Milo LogoWhile every parent wants to be home to see their children, sometimes work commitments and foreign travel prevent mummies and daddies being there for bedtime stories. Although it can’t give out cuddles, Milo is a friendly video messaging system that brings distant parents closer to home. Hannah and Emily take me through their plans for Milo at Gadget Show Live.

Milo

Milo is 15cm (6″) high toy lion, with a camera in his mane and a small LCD screen for his face. The idea is that absent parents record messages for the child on the Milo website, whether a good-night message, short story or simple loving reassurance. The child can play the video at bedtime (or other suitable moment) and then respond with a video message of his or her own.

MiloMilo can be provide additional fun through a treasure hunt when Milo’s face shows clues as to the whereabouts of small tokens. Once found, placing them on the lion’s savannah base will trigger a video message reward.

Shown as part of the British Inventors’ Project, Milo is still early in its life-cycle though it’s hoped to be on the market within two years at around GB£50.

Since Gadget Show Live, Hannah has contacted me to say that she has entered the Virgin Media Business VOOM Competition which offers funding, business advice and a chance to pitch to Richard Branson for the winner. To get past the first round she need as much help as possible as it’s a public vote to put people and their ideas through. You can see Hannah’s video pitch for Milo and vote him through.


BikeDeck Stores and Transports Bicycles for Modern Living at Gadget Show Live



BikeDeck LogoToday’s apartments and smaller houses aren’t always conducive to bicycle ownership. Bikes don’t stay upright, handlebars mark walls and transporting them can be awkward. They’re all wheels and finger-nips. Mark and Julie’s BikeDeck looks to solve these problems and I chat with him as part of the British Inventors’ Project at Gadget Show Live.

The BikeDeck is a free-standing bicycle storage and transport platform. It holds the bike in a upright, free-standing position or the BikeDeck can be hung on a wall (from a suitably strong hook). BikeDeck keeps the bike ready for transport as it can be wheeled it along like a trolley suitcase or lifted easily into a car.

It works with any bike which has quick release wheels, and with practice, an owner can get the bike onto the BikeDeck in around a minute. Almost any frame size can be accommodated as the BikeDeck’s sliding system adjusts to length.

BikeDeck

Currently in the prototype stage, BikeDeck is looking for partners to bring the product to the market.


Playbrush Brings Fun to Toothbrushing at Gadget Show Live



Playbrush LogoGood oral hygiene is important for everyone but getting children to brush their teeth can be a bedtime battle. Playbrush should help win the war, bringing fun into the bathroom. I get the toothpaste out with John to find out more about Playbrush and continue coverage of the British Inventors’ Project.

The Playbrush is small bulbous gadget that slips over the handle of a manual toothbrush and turns the toothbrush into a game controller. Communicating via Bluetooth, the toothbrusher plays a game “Utoothia” on their tablet or smartphone, encouraging correct brushing technique and duration. The Playbrush can be shared among a family with game apps supporting up to six people. It’s rechargeable and will last around four-to-six weeks on single charge, depending on use. The games are in both the Apple and Google app stores.

Playbrush with app

Originally a Kickstarter Project, the Playbrush launched back in November and is available now from the Playbrush store for GB£31 (says the store). There’s a bathroom kit for an extra £8 which is a vinyl pocket to hold the smartphone during brushing and keep it toothpaste free. It sticks to tiles or a mirror using suction cups.

I think this is neatly executed idea that’s very affordable, especially as it can be shared with more than one child, though I think Playbrush need a neutral colour that’s not blue or pink!