85 cool gadgets: Our pick of the best new tech for 2021 — BBC Science Focus Magazine

85 cool gadgets: Our pick of the best new tech for 2021 - BBC Science Focus Magazine Гаджет

Apple airpods pro

True to form, it’s taken Apple a couple of iterations to deliver a pair of wireless earbuds that justify the hefty price tag. In fact, it’s our pick for the best wireless earbuds.

The AirPods are still all-white, but a smarter, stubbier design means that you don’t look like you’ve stuck a pair of electric toothbrush heads in your ears anymore.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfN01GHoUowPUzHo1F7JcvQ

Unsurprisingly, The AirPods play best with Apple hardware with a setup that’s mercifully painless thanks to the new chip tech. Pull them out of the case and if your device is nearby, it will pair them up, giving you a quick glance at the battery status of the buds too.

Sound quality has stepped up a notch as far as offering something that’s more balanced. It’s not heavy handed with the bass and there’s a nicer sense of detail here. The headline grabber is the addition of active noise cancellation that will help drown out the world.

There’s even room to squeeze on controls into the stem and a very pocket-friendly case will quickly give them a battery boost. More features are on the way too, including surround sound support and the welcome addition of a smart switching mode to pair to the device you’re currently using, giving you more reason to keep them in.

£249

Apple watch 6

We’ve grown to love Apple’s smartwatch. It’s not just a great fitness tracker, it’s that rarest of things: a piece of tech that can actually change your life. The multitude of sensors on-board means the wristwatch can track your heart rhythm and it logs the data on your phone.

The Apple Watch will also keep an eye out if you fall or your pulse stops and alert emergency services if something’s awry. There are other variables it’ll track like your sleep, blood oxygen saturation and even heart rate variability, which scientists think could be a good indicator of your overall wellbeing.

The future’s bright for the Apple Watch too. A study involving 400,000 participants by researchers at Stanford University found that a smartwatch and phone could be effectively used together to spot atrial fibrillation in wearers, one of the most common heart issues in the UK, though it’s important to note that this feature hasn’t been implemented yet.

Similarly, Apple watches are being trialled as a means of remotely tracking the condition of patients with chronic conditions like asthma and heart disease and it’s even being deployed by the University of Washington’s School of Medicine to find out if it can predict the onset of flu or COVID-19 before a patient is aware of symptoms.

From £379

Arlo video doorbell

Offering a good balance between price, premium features, and usability, Arlo’s Video Doorbell is our top choice for the best video doorbell if you want a high-quality smart doorbell that works reliably without being annoying.

Its standout feature – telling the difference between people, animals, vehicles, and packages, and only sending you the notifications you want – means you don’t get an alert every time a strong breeze sends a plastic bag down the street.

Being able to create motion zones – so you get alerted only when someone (or the neighbour’s cat) is in them – and the option to turn off all alerts when you are home (using the location of your phone to figure this out) ensures a smart doorbell doesn’t become just another electronic annoyance but a useful security tool.

Along with some of the best quality video we tested and a nice square video shape that shows you more of your doorstep than most, we like that it has a built-in siren you can set off from the app if you spot someone suspicious.

Another thing that sets it on top of the pile is an answering machine option. While no one ever left us a message outside of testing – possibly because most people aren’t used to talking to a doorbell – we can see potential here as smart doorbells gain popularity.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcQUgam6HvN1SruRi469ViQ

£179

Balmuda the toaster

Okay, so if I spent this much on a toaster, my bank would call me to check for fraud, but since I’ve discovered the Balmuda steam toaster my toast has started to taste like plywood.

This Tokyo-based tech company specialises in perfecting kitchen gadgets, and it’s gone to town on the humble toaster. Balmuda says its oven uses: “steam technology and precise temperature control to bring out the best in very kind of bread”. I apologise now to all past bread for failing to help you reach your fullest potential.

Anyway, the oven turns five millilitres of water into steam, and wafts it over the bread in three controlled temperature phases. The first low-temp phase ‘restores interior fluffiness’, the second starts the Maillard reaction, turning the bread golden, and the final phase (220°C) turns it brown.

It can do the same for other foods too, reheating yesterday’s pizza without drying it out. Excuse me while I go have a very long conversation about why I need to spend £200 on a toaster with my other half.$300 (£238 approx)

Flare calmer

What are the most annoying sounds you can think of? Nails scratching down a chalkboard? Car alarms? It could be that our ears, through thousands of years of evolution, are sort of designed to find these sounds particularly unpleasant to act as a warning that danger is imminent.

That’s great for our ancient ancestors, listening out for prowling sabre-tooth tigers, but for us modern humans it’s just plain annoying. In fact, according to audio specialists Flare, the shape of the eardrum itself acts as a bell, adding 20db of distortion-causing resonance.

This irritating distortion could impact on our mental and physical wellbeing, so the idea behind the Flare Calmer earplugs is that they change the shape of the eardrum to cut out the particularly annoying distorted frequencies between 2,000-8,000 Hz.

So does it work? Well, it’s hard to tell how much earplugs can reduce your overall stress in the midst of a global pandemic, protests in the streets and the ever-present threat of a toddler walking into your Zoom meetings, but what is certain is that after using them almost constantly for a few weeks now, there are definitely benefits to having them in.

For a start, it is noticeable that the very worst day-to-day frequencies are reduced, and this has the knock-on effect that they are ultimately less annoying. The same can be said when you have them underneath headphones, and although they change the sounds slightly, it makes music a little warmer and notches down the intensity.

Gouthwaite backpack 23l

The brand behind this roll top bag is called Bear and its founders have a mission: to get more people outside to talk about their mental health. Sales from each bag will be funding free outdoor workshops from fly fishing to foraging to off-road cycling. Shoppers just have to sign up to their mailing list to find out when courses start.

In the meantime, while we’re all stuck mostly indoors, Bear will donate 10 per cent of sales to The Outward Bound Trust. On top of that, the company is carbon negative, relying on recyclable, fossil fuel-free materials where possible and carbon-offsetting the rest.

The actual bags are pretty smart too. There’s a quick release buckle holding the top together, which is the same one used by the rescue services, and the waxed canvas is made in Scotland without the use of PFCs (the chemicals typically used in waterproof coatings) which can wash off materials and end up in waterways.

£165, bearmade.co.uk

Harman kardon aura studio 3 bluetooth speaker

Back in 2000, Apple partnered with Harman Kardon to create its iconic SoundStick speakers. Jonny Ive (you might have heard of him) is credited with the design and the product has been a hit ever since. In fact, you can still buy SoundSticks today.

Now, Harman Kardon has updated the original to create something that sits more comfortably at the heart of your home. The glass dome houses a 360-degree Bluetooth speaker system which fires audio in all directions, so you can plonk it in the middle of your living room and hear it equally well wherever you’re sat.

There are also LEDs inside the glass dome, so that the speaker can double as an ambient light. If it sounds half as good at it looks, it’ll be another hit.

£279, harmankardon.co.uk

Hyperx wireless gaming setup

HyperX are big names in gaming peripherals (they even have their own esports arena in Las Vegas), so it’s no wonder their kit maxes out on quality and features. Their suite of wireless gear doesn’t disappoint.

First up you’ll need 7.1 headphones, and the HyperX Cloud Fight S ­­headset has some seriously good surround sound. You can control chat/audio balance from the headset itself, ideal for those vital mission strategy briefings without interrupting play, and the swivelling ear cups on the headset allows them to sit comfortably around your neck for when you need a breather (or snack).

The butter-like softness of the leatherette and memory foam innards makes them plush and extremely easy to wear, even for all-day and night gaming marathons, and is weighted enough so that it’s stable when sitting on the charging pad, but not too heavy that it becomes uncomfortable after a few hours of continuous wear.

The reassuringly familiar design of the HyperX Pulsefire Dart mouse is ergonomic and has satisfying leatherette side grips. It’s weighty and feels ‘solid’ in your hand, but does an excellent job of gliding effortlessly across your desk surface, and the fun part – you can customise the RGB lighting using the NGENUITY software.

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Lg oled 48cx display

OLED display tech has been around for a while now, but it’s generally been expensive to manufacture and buy. That said, I’m a big fan of the tech because OLED panels provide life-like picture quality thanks to the way they work.

In a traditional LED display, a light is shone through coloured crystals to create a picture. This backlight as a source of illuminations means that dark areas can never truly be black in and LED display. In an OLED display, the coloured crystals themselves light up as electricity passes through them which removes the need for a backlight, meaning the display can recreate inky blacks and generate an accurate picture full of contrast.

LG’s new 49-inch is one of the most affordable OLEDs we’ve seen, and it doesn’t scrimp on features or specs either.

From £1,499, buy now from Amazon UK, Currys or Selfridges

Nowlight self-powered lamp

However good your camping gadgets are, it’s a simple fact of life that at some point (probably the worst point) they’re going to run out of juice. Rather than filling your backpack with a plethora of spare batteries, the NowLight is a hand-cranked instant charger that with a minute of tugging the attached chord can power your phone for 15 minutes.

But what really sets this apart from other chargers is the fact that it also doubles up as a 160-lumen lamp, which is more than bright enough to light up any jamborees once the campfire has died out. You can also attach up to six satellite lamps to light up the inside of even the most cavernous of tents.

The device itself is about the size and weight of a small bag of sugar, and set up is easy – basically, just attach the chord and crank – but if all that tugging isn’t your thing, it comes with a solar charger to soak up some of the Sun’s eco-friendly energy. – AM

£99, deciwatt.global

Nuraloop headphones

What if your earphones could give you a hearing test and tune your equaliser to reflect the frequencies you are most, or least, sensitive to? That’s the idea behind the Nuraphone, which we first tested a few years back in headphone format.

During setup, the original Nuraphones would fire out a range of frequencies and then measure your ear’s response to each of them, building a sound profile that perfectly equalises the output to your hearing. The company has now shrunk their clever tech and shaped it into a set of Bluetooth earphones called the NuraLoop.

They’re packed full of all the other tech you’d expect – like active noise-cancelling and touch controls – but there are a few extra smart touches, like the magnetic analogue jack that lets you connect to your earphones with wires, or the smart on/off feature that automatically switches them on when you put them around your head.

But most importantly it’s the sound that really sets these apart. Like the Nuraphones before them, what you hear is nothing short of exceptional, especially for a pair of headphones under £200, with everything wonderfully balanced, letting sounds you didn’t know even existed drift into the mix.

The only EQ option you have (or really need) is an Immersion setting, which is basically a bass boost. Of course, all this goes to pot as soon as you listen to someone else’s sound profile, but then that’s sort of the point. We all have different ears and respond to different frequencies, so the fact that my partner’s profile sounds like a swampy mess to me suggests that yes, maybe I did spend far too much of my youth turning it up to 11. – AM

Philips 558m1ry display

If you end up using your TV for gaming more than, well, watching TV, then you might want to consider one of a new breed of displays built for consoles. This model from Phillips boasts an ultra-fast response time (4ms) at ultra-HD resolution, which means you’ll have no excuses left when you’re sniped by an energy-drink-riddled 12-year-old from the other side of the map.

If Animal Crossing is more your pace, then this model is also kitted out with a rather neat speaker system along the base built by British Hi-Fi stalwarts Bowers and Wilkins, which will make the game’s lilting trumpet melody all the more soothing for your soul.

£1,199, Philips.co.uk, buy now from Amazon UK or Currys

Snoo smart sleeper

Babies are fickle little things – one moment they’re all snoozy woozy curled up in bed, and the next they’re bawling little demons for absolutely no apparent reason. For parents there is no more entertaining time of day for them to partake in this little pastime of theirs than in the middle of the night, so anything that can claw back a few moments of sleep before the next round of stinky nappies and thrown-up milk is welcome.

The SNOO smart bassinet claims to soothe your baby back to sleep in just 30 seconds through a combination of white noise and adaptive rocking, which gets more vigorous the more the baby cries. I say claims, as giving it a spin with number two (yey me) didn’t go entirely to plan.

For the SNOO to work, the baby has to be wrapped in a special swaddle that clips to the bassinet to stop them from rolling around as it rocks back and forth. Said baby was not cool with swaddling. We did eventually manage to get him in, and actually, once the SNOO was in full swing he seems pretty content with the situation (or maybe confused), but ultimately the little fella never really had any issues sleeping in the first place (again, yey me). Ironically our first child would probably have loved it…

Unsurprisingly, with celebs like Beyoncé, Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman giving it a big thumbs up, this is a full-on luxury parenting product, and having passed a keen eye over a number of cribs in my time, is easily one of the best looking, but can you really afford to spend the best part of £1,000 at this point in your life?

£995

Sonos arc soundbar

Offering up a hard-to-beat balance of features, design, ease of use and performance, the Sonos Arc, the company’s first Atmos soundbar, is an easy product to love. There are very few soundbars out there that do so much so well. In fact, it’s our pick for the best soundbar.

No matter what you’re watching, it sounds superb. There’s a stunning clarity to dialogue, a fullness to bass and stacks of detail across the frequency range. But when you listen to an Atmos soundtrack, you really hear the added breadth and depth you’d expect from a more immersive 3D soundstage, with sound effects that are placed precisely around and above you, delivered by the Arc’s carefully angled drivers.

Of course, it’ll fit into a wider Sonos multi-room system if you have other Sonos speakers, or act as a superb sound system on its own for crisp, expressive music playback. Its size means you’ll probably want a 55-inch TV or larger though, as it’ll dwarf anything smaller.

£799

The smartest gadgets a man can buy in 2021

To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, tech moves pretty fast – and if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss the chance to own a drone with a 12 megapixel camera which starts hovering when it recognises your face. So keep up with our weekly pick of the best gadgets and tech out right now, whether you’re after something simple to make your every day more frictionless or something a bit special. To be specific, the ‘something a bit special’ is a tennis kitbag that also fires tennis balls at you.

6Beats Studio Buds

SHOP

We’ve managed to get our hands on a pair of Beats’ new true-wireless Studio Buds, set for release this summer, and we’re thoroughly impressed by the full package. First of all, they’re super comfortable – small but secure and well designed, suitable for exercise/manic sprints to catch the train (even without over-ear hooks). The audio quality is great, ditto the active noise cancelling capability and, perhaps most importantly, the price – they’re far more affordable than many rivals with similar specs. Sleek charging case, too.

Beats Studio Buds, £129.99

13Honor Band 6

SHOP

Smartwatches are getting more and more sophisticated with each passing year, and the prices often reflect that. But what if you just want the most essential fitness features? What then? Well, there are plenty of budget models that offer just that, and we’re big fans of the Honor Band 6. The design is unobtrusive, understated and super comfortable, with a 1.47″ AMOLED touchscreen and a tasteful selection of strap colour options. Feature-wise, it automatically picks up the type of work-out you’re on and offers a selection of plans, while blood oxygen, sleep and heart rate monitors ensures you’re always on top of your health. The battery life lasts for fourteen days (or ten days on heavy usage), which is pretty impressive too.

Honor Band 6, £41.76

20Amazfit T-Rex Pro

SHOP

Not everyone needs a supercomputer on their wrist. Sometimes you just need something that does the simple stuff very well and stands up to the elements. The super tough Amazfit T-Rex Pro is a true adventure watch – not only does it guide you around, track your workouts and measure your blood-oxygen, but it also boasts a vast array of outdoorsy features, including a weather tracker, a sunrise and sunset monitor, a moon phase display, a compass and barometric altimeter (for altitude). What’s more, it has a frankly ludicrous 18-day battery life.

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Amazfit T-Rex Pro, £139, amazon.co.uk

21NACON PS4 Stereo Gaming Headset

SHOP

Lockdown is lifting, the sun is on its way, and you know what that means: time to staple the curtains shut and set up a proper gaming rig. When it comes to headsets, you don’t need to splash out on military-grade tech – these NACONs, designed for the PS4 but compatible with PCs and Macs, are more than up to the job, and look cleaner than your average pair of tins. Comfortable, adjustable, and truly affordable.

NACON PS4 Stero Gaming Headset, £24.99, selfridges.com

26RHA TrueControl ANC Earphones

SHOP

Engineered in Glasgow, RHA’s noise-cancelling TrueControl ANC earphones deliver crisp, detailed sound while two microphones record the outside world and produce anti-noise to drown it out. There’s a useful app, too, on which you can customise the EQ, your ambient sound and track down exactly where that other earbud went to. A word of warning: if you’ve got tiny little ears, these can get a little sore if you’re wearing them for ages; they’re very carefully designed to wedge neatly into your ear, but they’re not small. If you don’t know if you’ve got tiny little ears, you’ll soon find out.

RHA TrueControl ANC, £249.49

29Polar Vantage V2

SHOP

The Vantage V2, from Finnish sport tech brand Polar, is a satisfyingly lightweight and minimalist fitness tracker that takes a 360 approach to health. As well as drilling down into your running, swimming and cycling sessions, it also comes with tools that help you to identify if you’re straining yourself too hard – helping you to avoid injuries and dispiriting setbacks. You’ll also get full access to the brand’s data-driven program, Polar Flow, which keeps track of all of your training stats. That’s not to mention the 40 hours of battery life, advanced wrist-based heart monitor, mindfulness tools and more.

Polar Vantage V2, £449

37Chipolo One Bluetooth Key Finder

SHOP

In the immortal words of Mr. Zip: Have you ever been in this situation where you lost your keys and your mobile phone? Where me keys? Where me phone? Where me keys? Where me phone?

Of course you have! Too many times. But worry not, because we have just the thing to help you. The Chipolo, made from recycled fishing nets, emits a 120db loud sound that help you find your keys, phones and other valuables. What’s more, the battery life lasts up to two years and is easily replaceable. An affordably priced device that could come in very, very handy.

Chipol One Bluetooth Key Finder, £29, amazon.co.uk

39Nurvv Run

SHOP

If you’ve ever wanted to improve your running form, or even just get a deeper overview of your work-outs than smartwatches can provide, then the Nurvv Run is here to help. Slip a pair of smart sensor insoles into your running shoes, connect them to GPS and your mobile phone, and be on your way. By the end of your run you’ll be treated to a deep breakdown of your cadence, foot strike, balance, pronation, step length and more. Then, with the help of biomechanics and coaching, you can work towards fixing any faults, fine-tuning your approach and, perhaps most importantly, avoiding injury.

NURVV Run Insoles & Coaching App, £249.99, nurvv.com

40Harman Citation 200

SHOP

A new portable speaker coming for Sonos’s crown, the Citation 200 has a lot going for it. First of all, Harman’s model is £100 cheaper than the Move while still maintaining premium sound quality and a good selection of features (Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay and Chromecast). Unlike the modern, all-black, minimalist Move, the Citation 200’s wool fabric overlay (available in black or grey, by Kvadrat) blends perfectly with softer, more neutral furniture, a good thing for music fans with mid-century or Scandi-inspired rooms. The rechargeable battery life is also impressive: a full 8 hours, making it perfect for outdoor use (as does its IPX4 splash-proof construction).

Harman Citation 200, £279, harmankardon.co.uk

41Sony Walkman NW A105

SHOP

It’s a tough sell, in many ways. A walkman in the age of smartphones. Nobody can say that Sony’s upgraded NW-A105 is born out of necessity, but we’d argue that it certainly has its benefits for any music fan who wants to take a much-needed detox from their apps, texts and emails. Running on Android 9, the 16GB device plays almost any audio format – including high-standard FLAC files – which makes this sleek machine a perfect option for enthusiasts who want to listen to their music in the highest quality possible, without any distractions. The battery life isn’t quite as good as it could be, and there’s no 2.5mm port for serious audiophiles, but all in all it’s a great way to enjoy your music without being drawn into the endless scroll of your Twitter feed.

Sony Nw-A105, £199, amazon.co.uk

42Fitbit Sense

SHOP

In the minds of millennials, fitness and wellness are the yin and yang of a balanced lifestyle. Sitting down to practise your breathing can, in theory, be just as beneficial as puffing your way through a 10k. To that end, the Fitbit Sense, with its temperature, stress, blood oxygen, sleep and fitness trackers, aims to cover all the bases. The new heart rhythm sensor – an ECG app that helps to assess your ticker for atrial fibrillation – is particularly impressive, ditto the stress sensor (in which you place your palm over the face of the watch and track changes over time) and guided meditation features. It also takes blood oxygen levels while you sleep, and the fitness apps are as good as ever. A great all-rounder for anyone who wants to take care of their physical and mental health.

Fitbit Sense, £255.23, amazon.co.uk

43Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit

SHOP

Japanese gaming giants Nintendo have been dabbling with augmented reality for decades, and it hasn’t always worked out for the best. Rest assured, though, that Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is just as fun and subtly ground-breaking as it looks. The pack provides a kart and character (we got Mario, the standard, although other models are available), as well as cardboard props that enable you to create a track around your living space. The kart itself hosts a camera, which you can view through your Nintendo Switch screen as you race around rooms (using the Switch’s controls). Different tracks within the game itself introduce AR enemies, power-ups, themes and obstacles, and while we haven’t tried racing against other players yet, we assume it will equal measures fun and violent. A game that has the power to transport anyone right back to their childhood, by way of the laundry room.

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, £74.99, amazon.co.uk

46Slinger Bag

SHOP

Full of the joys of summer, you decide to finally organise that tennis match with your friends. But you haven’t practised in years, and so every ball ends up in the net or a distant car park. After an hour of sweat-soaked frustration, you throw a McEnroe and retire to the pub. Same time next year?

But before then, you should probably get some practise in. Introducing the Slinger Bag: a tennis ball launcher and your best friend on the court. A transportable suitcase that carries 72 balls and all kinds of tech (including a remote), you can control the speed, frequency and angle of the shots to ensure that you’re ready for any situation. There’s also room for all your gear, and it has a camera holder that will enable you to analyse your form (with a phone charger attached, to make sure it can go a full session). The telescopic ball tube will make easy work of pick-up, too.

From £780

49REBO Wall

SHOP

Who needs mates when you’ve got a wall? In the sport-less age of social distancing, the weather-proof REBO Wall is an ultra-premium way to keep fit and sharpen your tennis, football and cricket skills. With a high-density sound insulation core made from 70% recycled material, you can shift the astroturf wall’s angle to prepare yourself for any shot and increase your reaction speed with hundreds of drills. It’s also backed by a number of famous tennis trainers who offer private online sessions with the device. Take a look at Andy Murray making use of his own Rebo here.

Rebo Wall, starting at £9,995

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Trust gxt 258 fyru streaming microphone

A good microphone is not something most laptops come shipped with, so if you are going to be shouting at your screen mid frag or recording your latest acoustic jams, you need to invest in a better mic.

The Fryu is primarily aimed at streamers and gamers, and as all good gaming peripherals should be, is sturdy and black, with LEDs that you can change colour depending on your mood with the push of a button.

Inside the cylindrical unit are three microphones pointing in different directions, so you can pick between cardioid for recording your own voice sans background noise, stereo, face-to-face or omnidirectional, which will pick up 360 degrees of sound.

Streamers (or people like me who spends most of their time on Zoom calls these days) will appreciate the zero-latency monitoring, and anyone who does podcasting (also like me) will be thankful for the multi-directional recording for all potential interviewing situations. It also has a universal screw mount so you can easily adapt it to any kit you already have.

Of course, what you really want to know is how good it sounds. Well, the proof is in the pudding really, as since the coronavirus lockdown I’ve been using it to record the Science Focus Podcast – listen to theseepisodes to get an idea.

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At this price point, it’s a really good mic for streaming and recording audio. The sound quality is clear, with the internal pop filter clearing out any annoying P and F sounds, and the mic is sensitive enough to pick up the scampering other people in the house if you have it to the right settings. – AM

£119.99

Ultion smart lock

Got a house stacked with cool gadgets? Great, but how secure is it – specifically, the door? With that in mind, the gateway to your veritable Aladdin’s Cave of goodies should not only be safe, but also smart.

If you’re into ‘lock stats’, you’ll be pleased to hear the Ultion SMART lock features an 11 pin internal system and a potential 294,970 key combinations, as well as a lockdown mode if it gets attacked. For the non lock-aficionados out there, Ultion has stuck a £1,000 guarantee on it, which sounds like they’re pretty confident of its security credentials.

If turning a key is too much for you, the motorised lock will turn with but a gentle tap, and for the seriously lazy you can ask Apple or Amazon’s voice assistants Siri and Alexa to do it for you, hands-free. Similarly, it can automatically lock or unlock when a trusted person is near using GPS and Bluetooth.

The whole thing is battery operated (and should last well over a year) and doesn’t require any cables or drill to install, just a screwdriver. And on top of all that, as far as door locks go,  it looks rather fetching too.

From £229, ultion-lock.co.uk

Vaonis vespera smart telescope

The Vespera takes the work out of stargazing. The scope takes the images hitting its sensors and sends a live-view to your smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi. This means you can set up the telescope outside (it has a four-hour battery life), jump under the covers and tour the Universe.

The app presents a list of cosmic points of interest to point the telescope towards, like the birth of a star, and the motors and GPS aboard the telescope point the lens in the right direction. From there you can watch the view live, take stacks of photos to reveal more detail and share what you’re seeing with friends.

You can even schedule observations if you want to capture something while you’re asleep. Right now you’ll have to wait til 2022 to get your hands on a ‘scope, but it’s bigger sibling, the Stellina, is on sale now.

Withing scanwatch

Studies show fitness watches can make it easier to keep fit. Health tech company Withings has been making great-looking, fitness monitoring gadgets for years and their latest watch is no exception.

The ScanWatch’s traditional clockface hides some of the most advanced tech we’ve seen in a smartwatch yet. The medical grade ECG and oximeter take continual readings to provide a measure of the health of your heart and respiratory system. It’s looking for signals that might suggest you suffer from arrhythmia or apnoea, conditions that affect millions of Brits and for a large number of people go undiagnosed.

It’s also got automatic activity detection on board, that’ll spot what type of exercise you’re doing and GPS to log the routes you take for apps like Strava. Withings say its watch is water resistant up to 50 metres deep and so it’ll handle a dip in the pool or, in our case, the sink.

Our favourite thing about the watch by far though is its battery life which, though your mileage may vary, will last around 30 days between charges. We’re also particularly fond of the vibrating, silent alarm too which gets you out of bed without waking the other half.

From £209.29

Yoto player interactive audio player

Cassettes were great, weren’t they… Ok, the sound was rubbish, you couldn’t skip tracks and they never lasted too long before they were gobbled up by the tape monster (you know what I mean), but as a kid I used to love listening to stories on them.

For me there was something deeply satisfying about slotting the tapes into the player, pressing play and getting lost in a ripping yarn, and the Yoto Player is a modern-day equivalent just as tactile and exciting. Except it sounds good.

Instead of tapes, this groovy little audio player works by slotting in cards, each of which contains a story to listen to. There are loads of classic tales to pick from, such as The Gruffalo and Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as other cards with podcasts, radio and activities on.

Whatever the circumstances, keeping kids entertained without having to resort to a tablet can be a struggle, so the Yoto Player is a definitely one of the better ways to keep their little minds whirring and imagination sparked.

As of July, for £12.99 Yoto also run a monthly subscription package which, amongst other treats, sends you two new cards to listen to every month, a postcard and an ever-growing colouring art piece to keep those creative juices flowing. – AM

Постоянно онлайн или как гаджеты изменили нашу жизнь

11-11-2021 08:30

Мы живем в эпоху науки и техники, где появляются инновации и новые изобретения. Некоторые становятся успешными, а некоторые из них терпят неудачу, поскольку требования потребителей жесткие, а конкуренция очень высока и сейчас невозможно представить себе нашу жизнь без различных электронных устройств, которые называют гаджетами.

Гаджет ( англ.gadget-устройство, приспособление) представляет из себя инструмент предназначенный для облегчения и усовершенствования жизни человека. С помощью этих продуктов повседневные дела становятся легкими и интересными.

В настоящее время нет ни одной задачи, которую не смогут выполнить гаджеты. Никто не может отрицать тот факт, что гаджеты не только упростили нашу жизнь, но и сделали ее более функциональной и роскошной. Мы не можем вообразить себе жизнь без ноутбука, смартфона,  микроволновки и т. д. Гаджеты не только улучшают мир, они даже развлекают нас и могут являться неотъемлемой частью нашего досуга. Слово гаджет сегодня больше, чем мы можем представить, ведь они уже давно применяются даже в медицине.

85 cool gadgets: Our pick of the best new tech for 2021 - BBC Science Focus Magazine

Средства практически мгновенной связи позволяют нам чувствовать себя гораздо ближе к семье и друзьям. Мы можем в любое время поговорить с ними, обменяться новостями, попросить совета или помощи. Причём пообщаться визуально, с помощью видеочата. Мы можем поддерживать связь со своими детьми, даже если не можем быть рядом с ними. Это гораздо важнее, чем кажется на первый взгляд.

85 cool gadgets: Our pick of the best new tech for 2021 - BBC Science Focus Magazine

Благодаря развитию мобильных технологий стал возможен и столь бурный рост социальных сетей, наблюдающийся сегодня. Без мобильного интернета, смартфонов и планшетов мы были бы полностью зависимы от стационарных компьютеров, как и от стационарных телефонов. В современном мире такое даже сложно представить.

Но задумывались ли, как гаджеты влияют на вас, насколько сильно вы зависимы от них и как они изменили ваши повседневные привычки?

Мы часто ощущаем, что наш телефон звонит, хотя это совсем не так. В исследовании, опубликованном  в журнале «Компьютеры и Человеческое Поведение» ученые обнаружили, что 89% из 490 опрошенных студентов сообщили о присутствии ощущения «фантомных вибраций». Раз в две недели они сталкиваются с физическим ощущением того, что их телефон вибрирует в кармане, хотя достав его, они понимают, что это ощущение было ложным. Опрос других социальных групп выявил аналогичные результаты.

85 cool gadgets: Our pick of the best new tech for 2021 - BBC Science Focus Magazine

Одна из теорий предполагает, что такие физические ощущения как зуд или позыв почесаться, теперь могут быть неправильно истолкованы нашим мозгом и приняты за вибрирующий телефон. В общем, что-то в нашем сознании срабатывает по-другому, чем всего несколько лет назад.

Еще исследователи выявили такую фобию как «страх упустить». Они определили это как «смесь тревоги, неадекватности и раздражения, которая может возникнуть во время просмотра фрэндленты в социальных сетях», что же, весьма правдоподобно.

Конечно и раньше, задолго до facebook и Instagram, люди, которые решили провести субботний вечер с бокалом сухого и интересной книгой, ощущали, что можно было бы провести вечер несколько иначе. Теперь же, не без помощи социальных сетей, это чувство усугубляется в сотни раз благодаря новостям о бушующих вечеринках коллег, бесконечных видео друзей, залпом выпивающих текилу. Даже если вы никогда бы в жизни не стали бы подобным образом развлекаться, вы все равно ловите себя на мысли, что: «Может я действительно, что-то пропускаю в этой жизни?» Это и есть страх упустить.

Все больше людей стали брать с собой в кровать планшет или смартфон. Кто-то считает, что лечь спать, не побив рекорд в flappy bird — зря прожитый день, кто-то привык смотреть перед сном серию — другую любимого сериала, ну а многие банально до последнего не могут расстаться с социальной сетью.

85 cool gadgets: Our pick of the best new tech for 2021 - BBC Science Focus Magazine

Собираясь прочитать одну статью в интернете, мы продолжаем переходить по бесконечным ссылкам, желая проверить наличие новых сообщений в соцсетях, мы бесцельно прокручиваем новостную ленту, содержание половины которых тут же забываем. Подобные действия мы повторяем раз за разом: вдруг появилось что-то важное, а мы пропустили? В результате время, проведённое в электронных устройствах, складывается в целые часы, украденные у самих себя.

Наш образ жизни меняется, мы взаимодействуем через технологичных посредников, но это вовсе не значит, что мы утратили привычные для нас способы общения, способы поиска информации или времяпрепровождения. Технологии лишь налаживают связи, все остальное по-прежнему «в наших руках».

Попробуйте не открывать телефон каждую свободную минуту и почаще вспоминать, что вокруг нас есть реальный мир и близкие люди, живое общение с которыми не заменит ни что.

Еще в прошлом веке великий американский писатель-фантаст Айзек Азимов предрекал наличие в каждой квартире компьютерной розетки, из которой можно будет получить ответ на любой вопрос. Вот уже как 20 лет человечество пользуется такой возможностью, практически забыв дорогу в библиотеку. К сожалению, все чаще для ответа на не самый сложный вопрос мы задумываемся о компьютере, а не о попытке напрячь извилины.

85 cool gadgets: Our pick of the best new tech for 2021 - BBC Science Focus Magazine

Влияние гаджетов на нашу жизнь глубокое и неоспоримое. Вот только хорошее это влияние или плохое зависит от нас самих. Только мы можем решать, будут они способствовать нашему развитию или деградации. Выбор за каждым из нас.

Фото: engadget.com, bublbe.com, world-gadgets.ru, mke.ee

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