If you've ever put your back out lugging texbooks and notepads from lecture to lecture at university, you'll be wanting to give Sony a great big round of applause for their latest prototype gadget. The company are trialling a new E-Ink notepad that could potentially take the weight out of student rucksacks the world over.
Offering a Kindle-like 13.3-inch E-Ink touchscreen display and stylus, the slate is roughly the size of an A4 writing pad and far thinner and lighter at 6.8mm and 358g.
With a 1200x1600 resolution and 4GB of onboard storage, the idea is that the pad not only can be used to take handwritten notes, but could also be used to house textbooks and novels being studied, letting students add digital notes to the texts. A whole degrees worth of books and PDF notes could be carried on the lightweight device at once, with microSD expansion supported should it be needed.
Wi-Fi too is onboard, and will presumably allow for web browsing on the device and potentially the syncing of files between the slate and computers or other mobile devices.
Currently being tried out in Japanese universities, Sony plan to have the device on sale at some point before March 2014.
Put pen to paper to PC or iPad with the IRISNotes Executive 2 kit, letting you digitise and upload your handwritten notes. It's a solid performer, but is it worth the high asking price? Read our full review to find out!
The IRISNotes Executive 2 kit consists of a digital pen and receiver that work in tandem to turn your handwritten notes into digital text that can be edited with a Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. You use the pen as you would a standard biro (it uses conventional ink), and sit the receiver at the top of any standard sheet of paper. The receiver is able to track what you're writing with the pen, and then hooking up the receiver to a computer or iOS device over USB or 30-pin/Lightning adapter lets your writing be converted to digital text through the provided software. The resulting text can then be exported to Outlook, Word or Notepad for further editing on a computer, while the IRISNotes HD app for iOS lets you convert text for the word processing package of your choice.
The pen is a comfortable weight and only marginally thicker than a standard ball-point pen, with the kit able to store as many as 100 pages of text at a time before you'll need to offload them to a computer.
The IRIS OCR software does a good job of converting handwritten notes to digital type, but the legibility of your handwriting is important. I have a particularly sloppy style these days (too much time spent typing away!) and the IRISNotes Executive 2 sometimes struggled to accurately recreate my intended words. However, when I made a conscious effort to write more tidily than my usual toddler's scrawl, it was very accurate, so expect results to vary depending on your handwriting. Avoid cursive scripts for the best results, while left-handed folk will have to angle their hand in order to prevent blocking the line-of-sight of the receiver.
In terms of battery life, you should get around 8 hours of continuous use from both the pen and the receiver, more than enough to get through the average working day. Battery packs are built in so there's no need to hunt around for replacements, while the pen sensibly uses standard ink cartridges that can easily be replaced at a stationary shop.
Using regular ink, you'll still be able to scribble away with the pen even when it's out of power, though text can't be retroactively digitised - it's not simply enough to pop the receiver at the top of a written page and expect it to be turned into a digital page, as text has to be captured by the receiver as it's being written by the included digital pen.
So is the IRISNotes Executive 2 worth its £149 asking price? To answer that question, you really have to look towards the competition.
The Evernote note syncing apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac are free, letting you upload and sync all sorts of media (pictures, text, web clippings, audio) across all your devices - something IRISNotes Executive 2 does not. Evernote have also recently teamed up with Moleskin to offer Smart Notebooks that, when written in and photographed with the Evernote Page Camera app function, can be turned into digitised pages. Books start at little more than £10, but when they run out, that digital page capture runs out too as regular paper can't be used. The IRISNotes Executive 2 has the advantage in this respect.
A more close competitor is the Livescribe pen range, which works in much the same way as the IRISNotes system, but requires the use of special paper and does not convert notes to word processed documents. It however also allows audio to be recorded at the same time, allowing your notes to act as virtual bookmarks across meetings, interviews or lectures. It's a recommended alternative to the IRISNotes kit, even if its feature set varies slightly.
The IRISNotes Executive 2 works very well, effectively digitising handwritten notes for editing in word processing apps, provided your handwriting is neat. It's not cheap, and there are equally good alternatives with similar functionality, but those who make plenty of handwritten notes on all manner of paper scraps will find this an invaluable tool.
Unless you are a big aficionado of electric bikes, A2B is probably not a brand you've ever heard of. But they actually launched one of the first electric bikes, or e-bikes, nearly four years ago.
Dubbed the A2B Metro it was quite well received at the time but at £2500 was quite pricey as well as fairly bulky, tipping the scales at a hefty 37Kg. Since then the company has gone through a number of changes, including new ownership (it is now owned by Indian scooter firm, Hero-Electric) as well as a complete re-branding.
Still available, the A2B Metro has been renamed the Octave while new models include the retro looking Galvani which I tested out at a launch at London's National Theatre. Also just launched are several new premium e-bikes manufactured in Germany, rather than the Far East where most are currently made.
There's even a foldable electric bike, the Kuo, which at 19Kg is the lightest in the range. The aim for 2015 is to get the whole range down below 20Kg, making them much nearer the weight of a conventional pedal bike.
Get on your e-bike
In 2013 it is expected that around 2 million e-bikes will be sold globally with Germany and Japan the largest markets by quite some margin with around 1 million units between them. Though the UK still lags some way behind with e-bike sales of less than 50,000 per year it's expected that initiatives such as e-bike rental for major cities like London will help boost numbers as well as raise awareness.
Approximately 40 per cent of e-bikes are used for commuting purposes and they are particularly popular with older users (55 per cent of users are over 50) who are keen to cycle to keep fit but don't fancy the challenge of cycling up steep hills!
Whereas early incarnations of e-bikes were little more than conventional pedal bikes with huge batteries strapped on them, later models have - thankfully - focused more on design. Expected to retail for £1400 the Galvani looks like a conventional, if somewhat retro-styled hybrid bike at first glance but differs in one key respect - underneath the rear pannier sits a 36V Lithium Ion Battery.
Two versions are available (male and female) though the male retro-looking version is by far the more attractive of the two. I tested out the black model but it is also available in white and silver versions.
Weighing in at around 23Kg, the Galvani is a little heavier than a conventional pedal bike, but there is a Shimano Alivio 8 speed gear box if you want to change gears manually and use it in non-powered mode to give your legs and lungs a work out. As I was cycling on a flat surface I kept it in fourth gear, and switched on the power assist using the backlit display in the centre of the handlebars.
Feel the power
Three Power Assist modes are provided and they take a little getting used to. However, basically the harder you pedal the more assistance will be provided. The end result is that you can find yourself going quite fast without having to put that much effort in, especially driving along a flat surface.
Maximum speed is limited to 25Km/h (15.5 miles per hour) to comply with legal requirements. Any faster and the bike would be classified as a scooter and you would require a licence. Either you can charge the battery via the mains in situ on the bike or you can remove it and charge it in your house if you prefer. Charging takes around 4 to 6 hours and gives a range of up to 90Km depending on how much you use the Power Assist modes.
So would I buy an electric bike? Probably not but that's because I don't like the idea of cycling in rush hour traffic around London, even with a motor. However, if I wanted to commute by bike and lived somewhere quite hilly then I certainly would consider it. At £1450 it's not exactly cheap, but it would be a good investment especially when you consider how much public transport prices have gone up.
See YouTube video of A2B Galvani Electric Bike below:
And you can see me riding the bike here:
Admittedly it's not usually that easy to get excited about stands, but trust me this one - dubbed the All New Z3 - is pretty good. It comes from a company with the unfortunate name of RAT Stands who are probably best known for their high end music stands (they supply Abbey Road Music Studios).
I tested their last iPad stand (the Z3) and loved it so much I didn't want to give it back. You could adjust the height of the stand, fold it up flat and it was super sturdy. My only complaints were that it was quite expensive and it was a little tricky to angle for viewing.
Anyway, they've now come up with a new model which, at £132, is actually a little cheaper than the last model (though without compromising build quality at all) and a new locking mechanism which means that the iPad is held firmly on to the stand (it is compatible with all versions). Best of all is that it now offers 360 degree rotation and tilt. Bingo!
You can see RAT Stands' Marketing Manager David Crawford demonstrating the latest Z3 stand in the YouTube video below:
Back in the 1990s Finlux was a reasonably big brand owned by Nokia. They made pretty interesting TVs, several boasting built in satellite receivers and the quality was generally very good. Now the brand is owned by Turkish company Vestel Group which, although isn't exactly a household name in the UK, is nevertheless a huge company in mainland Europe and one which has worked with all the big brands (Panasonic, JVC etc.).
Interestingly, Finlux have taken the decision to sell direct online, cutting out the retailer completely - hence the new name of Finlux Direct. And while this decision might not make them many friends in the retail industry, it could make them very popular with consumers because it enables them to keep prices down by cutting out the middle man.
At the Gadget Show Live at Birmingham's NEC , Finlux Direct is showing a raft of new products including several LED TVs with Smart features and 3D. In this YouTube video below, we are shown the 47inch model for £799. It looked pretty good, though picture quality wasn't the best at the show, probably because they didn't have the best quality source connected. Currently it comes with the BBC iPlayer but there are plans to add further catch up from ITV, Channel 4 etc. The TV is also available in 42inch and 55inch versions for £599 and £1299 respectively.
Accessories companies selling headphones and mini speakers seem to be everywhere at this year's Gadget Show, but the one that impressed me the most was probably American firm OrigAudio.
It was demonstrating a new range of personalised headphones, costing between £40 and £50. Either you can opt for one of their designs (the Union Jack design is particularly popular) or alternatively you can get a personalised cover for your headphones - apparently a photo of your dog or cat printed on your cans is one of the most popular (and sad) options.
OrigAudio also demonstrated a new pair of £35-£40 mini speakers called the Epishock which you can see demonstrated below. These are designed to stick on a window etc. to improve sound and though I'm never quite sure who uses them one thing's for sure the American guy demonstrating them was a billion times more enthusiastic about the product he was selling than any Brit I came across at the show. You can see him in action below:
And here is the video for OrigAudio's customisable headphones:
With smart glasses like Google Glass and wearable fitness devices set to hit 70 million sales by 2017 according to a report from Juniper, one company that is hoping to get in on the action is Sunnycam.
At this year's Gadget Show at the NEC, it demonstrated a pair of HD video recording glasses that are pretty well suited for a number of applications, from recording a football match (handy for referees) to filming customers on the door of a nightclub (useful for security guards).
And while the glasses might like the sophistication of Google's much talked about Glass technology (Project Glass), which will apparently feature internet browsing, augmented reality and GPS if it's just recording you are after then these £99 glasses seem a pretty good - and much more affordable - bet.
A 720p camera is fitted in the centre of the glasses so you record exactly what you see and storage is on a 16GB Micro SD card which is supplied as standard. The glasses will hold up to 32GB for between 2 to 3 hours of recording time. Recording controls are built into the frame and the device comes with a number of accessories including clear and black lenses, USB car charger and AC adaptor.
The Sunnycam glasses also record audio - again handy if you are a doorman or referee and you want to record the abuse you are bound to receive. For more information go to SunnyCam glasses. You can also check out the video we shot at the Gadget Show below with the developer of the glasses.
Oregon Scientific has announced a range of smart sports watches designed specifically for those who want to monitor and share their sporting performances via social media more easily. Two models are currently available: the sSmart SE900 (£129.99) and the sSmart RA900 Adventurer (£179.00)
Both feature a wireless connection for compatibility with your smart phone via a dedicated sports app enabling you to upload data from, say, your bike ride or run directly to your smart phone. They are also both water resistant up to 50 metres.
Compatible with various sports accessories, the watches can be used in conjunction with a chest belt (to monitor heart rate) and bike pod to monitor speed, distance and pedal rotations. More advanced is the sSmart Adventurer which also comes with built in motion sensors and a dedicated weather forecast profile using a built in barometer. Whatever next?
Over at our sibling site Brandish, they have been looking at one of the year's hottest tech trends - smart watches.
The article makes the point that the smart watch is in exactly the same shape as the tablet PC/MP3 player markets were when Apple entered them with the iPad/iPod. In short there is some good product out there, but they need to be propelled into the mainstream by a company that understands creating elegant designs and users interfaces that are simple to operate. Can you think of anyone.
The article also suggest that there might be a role for Siri as voice control for an iWatch and that in some way the company has already done the groundwork in that iPad nano has the screen size of a smart watch and already has many of its features. All it would need to do would be for Apple to add a Bluetooth connection to the iPhone that enables the nano to access data and it would have a smart watch.
There's also a gallery of the hottest new smart watches from the likes of Sony, Pebble, Cookoo and I'm Watch.
Now the company looks like it's set to take on Withings and the like by bringing out its own Bluetooth Smartphone Scale, called the Wahoo Balance, nice name, huh? Hear that Withings with your WS-30?
The new device keeps a track of your weight and BMI and because it works via Bluetooth Smart technology, it'll automatically send your data to your iPhone and iPad instantly. From there all of your weigh-ins will be collected via the new Wahoo Wellness App or to any other compatible health and fitness app that's integrated in with Wahoo, like TactioHealth, Monitor Your Weight and a whole host of others.
You can set up different profiles for up to 16 users and even set weight goals to help you lose (or gain) a few pounds here and there.
Chip Hawkins, CEO of Wahoo Fitness, said:
"The Wahoo Balance is the latest addition to Wahoo's line of iPhone powered fitness gear.
"Daily weight monitoring is an important key in reaching your weight loss or fitness goals. With Balance, Wahoo Fitness has fully integrated the iPhone into all aspects of fitness, allowing users to keep all workout and health data conveniently in one device."
You can pre-order the device from Wahoo Fitness for $99 now, but it won't be available until December.
Big screen video calling, à la Back To The Future 2, has been a reality for a few years now thanks to web-connected webcam-packing TVs, the ever-growing popularity of Skype and even games console peripherals like the Xbox 360 Kinect or the PlayStation 3 Eye. It's still however slightly daunting for tech newbies, needing either a games console or laptop hooked up to a TV, or confining yourself to a laptop or computer screen.
Enter the TelyHD, a Skype-packing, Android-powered webcam designed for both the living room and the boardroom, with simplicity in mind.
Looking much like Microsoft's Kinect accessory, the TelyHD sits on an adjustable bracket on top of your TV (or could of course stand freely on a tabletop if that's a better fit for your living room), and requires just a plug socket and HDMI port on your TV to get to work.
A 720p HD video camera sits on the front, with the unit packing in 4 noise-cancelling microphones to pick up conversations. Coming with Skype pre-installed, a clean, easily-navigated UI lets you log in to your account, which then throws contact cards for all your Skype pals onto the main screen. Connecting over Wi-Fi or a wired Ethernet connection, you can then video call pals across the globe.
Using adaptive streaming to set the resolution based on your web connection rather than having you suffer the pains of buffering, it's a pleasant experience. The UI isn't as intuitive as it could be, and using the small remote a little clunky, but a smartphone app that lets you navigate the TelyHD and type using a software keyboard rather than the onscreen one with the remote should make things easier.
Beyond video calling, the Tely HD also has a number of other tricks up its sleeve.
Photos can be shared using the TelyHD, splitting the screen between those video calling, and giving over a large chunk of the display to the images being shared. These can be popped onto either an SD card or USB stick and plugged into the back of the TelyHD. It's a nice feature, and a far more personal way to share your photos and see the recipients instant reactions than sharing them via Facebook or email.
Apps are also coming to the TelyHD. As well as already offering a fully functioning web browser, supporting video playback from the likes of Netflix and BBC iPlayer, the TelyHD will also soon offer select Android apps for download, including the ubiquitous Angry Birds game. In this sense, the TelyHD can almost also be seen as a Smart TV upgrade for older TVs, as well as a webcam.
A recent upgrade has also improved the TelyHD's features for business users. Popping an upgrade code (purchased from Tely.com) into the settings pane of the TelyHD menu opens up extra features such as document sharing and 6-party group calling, turning the TelyHD into a workplace tool too.
There are a few concerns though, with the main one being price. At a few pennies short of £200, you could have an impressive Android tablet with video calling functionality or laptop. Indeed, this wouldn't have the big screen appeal of the TelyHD, but the extra features you'd get with such alternatives are obvious and difficult to overlook. Also overlooked is the ability to add Skype credit straight from the TelyHD; during our playtime we found no way to top-up for premium features, meaning anyone looking to call a landline or mobile using the gadget would also need access to a computer in order to add funds, and undermining the "no computer required" TelyHD motto.
For the most part, it does the job, and does it well though. For true technophobes, the TelyHD would be an unobtrusive, simple way to connect visually with friends, family, and even business partners around the globe.
Available now from www.amazon.co.uk (and headed to select retailers before Christmas), the TelyHD will set you back £199.90.
Livescribe have launched a new smarten today that, as well as syncing up dictaphone audio captured at the same time as digitising your notes, offers built-in Wi-Fi for storing your scribbles in cloud note storage service Evernote.
For current Livescribe pen users, one of the most frustrating parts of using the otherwise excellent gadget is needing to hook up the pen to a PC or Mac to download your files. Evernote Wi-Fi syncing solves this, while also offering 2GB or 4GB of onboard storage space. Sky smartpen users also get extra Evernote space gratis to ensure they don't go over monthly limits, while an 8GB Pro Pack also offers a free year-long subscription to Evernote Pro.
While older smartpens used desktop software and offered in-built apps, the Sky pen does not. Older smartens will continue to have access to these services, but to make up for the omission, the Sky pen will be able to pair directly with tablet and smartphone devices instead. An SDK for mobile app developers is now also available, opening up the possibility of Livescribe functionality within apps.
With notes synced with Livescribe's servers before hitting Evernote, all notes can also be accessed from a HTML5 web-player, which allows Livescribe to offer handwriting recognition and print-on-demand functionality.
2GB, 4GB and 8GB Sky smartpen models will be available to buy in the next month, and we'll get you more detailed pricing and launch date details as we receive them.
The witching hour is almost upon us! Yep, come the end of the month, the ghouliest ghouls and the creepiest creeps will stalk the streets in search of tricks and treats, as Halloween night descends over Britain.
While the 31st of October bash is more of a big deal in the States than it is over here, every year us Brits get more devilish in our fright night antics. Whether you're throwing a party or putting together a haunted house to scare the bejeezus out of ickle trick-or-treaters, this Tech Digest guide to decorating your home in the most frightening way possible will get you screams and smiles in spades.
STEP ONE: Cover the walls
First things first, you're going to want to cover up your lovely flowery wallpaper. Halloween comes but once a year, so don't go crazy and start painting the place. Instead, head down to a local hardware store and grab some inexpensive black tarpaulin and pin it to the walls, or pin some black bin bags to the walls. If you shred the the bin liners and hang them from door arches, they make for creepy tentacle things too. STEP TWO: A bit of mood lighting
Your IKEA lamp shade just isn't going to cut it in a haunted house, so take any covers off your lights for a creepy dangly exposed bulb. White lights wont do at all either; pick up some red light bulbs for a hellish, warm glow. They're inexpensive and can be picked up from places like Maplins or even your local £1 Store. You could also buy a strobe light too, but they're very expensive. For a cheap alternative, head over to YouTube on your Smart TV or by hooking up a laptop, and do a search for strobe lighting videos, like this one:
These can be then played through the telly stretched to fullscreen, downloaded and then set to replay over and over through your media player of choice for a far more cost-effective scare. Flashlights too dotted around in unusual places can cast strange shadows as well.
STEP THREE: Atmosphere
Nothing says "graveyard chic" like a bit of fog. You can achieve this two ways; either grab some dry ice, or get a hold of a smoke or fog machine. Dry ice is a pretty tough material to get hold of, is expensive, and can really damage your skin if not used correctly, so grab a smoke machine instead. They're available from Maplins too.This one's probably best if you're building some kind of outdoor event, but it'll work inside too, providing you keep an eye on how hot the smoke machine is getting. They can be very hot indeed, so handle with care, and make sure not to leave them near anything flammable, nor where someone could easily spill a drink over them.
STEP FOUR: More gore
This step is not for the feint of heart. To really send a shiver down the spine, you're going to need to get some fake blood. Gallons of the stuff. The bathroom is always a good place to splatter some of the stuff as it is easier to wipe tiles clean than, say, carpeted rooms. For a fake blood recipe that doesn't stain, try this concoction we found on Yahoo Answers (use at your own risk!):
Take a teaspoon or two of Arrowroot (a white powder used in baking that you can easily find in health food shops) and add to water heated on the stove. Stir continuously until the mixture becomes gloopy. Add a small amount of red children's non-toxic powder paint and stir in. The mixture should now be bright red. Add a tiny amount of brown powder paint or coffee concentrate (make this by adding a small amount of water to coffee granules) to darken the blood as required. Store in a bottle or jam jar and thin by adding water to make the blood the required consistency as and when you need it.
Once you've got the bath all covered in red, try plopping some fake body parts in there, which can easily be picked up from joke shops. If you're truly committed to getting some scares though, head down to your local butchers and ask for a bag of offcuts and offal. That'll be all the weird guts and stuff they don't sell, maybe even a pig's head if you're being truly messed up. It'll be a really convincing scare, but also one hell of a clean up job afterwards. STEP FIVE: Demonic Decorations
With your haunted house starting to take shape, it's time to start pulling together some of the finer details. Plenty of household items, if used correctly, can look pretty darn creepy. Gardening tools, for instance, look really weird and creepy if taken out of context and put inside your house. It might not just be flower bulbs buried with that spade, if you catch our drift.
But many decorations can easily be found in second hand shops and charity shops if you need to grab some more bits and pieces. Old photographs black and white, especially weathered or torn ones, can look really scary. And there's nothing like a line up of old fashioned dolls to freak someone out with.
Then there's the classics, like fake spiders webs, and of course a carved pumpkin. Brownie points for inventive designs, of course.You can pick up plenty of props from toy shops and joke shops too, but shop around and you'll get some real treats. The Box O Zombies from Firebox is great, detailed little toys that you can dot around the house.They come in packs of 6, measuring roughly five centimetres each and cost £8.99. You'll get a real chuckle out of your mates when they come across these hidden around your flat.Really just try to think out of the box and be a bit creative with it. Got an old bit of rope lying around in the shed? Then you've got yourself a hangman's noose. An old sheet with holes in it? The world's simplest ghost if you put a torch underneath it. Put your mind to it and you can make a dark, dingy den for just a few quid.
STEP SEVEN: Games
Once you've got people to come to your haunted house, you're going to want to give them something to do. Bobbing for apples is a classic, so grab a decent sized barrel or container, fill it with water and apples and challenge your mates to pick a few out in under a minute. Mix a few red ones in with a load of green apples, and you can even offer a prize to those who can fish out the winning colour.Or go a bit more techy. The Ghost Hunt game available from Firebox is a bit like a Halloween laser tag; it features a little Billy Bones skeleton toy that projects spectres onto your walls, and screams when you shoot them down with the included laser pistol. It costs £29.99 and will be great fun for little ones.
Bigger kids may want to test fate by having their fortune told. Firebox also sell a beautiful little set of Zombie Tarot cards for £13.99, featuring 78 wondrously weird designs.STEP EIGHT: Spine-tingling tunes
With the party ready to get started, you going to need some tunes. Try this Spotify playlist that we put together. It'll put the bump into your night, Monster Mash and all:
Also, if you've got a spare iPod dock lying around the house, load up an MP3 player with some creepy sounds (chalk board screeches, crow calls, rustling wind, wolf howls etc) and hide them around the house. Friends will get a real scare when they hear a random scream coming from behind the toilet.
So how did we do? Creepy enough for you? Or did we wuss out like a toddler on a ghost train? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below!
There are some household tasks that require a little creativity; cooking a top-notch dinner for instance, or decorating a room. Others seem solely meant to inspire tedium. Doing the vacuum cleaning would be one such task.
So let a servile robot do it! The Samsung NaviBot S is the latest unquestioning automaton designed to obey Asimov's fourth law of robotics; "Clean Thy Owner's Abode Spotlessly".
OK, so we may have made that fourth law up, but that's just what the NaviBot S does. It uses a "Visionary Mapping System" to learn the layout of your home so as to better clean it, employing 12 obstacle sensors and a digital camera aimed at the ceiling to better understand its surroundings. Circular in shape and with only an 80mm clearance off the ground, it should be able to get underneath some furnishings too.
Once it's cleaned up after your mess, the NaviBot S returns to a charging station and offloads its dust and waste, either recharging itself or knowing to return back to where it left off if it had unfinished cleaning to attend to.
An Auto Dust Sensor lets the NaviBot S automatically find dirty spots in a room too, but you can take direct control with an Infrared remote control if need be.
Available now, you can pick up the NaviBot S for £550.
Sony's HMZ-T1 Personal 3D Viewer headset was one of the maddest home cinema devices we've had the pleasure of trying in recent years. Sure, it wasn't all that comfortable (so heavy you had to lean back to use it for extended periods of time) and it was as expensive as a whole TV despite only one person being able to use it at a time, but it looked as though it came from a future, Tron-inspired world, and offered a pretty darn good 3D viewing experience. Sony have now used IFA 2012 to reveal its successor, the HMZ-T2.
Aimed mainly at gamers (though working equally well with 3D movies), the HMZ-T2 uses stereo OLED panels (one for each eye) to deliver its 3D visuals, eliminating the crosstalk issues other 3D sets suffer from. There's also virtual surround sound onboard for a personal cinema experience.
This time around everything should feel far more comfortable though, being significantly lighter at 330g and with more fitting options to let the device fit more snugly around your head and over your eyes. You can now also hook up your own headphones, either wired or wireless, to the headset, given a tailored audio experience, as well as those that come with the device.
"Everything about the HMZ-T2 Personal 3D Viewer is designed for comfort and total immersion," says Naoto Yoshioka, Home Audio Video senior product manager at Sony Europe.
"Once you're watching a film or playing a game, you're totally absorbed in the thrilling action and forget you're even wearing the headset."
No pricing or release date revealed yet, but we wouldn't expect this to land much cheaper than the £500 price tag of the original model.
Nike have been getting into the Olympic spirit as much as anyone else over the past fortnight, and have unveiled a special edition gold-plated version of their Nike+SportWatch.
The Nike+ SportsWatch GPS special edition version has all the same functionality as the original sporting wristwatch (an LCD display, TomTom-powered GPS functionality, pace and time monitoring tools, pedometer distance tracking and heart rate monitoring info) but comes blinged out with 18 carat gold decoration and glistening white framework, all stamped with the iconic Swoosh branding.
The watch has already made it onto the London 2012 Olympic gold medal podium, when US sprinter Allyson Felix collected her 200m first place prize (though she had her tracksuit sleeves pulled down over it).
The special editions are also delivered in a box carrying Michael Johnson's famous quote: "They don't give you gold medals for beating somebody. They give you gold medals for beating everybody."
And that's what it'll take to bag yourself one too; the limited edition models are strictly for gold-medal Olympians only.There's still the standard edition for £149 though for those keen on getting the get-fit tech aid!
Scosche Industries have released their BoomStream Bluetooth 2.1 portable speaker.
The speakers pack a down-firing passive subwoofer to ensure a good deal of super bass wherever you are, 40mm dual drivers and its Bluetooth capabilities work for up to 33 feet away.
Additionally the BoomStream comes with a microphone built-in which will be usable with both iOS and Android devices. Perhaps the most impressive feature of these portable speakers is their 1200 mA lithium polymer battery which will grant you constant playback for up to eight hours which can be charged by USB.
A statement from Kas Alves, Executive VP of Scosche Industries reads:
"With the overwhelming success of our BoomCan portable speaker, we knew we had to offer a wireless option."
You can pick up these BoomStream speakers for a tidy $99.99.