Tuesday 8 May 2018

TRE Talk Radio Europe 'gadget guru' technology for May 2018

Here's a summary of the technology I mentioned in this month's TRE Talk Radio Europe 'gadget guru' chat:

Snapchat Spectacles

In simple terms, Snapchat enables you to send photos and videos from your phone to your friends. A couple of years ago, the company behind Snapchat launched some sunglasses with a built-in video camera. A hands-free camera, you might say. And now, as summer 2018 heads towards us, we can now buy version 2 of the Snapchat Spectacles. Are they better? Yes, they are. To start with, the design has been tweaked: still very retro but now less bulky. The new specs can take photos as well as videos. And they’re water resistant, which I’m sure is more about taking them to the beach rather than wearing them in the rain. The sound quality has been improved, picture quality is better and there’s faster wireless transfer when sending everything to your phone. As before, they come with a carrying case that includes a rechargeable battery, so you can recharge up to four times when you’re out and about. Pricing is £149.99.


This is, quite simply, a personal folding straw. It fits in a little case that attaches to your key ring and it pops into shape when you take it out. What’s rather nice is there’s also room for a little cleaning tool in the case – although it’s also able to go in a dishwasher. Outside, the straw is stainless steel. Inside it’s medical-grade TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer). The whole thing fits inside a case that’s 7.3cm long but the straw extends to 23cm (9 inches). Shipping is expected by the end of the year; at the moment you can pledge around £15 (€17) plus shipping for one, via crowd-funding site Kickstarter.


If you play tennis, you may well want an autonomous robot that collects tennis balls. This thing looks like a cross between a tiny wheelbarrow and a shopping trolley that’s fallen over: three foot long and 16 inches wide. You could say it works in a similar way to a robot vacuum cleaner, although it also has a separate camera sensor that you clip onto the net post. Overall control is from an app on your phone. It’ll hold up to 80 balls, it travels at up to 1.4mph and it’ll run for up to five hours on a 90 minute battery charge. On Kickstarter you can pledge the equivalent of $700 (about £520 / €590), which is 30% off the expected retail price (excluding shipping and import taxes). Delivery is expected January 2019.

Diveroid Mini

Here's a device for scuba divers that turns an Android or Apple smartphone into a dive computer. What you get is a battery-powered waterproof sensor that’s slightly less than two inches across. This connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to an app on your phone. (You’ll need to put your phone inside a waterproof case before you hit the water; the sensor then clips to the outside of this.) When the Diveroid sensor is connected to your phone, you’ll get an interactive dive computer with an on-screen compass, a logbook you can share with other divers plus automatic colour correction for underwater photos and videos. You’ll get warnings if you’re going too deep or coming to the surface too quickly. Product delivery is due from the end of July; current pricing is $89 (approx. €75) plus shipping via crowd-funded site Indiegogo.