Gadgets: Get into technology this Christmas

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GADGETS

Our tech guy Colin Moors offers his annual round-up of the good, the bad and the ugly in new gadgets.

Drones? They are so, like, last year already. Virtual Reality? If your idea of fun is stumbling around your living room with a really expensive mobile phone strapped to your face, augmented by another piece of high-priced equipment, then finding you need to replace most of your furniture, go for it. Fads in gadgetry come and go but here at Together, we like to keep you, the reader ahead of the curve in what will be cool once all the dust settles. Some of the things covered here may not have even reached the market by the time the annual winter festival of conspicuous consumption begins, but if you save up your Christmas money, perhaps you could be first in line in the early part of next year. If you’re camping outside a shop, please bear in mind it’ll be a harsh winter this year.

Something that caught my eye earlier in the year is a product called Sensorwake. Currently in pre-production (a vague term that covers a multitude of sins), Sensorwake promises to rouse you from your slumber without light, sound, birdsong or anything quite so crass. It will instead waft you awake with the pleasant aroma of coffee, mint or money – yes, really, money. It apparently takes two minutes to wake you up in such a sedate fashion, and the clock releases an odour for a full three just to be sure. You may currently pre-purchase, whatever that means, at sensorwake.com for $106 or around €100 at time of writing. The potential for ‘friends’ to place foul-smelling cartridges in the machine is immense, and if you like waking up to the smell of coffee, would you not be better off buying something old-school like a coffee maker?

I’ll get onto the useful gadgets in a moment but first, if you’ll indulge me for a short paragraph, allow me to explain the ethos behind Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerator. It’s a fridge that takes a photo every time you close the door, so that you can connect with your smartphone and see what’s in there. I kid you not. Additionally, it will stream music from internet radio, presumably in case the cheese gets lonely and will replace the old favourite calendar-stuck-to-the-fridge-door with a touchscreen version. If all this hasn’t convinced you to part with the eye-watering €5,000 asking price, just go to www.samsung.com and take a look at what is possibly the most revolting video ever made. Thanks for listening, now onto the really good gadgets.

The film fans among you will doubtless recall the awe and wonder in the cinema as Marty McFly stepped into his Nikes and the laces tightened all by themselves, and when he jumped on his hoverboard, speeding off to new adventures. Well, Nike have made the lace future come true with their new Mag trainers. While considerably slower at lacing than those in the film, they are, nonetheless, a reality. The shoes are only being sold as part of a collaboration with Back to the Future star Michael J Fox’s Parkinson’s Disease foundation, the actor himself being a sufferer. Prices are around €100,000 a pair currently, but the lacing system is scheduled to go into production for real very soon. Sadly, they have no plans for a hoverboard as yet.