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under-armour-speedform-top.JPGWhen you're a sporting goods company known for your macho American football apparel and infamous, manic "protect this house" slogan and adverts, the last place you'd expect to be looking for inspiration for your latest trainer innovations would be the lingerie isle of your local department store. But that's been the unlikely jumping off point for Under Armour's latest innovative trainer, the Speedform - the world's first trainer to be made at a bra factory.

Looking to "own the market for the perfect fit" according to Dave Dombrow, Under Armour's Senior Creative Director of Footwear (pictured below, left), the company were inspired by bra manufacturers Playtex, whose knowledge of form-fitting clothing secured them the demanding contract to create the space suits for NASA's Apollo missions.

"Playtex changed NASA - they're the reason there are golf balls on the moon," said Kevin Fallon, Director of Design and Innovation at Under Armour (pictured below, right).

"Astronauts didn't like the rigid cyborg-like suits they'd tested before Playtex's involvement. Playtex had the expertise in fit and flexible construction, with multi-layer systems supporting the body where it needed it."
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But won't taking inspiration from a bra manufacturer undermine the brand's tough image?

"The Apollo suits gave us the validation that this was the right avenue to go down. It's kind of funny and you chuckle at first, but there's a very serious, cutting-edge world of technology shared between sports apparel and bra makers. There's an opportunity to re-invent the whole industry," affirmed Fallon.

"Innovation is all about controversy," added Dombrow.

"When people kinda chuckle, we sit up and think 'Hey, we're on to something here'. That's when you know!"

And it's definitely an impressive construction. Weighing just 170g, the Speedform employs a number innovative manufacturing techniques to achieve its foot-hugging fit. Rather than a traditional weave or fabrication methods, the Speedform uses "ultrasonic welding", vibrating the shoe's fibres at incredible speeds to have them interlock and bind together, resulting in virtually no visible seams.

Ergonomically, the trainer grips the foot with "next-to-skin support", achieved through the ultrasonic weave process, as well as offering comfort through a moulded toe chamber. A silicone grip around the heel locks in your foot, again inside a seamless heel cup. Proprietary "4D Foam" sits within the embedded sock liner supporting the sole, and is included in place of a traditional removable insole.
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"It's inspired by the anatomy, but make no mistake; this not a minimalist shoe", stressed Dombrow.

"It's just a lightweight, fast, hybrid racing shoe. There's a term in shoe design called "Plus or Minus 3mm", referring to how close the fit is. With Speedform we aimed for plus or minus zero. Those millimetres make a big difference. This is precision manufacturing more close to making a phone or a car than a standard trainer."

The prototyping stage was extensive too, including the use of hundreds of 3D-printed models, and employing the expertise of athletes including Ironman World Champion Chris "Macca" McCormack.

So can we expect to see the Speedform line expand in the future?

"This is just a taste, just the beginning," smiles Dombrow.
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"It's the start of a platform technology and we will continue to improve it," added Fallon.

"We're developing a lot more materials. You'll see it expand within running, and covering different segments in running. This is a racer type shoe, but there are lot of people who aren't racers that run too. But it'll always be about performance."

And what potential is there of a connected, app-paired variant?

"Our digital space is something that we're getting into," teased Fallon.

"Whether Speedform and digital come together, we'll see. If it makes sense, and that excites our consumer, we'll do that. But that's not the mission I'd say for Speedform."

Out later this month in a range of primary colours including pink, orange, blue and green, there's no confirmed UK pricing from Under Armour for the Speedform yet. However, US prices are expected to be around $120 a pair, which converted into Great British Pounds puts the Speedform roughly at £80.

Bennet-Jill-e-bag-01.jpgCall me shallow if you like, but as much as I get excited by the internal specs of Apple's MacBook Pro line, it's the stunning exterior design that really grabs my attention. It's a shame then that my Mac spends half the day travelling around in my battered old rucksack. If it had eyes it would weep tears of fashion faux-pas fury.

What it really deserves is a sharp-looking luxury bag like the Bennet from Jill-e Designs. Part of Jill-e's "Jack by Jill-e Designs" line, the Bennet is available in either brown or black leather, and has been designed specifically with 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops in mind (though any slim-line 15-inch laptop - or smaller - will fit inside). We've been trekking around town with one for the past week or so and, though it's pricey, think it may be pretty much the perfect messenger bag for the gadget-loving dandy.Bennet-Jill-e-bag-04.jpgMeasuring approximately 12" x 4" x 16" and weighing 1.59 kg, it's a beautifully finished bag, with exposed cream-coloured stich detailing complementing the brown version of the bag wonderfully, and chunky magnet-snapping chrome-finished clasps keeping the bag securely closed.

While there's just the single zipped-pocket on the outer front of the bag, inside there's a menagerie of storage slots, pockets and pouches. It's clearly aimed at the Apple fanboy, with form-fitting pockets for an iPhone and iPad included alongside an inner zip-pocket, a card-holding wallet, a spectacles slot and stationary hooks. Again, despite the Apple-focus, you'll be able to fit any number of smartphones or tablets into the designated pouches, alongside larger items in the wider open area in the centre of the bag. Bennet-Jill-e-bag-11.jpgInner padding is good - you'll have no issues with items bumping around within the bag, with the separate pouches allowing for loose sharp items like keys to sit harmoniously alongside delicate scratch-attracting tech.

Jill-e also throw in a soft drawstring dust-cover bag too, if you're looking to add another layer of protection in for your laptop. Handy if you're carrying the crumbs from last week's packed lunch around with you as well as your gizmos.Bennet-Jill-e-bag-09.jpgThe base of the bag however doesn't have quite enough padding for my liking. Though I don't thrown my bag around when it's full of gadgetry, I do tend to let it drop from my shoulder a little haphazardly, especially if it's heavily loaded and I'm looking to give my shoulder a break. Two subtly protruding "feet" on the bag's base should offer a little protection from drops, but you're still probably best off being careful with it. And though there's an adjustable padded leather shoulder support, for the money it'd have been good to see the whole strap finished in leather.

Still, it's a luxurious looking satchel, and one that's packed full of useful gadget-storing pockets.

Available from the Apple Store, you can pick up the Jill-e Designs Bennet bag for £269.95. Scroll down for more pictures.
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Nike Flyknit launch.JPGRunning shoes, it seems, are going hi-tech. Last month we wrote about the new Adidas Boost trainers. This month, it's the turn of Nike to unveil its latest product, the suitably hi-tech sounding Flyknit Lunar 1+.

Essentially based on the same technology that helped propel Mo Farah to Olympic victory last summer in his Nike Zoom Victory Elite, this lightweight £140 running shoe is made from just one piece of fabric which Nike claims helps reduce the weight and friction caused by stitching and gluing multiple pieces of fabrics together.

Thumbnail image for Nike Flyknit pink and black.jpgAt an event at the beautiful Somerset House in central London last night I received a pair of pink and black Lunar 1s to test out (see image on the left). Before setting off on our 5Km run along the Thames the running shoes were placed in a steamer for 30 seconds and then moulded to my feet to make sure they fitted properly. I usually run in a bog-standard pair of Nike Darts and what I noticed about these as soon as I put them on was just how lightweight they felt (just over 200 grammes).

Of course the problem with them being really lightweight - like, say, running spikes - could be they offer little support which means you run the risk of wrecking your legs on long runs, especially if you are getting on a bit like I am. But if anything the opposite was true. They actually felt really supportive and bouncy, giving me a real spring to my step even when pounding the pavements (I'm sure there is a more technical term but you get my point). This is largely thanks to the Lunarlon midsole, claims Nike (see video below for technical explanation)

With a price tag of £140 they obviously aren't going to be for everyone, but for club runners and enthusiasts the Nike Lunar 1s seems like a particularly wise investment. To find about more about the technology of the shoe see our interview with Nike product 'Ekin' (a product manager who knows Nike back to front, geddit) Sam Adams.

Sorry it's a little dark (and pink) but it was late by the time we finished our run over the Millennium Bridge and down through Waterloo and then back over to Somerset House.



And here you can see my pair of Nike Lunar 1+ coming out of the steamer, before putting them on before my first run. Looks great doesn't it, like they've been cryogenically frozen for thousands of years and are just seeing daylight for the first time!



You can see Hannah England, Silver medalist, World Championship 1500m talking about Nike and her training regime here.

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allerta-pebble.jpgAllerta, the team behind the inPulse smartwatch, are back with a new offering, the Pebble.

"Pebble is the first watch built for the 21st century," reads the Allerta team's press release.

"It is the first smartwatch to offer full iPhone and iOS compatibility [and] It's infinitely customizable, with beautiful downloadable watchfaces and useful internet-connected apps."

Hooking up with your Apple or Android-powered smartphone over Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, it has a seven day battery life, much longer than the majority of other smartwatches available. It can manage this thanks to it using a 1.26-inch 144x168-pixel black and white e-paper display with backlight, as opposed to a standard LCD. There's also four buttons, a vibrating motor and a three-axis accelerometer built-in too.

As well as receiving calls emails and message notifications, the watch will also be able to run bespoke apps, with music, cycling and running apps all hinted at by Allerta. They've already teamed up with Freecaddie to create a rangefinding app for over 25,000 golf courses worldwide.

As a project partly funded through Kickstarter, early adopters can grab one of the Pebble watches for just $99 right now, which will eventually retail at $149. Three colours are currently available (red, black and silver) while a fourth shade, decided upon by the Kickstarter backers, will become also soon be available.

Click here for more info.

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"Girls Gadgets".

It's a phrase that normally brings to mind images of pink PC mice and Hello Kitty USB sticks. And as a result, has more or less fallen out of vogue in tech circles.

Which in regards to the Ladies Bluetooth Fashion Bracelet with Time Display from Chinavision is actually a bit of a shame; it shows that when a "girls" gadget is designed with functionality and style in mind rather than focus groups on the pros and cons of bunnies, cats and unicorns, you can get some pretty ace results.

Looking like a prop out of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey , the black and white band features an OLED screen that hooks up with a user's smartphone to provide info such as Caller ID, vibrating when a call comes in and housing a button to reject screened calls.

Perhaps the most nifty feature though is the one that sets the bracelet to vibrate should you stray more than 20 metres away from the paired phone, meaning you've no excuse to leave home without your blower.

Priced £17.53 (and with options for wholesalers to bulk buy) you can grab the Bluetooth bracelet here.

Via: Pocket Lint

Epson prepping budget GPS sports watch

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espon-gps-watch.jpgThe name Epson may conjure images of flashy projectors and all-in-one printer scanners, but the company look set to be expanding into a fairly unexpected avenue: sports watches.

To be precise, Epson are looking to take on the Nike+ SportWatch GPS and the Motorola MotoACTV with a GPS timepiece all of their own.

The company have announced that they are looking to launch their "first entry in to [the] electronic sporting goods market", describing a product that will "help people enjoy healthier, fuller lives by using its technologies and skills in sensing, low power, and device downsizing to provide wrist-wearable devices and web-based services."

Though it may seem a strange direction for the company to take, when you note that Epson are a division of Seiko, known for their watch manufacturing, it all starts to make a bit more sense.

Details are slim so far, with Epson only offering up the "conceptual image" above and the fact that the eventual product will weigh just 50g and give you 12 hours of battery life per charge. It will also be waterproof to 50m.

Compared to the futuristic looking Nike and Motorola gear, the Epson concept looks fairly basic. However, its waterproof features are unique at the moment, which will make it great for swimmers looking to track their training, particularly over long distances. Also, seeming to lack any sort of touchscreen wizardry, we'd imagine the entry-price will be fairly low, which will likely appeal to those who want a robust training tool that won't need insurance should they take a tumble and happen to land on their wrist.

Colour us intrigued. We'll keep you posted with what Epson offer up as the finished article once we see it.

nike-fuelband.jpegNIKE have added a new gadget to their range of digital fitness products today. The NIKE+FuelBand sits on a user's wrist, and is designed to track everyday movements that could encourage people to live more active lives.

Pairing up with the NIKE+ website or a free iOS app over Bluetooth, the NIKE+FuelBand uses an incentive system called NikeFuel. A normalized score that awards equal points for the same activity regardless of physical makeup, users can set a daily goal of how much NikeFuel they want to earn through being active during the day.

Whereas previous NIKE fitness systems have required users to set aside time for a workout, the FuelBand instead uses four slightly more passive metrics (Time, Calories, Steps and NikeFuel) that can be tracked throughout an entire day, letting users gradually adapt their days to make them a little more active.

The wristband itself lets you track how close you've come to reaching your target goals over a day through a series of 20 LED lights, gradually building from red to green as you approach your set achievements.

"The NIKE+ FuelBand is a way for Nike to further evolve the exciting possibilities of merging the physical and digital worlds," said NIKE, Inc. President & CEO Mark Parker.

"Nike has always been about inspiring athletes, and the NIKE+ FuelBand will help motivate them in a simple, fun and intuitive way."

The NIKE+ FuelBand already has the backing of some major names in the world of sport too, including seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstong, Oklahoma City scoring champion Kevin Durant and 2011 IAAF women's 100 metres World Champion Carmelita Jeter.

"What's great about the idea of NikeFuel and the FuelBand is the way it provides real information and numbers to show how much people are doing all day, every day," said Armstrong.

"That's what will get people challenging themselves to do more and better their own scores. It's a tool to get people more active."

The Nike+ FuelBand will be available in the UK from the 1st May, priced at £139.

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: Geek Chic Apparel

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geek-chic-banner.JPGThe Geek shall inherit the Earth!

Far too long have we sat in the shadows, pouring over our alphabetised VHS collection of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, plotting our rise while caressing a handful of D&D 12 sided dice!

Now the rest of the world seems to be catching up with our nerdy style, with plenty of stars trying to ape our inimitable fashion sense.

Show them how its done by grabbing some of our favourite clothes and accessories this Christmas from Tech Digest's gift guide to getting the geek-chic look!

When you're done here, be sure to check out the rest of Tech Digest's 2011 Christmas wishlists too.

thinkgeek-guitar.jpgBudding guitar heroes looking for a musical messenger bag should tune their ears to the sound of the ThinkGeek Electronic Rock Guitar Bag.

With a mini amp strapped to the front, the bag's front face has a guitar neck printed onto it, lined with buttons representing each of the major chords. Hold the buttons down and run your thumb over the fingerboard and you stum out note-perfect chords every time.

ThinkGeek list the main features as:

- Play all major chords, perfectly in tune every time
- Mini guitar amp speaker clips to the bag
- Speaker volume goes to 11 and has an adjustable tone knob
- Big enough to hold a 17" laptop and other necessities
- Two large pockets, six small pockets including a zippered cell phone pouch
- Heavy duty guitar-style bag strap
- Thick jet-black canvas construction with faux leather accents
- Magnetic clasps hold main flap closed
- Requires 4 x AAA batteries (not included)

Grab one from www.thinkgeek.com for $49.99.

Each year Orange come up with a barmy, green-friendly gadget to coincide with the UK's Glastonbury music festival. For instance, last year they revealed the "Hot Stepper Power Wellies" that charged mobile phones just by using the heat from your feet. They've really out-done themselves this year though; this morning they have revealed the Orange "Sound Charge" t-shirt that powers your mobile phone by using sound waves!

Using the same piezoelectric film that's found in hi-fi speakers, the Sound Charge absorbs the kinetic energy of sound waves, which are then converted by quartz crystals into charge stored in a connected battery.

Orange have calculated that sound levels at Glastonbury will average out at around 80dB over the weekend generating 6 watt hours of power. So, if you wear the shirt at all times and have your phone sitting in the front pouch connected to the charging pin, you should be able to fully power two regular mobile phones or one smartphone.

We can't think of a better place to test the Sound Charge, though wearing an item of clothing that's powering an electrical current during Glastonbury's almost customary downpours may not end with the desired results!

Check it out in action in the video above.


The iPad 2 launch is almost upon us, with Apple's latest tablet device hitting UK stores tomorrow. Much has been made of the dual cameras, sleeker size and faster chip, but what of the accessories you'll be able to pimp your slate out with?

We pick ten of the best accessories gunning for your green, ready to accompany your next-gen tablet device.

Click below to get started

Alongside the iPad 2 launch last night, Apple also revealed a handful of new apps ready to be downloaded alongside the new slate. We've written an in-depth guide to the new Garageband app, which you can read by clicking here.

Garageband for iPad has the potential to totally democratise music making. Not only will you not need an expensive PC rig to write hit tracks, as all the hardware and software you'd need can potentially be housed in the $499 tablet, but you need not have any real musical skill either. Smart Instruments, easily allowing novices to lay down pleasing chord progressions with a number of instruments, will allow any iPad 2 owner to become musically creative. Forget bedroom recording, the iPad 2's mobility will create a whole new wave of street producers.

That's not to say Garageband is purely for beginners. Here Tech Digest list 10 successful bands and artists who use the program on Macs, and will undoubtedly make the jump to the iPad 2 when on the road too.

3D Tech - Christmas Gift Guide 2010

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If 1991 was "the year punk broke", then 2010 similarly could be called "the year 3D broke". By broke, we mean "broke through to the mainstream"; going from a novelty cinema fad to a must-have technology in any budding gadget fans armoury, there's no escape from the wave of 3D gear heading your way this Christmas.

But what to buy? Everything from 3D TVs to cameras to games now boast 3D capabilities, and with so much to choose from it can be tough to sort the wheat from the chaff. Especially if you're not wearing the right active shutter glasses when doing so.

Avoid any 3D-related headaches then with this Tech Digest 3D Christmas Gift Guide, pooling together the best 3D tech up for grabs this festive season.

Click below to get started


Joystick Junkies and Exspect have teamed up to bring a new range of retro-themed gaming accessories to computer game fans in time for Christmas

Taking inspiration from the classic era of 8-bit arcade titles, the pixelatted pick n' mix has something for pretty much every gamer.

First up is a few items for Xbox 360 owners. A play and charge kit plus voice headset can be picked up for £19.99, or just the play and charge battery packs alone for £12.99. Both sets come in either "pixel" or "goblin" styles.

Nintendo DSi owners can pick up Hard Shell cases for £9.99 or a Play Case for £12.99, both in a rnage of colours and styles, with a particularly nifty Space Invaders theme up for grabs.

Notebook gamers can "cherry pick" themselves a messenger bag with the iconic old-school cherry motif on the side for £29.99.

"We had great reception for our Joystick Junkies preview products at E3 earlier this year," said Mike Sanderson General Manager, Exspect. "We've streamlined the range and designs to what our customers said they wanted. Combining great quality, great designs and a great price point, we're confident consumers will love our new Joystick Junkies range."

Check out the gear in the gallery below, and then head over to Play or Amazon to pick up anything that may tickle your fancy.

ThinkGeek

Ever wished you were the next James Bond, with all those incredible gadgets? Well, ThinkGeek has just release of a new interactive t-shirt that even Q would be proud of. The Electronic Spy Camera Shirt, as the name implies has a tiny and stealthy hidden digital camera built directly into the shirt, so you can document your live in complete secrecy. I am sure News of the World will be outfitting all their reporters with these immediately.

Inspired by classic spy films, this t-shirts have a color digital camera will allow spies-in-training to capture 150 photographs at 640 X 480 resolution, which can then be uploaded to a computer via the included USB cable.

You can pick up the shirt now on ThinkGeek.com for $39.99.

1-leedsenginee.jpgLeeds University's School of Civil Engineering has received a £100,000 grant to work on a bullet-proof vest that is made out of cement.

The vest uses ultra-strong cement mixed with recycled carbon fibres and could work out to be up to 90% cheaper to manufacture than the current alumina-based vests.

The British army has been widely criticised for not providing the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan enough armour and protection.

Dr Philip Purnell, who is leading the research team said: "Cement-based body armour would not only create a whole new market but it would also take some of the pressure off the demand for hi-spec alumina models so that people like soldiers, who really need this kit, can get it."

I'm glad I'm not in the army. I wouldn't fancy lugging a cement vest around in the desert.

(via The Yorkshire Evening Post)

lightsaber-umbrella.jpgThe answer you're looking for is no. No, you can never have enough Star Wars themed merchandise - certainly not in rainy old England where not even a Jedi mind trick can prevent a downpour.

Instead, equip yourself with the £19.99 lightsaber umbrella. It's got three internal LEDs, which light up the shaft when you hit the button, but, sadly, you'll have to make all the sound effects yourself - probably quite fun when you're cutting through all the pedestrain traffic.

Three AAA batteries are not included, which is a shame because that's what it require to work, and the whole thing is 84cm long. Suitable for those 12 and over apparently.

You know, I don't think I can use the word "shaft" with a straight face any more. How did you fair reading it?

IWOOT

Squeeeee! I want these more than life itself. Some enterprising Spanish Lucasarts fan has copied scenes from Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle onto Converse sneakers.

They're both one-of-a-kind and on sale on eBay for €250. Go get them, get them now. Once they're in your inventory, USE them with FEET and GOTO the post office. Then weep as no-one recognises them. That's okay. We're an exclusive club.

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(via RPS)

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Let's be honest about Tokyo Flash watches. They're a conspiracy by Japanese people to undermine Western culture by making sure that nobody knows what the time is - ever. The Kisai Denshoku, here, and its buddies are designed to look irresistibly appealing but completely useless as chronographs.

tauntaun-sleepingbag-zoom.jpgThe Star Wars fans among you will have gasped with disbelief already just from clicking the link, but the uninitiated will be wondering "wtf?". In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke is lost in the snows of ice planet Hoth, and is bloody cold, so he chops open a big hairy creature - a Tauntaun - and climbs inside to survive the night.

Now your kid can crawl into the guts of a hairy snow-creature too! Though actually, it doesn't seem to be available, which means it was probably an April Fools joke. The response seems to have been so great, though, that ThinkGeek is actually going to try and make the things. Here's what they say:

"Due to an overwhelming tsunami of requests from YOU THE PEOPLE, we have decided to TRY and bring this to life. We have no clue if the suits at Lucasfilms will grant little ThinkGeek a license, nor do we know how much it would ultimately retail for. But if you are interested in ever owning one of these, click the link below and we'll try!"

That link is on the product page, which can be found here. Go give it a click. I demand an adult-size version, too.

Product Page (via @gorocket88)

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