05 Sep 2017 - 1:07
Wackiest innovations at IFA
Berlin: Europe’s biggest electronics show IFA is in full swing in Berlin, and alongside the familiar televisions and smartphones its aisles are bursting with gadgets on the stranger side. Here’s a look at some of the most eye-catching inventions:
DIY cyborg: Long the province of amateur “biohackers”, some firms are trying to take chips you can implant into your own body at home mainstream. A simple kit includes a sterile syringe and surgical gloves, allowing buyers to insert — pain-free, according to the manufacturer — a tiny chip into their finger that could replace car keys or the gym fob or even be used to store sensitive personal data. Digiwell, from €75.
A dog’s life: A small device that attaches to a canine companion’s collar offers training tips, based on readings of his vital signs and movements. And with a GPS chip on board, there’s no chance of Rover roving too far. Jagger & Lewis, from €99 ($117).
Couples therapy: The US-based manufacturers have already sold 25,000 of these tiny devices, which look like a pebble connected to a tiny computer. Once placed under a pillow, this marital miracle worker uses its sensors to detect loud snoring and vibrates to gently shift the pillow into a different position. The idea is to change the orientation of the throat and nasal passages to cut down on the worst of the noise — and potentially save your relationship. Smart Nora, from €250.
Recycling, sorted: French inventors have come up with a little scanner users can clip to the side of their rubbish bin. It reads the barcode on whatever you’re about to throw away and tells you where the item belongs in the recycling — glass, plastic or cardboard. And to keep users coming back, the device offers prolific scanners reward points that can be used for online shopping. Eugene, from €79.
Robo-Lego: Sony is developing what could be the ultimate construction toy that will allow techy kids armed with tablets to programme and control networked blocks hooked up to a small motor. Building a walking robotic dinosaur with fearsome snapping jaws could be a few lines of code away. Still in the prototype stage.
Bye bye, laundry night: Another prototype from Panasonic, this wardrobe will wash, dry and fold away the laundry — all without a hint of human intervention. Users just place dirty clothes on a shelf, from where they’re whisked into the built-in washing machine, dried, then folded by robotic arms.
Iron jaw: Electric muscle stimulation may be familiar to those desperate for washboard abs, but what about those who are self-conscious about their necks? In just 60 seconds a day, the inventors of this device promise to tone up your throat and chin muscles with painless electric pulses. Rio Toner, from €75.
Airborne selfie stick: Rather than lug around a cumbersome telescopic pole for those must-snap moments, why not a drone complete with HD camera that fits in the palm of your hand? The smartphone-controlled chopper can reach heights of 20 metres (65 feet). Airselfie, from €249.
Cooked to perfection: German domestic appliance maker Miele has perfected what it calls an “intelligent oven” that detects what sort of food has been placed inside and adapts the cooking process to match, based on a database of recipes. The cooker promises a perfect leg of lamb with crunchy asparagus and melt-in-the-mouth potatoes, all without having to open the door once. Dialog Oven, on sale in 2018.