Monday 14 August 2017

August 2017: my 'gadget guru' tech for TRE Talk Radio Europe

Here's a quick reminder of the technology from my August 2017 'gadget guru' chat on TRE Talk Radio Europe this afternoon:

Amabrush automatic toothbrush

Much like an electric toothbrush, this is powered by a rechargeable battery – but that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. The Amabrush looks more like a gum shield crossed with a dummy. Never mind the looks, though: this, the inventors reckon, will clean your teeth in just ten seconds.

The mouthpiece is flexible to fit different sized mouths and is made of antibacterial silicone. There are bristles on both sides to clean your teeth – and you can clean the brush itself by rinsing it under a tap. The bristle part of the mouthpiece will need replacing every three months or so at a cost of around €6.

If there’s more than one person in your house who wants to use the Amabrush, each can buy their own mouthpiece and share the vibrating control unit to keep costs down.

The company is currently taking pre-orders (via crowd-funding site Indiegogo) with an estimated delivery date of February next year. Pricing for a basic unit is €89 + €15 shipping to Europe, although you can pay a bit more and get a version that uses a wireless charger instead of the plug-in type.

Smarter FridgeCam

For a few years some companies have been talking about a ‘smart fridge’ that’ll help you keep track of the food you buy. Instead of designing a new fridge, one company has built a wireless camera that’ll fit inside almost any fridge... which is a whole lot cheaper. The company is called Smarter, the device is the FridgeCam – and the UK price when it comes out next month is expected to be just under £100.

What does FridgeCam let you do? Well, it connects to an app on your phone and lets you check the contents of your fridge from pretty much anywhere. As well as doing this, it’ll also help you track expiry dates, it’ll let you know when things are running out and it can even suggest recipes based on the things you’ve bought.

As well as reminding you when expiry dates are getting close, it can add products to your online shopping basket when they’re used up and it can even remind you to buy items if you’re going past the local shops.

It’s not actually a live camera – you can’t look inside your fridge when the door’s closed, not least because the light goes out – what is does is take photos when you put something in or take it out. This means its rechargeable battery lasts for a few months before you need to take the camera out and recharge it.

Drifter wireless loudspeaker

The loudspeaker in your phone isn't very big, so if you want better quality or more volume, you need to connect your phone to something else. Using Bluetooth technology means you don't have wires; you just need to keep the phone nearby.

That's all very well, but sometimes it's not convenient to keep your phone nearby. Perhaps you're worried about your phone getting wet or being dropped. In which case - drum roll, please - you need the Drifter. It's a wireless loudspeaker that can play music independently from your phone. How does it do that? Well, it has a 16GB hard drive for storing thousands of songs, plus WiFi and Bluetooth for connecting. There's a touch-screen for controlling it, there's even a built-in camera if you want to take photos. The whole thing is waterproof and is in a rugged case, so you can download your music and play it almost anywhere.

Current pricing is $150 + shipping.

Stikbox selfie stick

In the words of the company, "Stikbox is the first full-length selfie stick built into a smartphone case".

This is a 20-inch (53cm) selfie stick built into a phone case, so you don't need to carry a separate device for self-portraits. At the moment it's available for the iPhone 7 - which means your iPhone 6 will also fit - in a choice of black, white or pink, with plans to make them for the iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.

You slide your phone in; like any decent case you've got access to all the controls; and when you want to take a selfie you simply unfold the stick from the back of the case. It's also protective against everyday bumps and there's a Bluetooth-controlled button for taking photos. You can even use the case as a stand for watching videos.

The iPhone 7 version of the Stikbox costs £29.99.