7 cool gadgets you never knew you needed

Here are seven of the coolest gadgets going around town these days. Guaranteed to impress your friends if you have one, but just as likely to gain street cred sharing your knowledge of cool things.

1. Immersit

Virtual reality is already beginning to integrate itself into our daily lives through gaming and TV, in the offices of architects and even tourism agencies, so it’s only natural that one company is taking it to the next level. Immersit not only gives you a virtual reality experience, but it wants to engage other senses too. Crowd-funded seven times over its original goal, Immersit wants the rest of your body, and the room you’re in, to join in the experience that the brain is already getting from the goggles strapped to your face – by putting four mechanically-linked pads on the feet of your chair, tilting, jolting or vibrating in time with the action on screen. Immersit has the potential to bring this technology to a whole new level.

2. Smart Ski Airbag Vest

French company Inemotion have transferred airbag technology from cars to the ski slopes with this airbag vest, one of the most acclaimed pieces of wearable technology released this year. The vest uses a smartphone-sized attachment that contains gyroscopic sensors, GPS and an accelerometer to protect clumsy skiers against injury and accident. Once these sensors detect a loss of balance in the wearer, the flat vest becomes one giant life-jacket-like airbag in what the manufactures claim is under 100 milliseconds, coincidentally the length of time it takes for your partner’s jaw to hit the floor when you show them the $1700 price tag.

3. LG Signature Refrigerator

This may look like a sleek, above average refrigerator from the outside, but there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. In 2016, LG debuted a technology they called their Instaview Door-in-Door, meaning that when you put your foot near the base-mounted sensor the door opens automatically, perfect if you have your arms full of groceries. Not only is that “I never knew I wanted that but now I want that”-level of ingenuity, but knock twice on its door and the front turns transparent and a light inside goes on, allowing you to check the contents without opening the door.

4. Sphero Force Band

So you may have heard of this thing called Star Wars. With the recent release of Star Wars: Rogue One in December 2016 and the next chapter coming in 2017 (and the further chapters each year into the foreseeable future), there is an awful lot of excitement around the tie-in merchandise. You don’t even have to be a fan of the series to appreciate the ingenuity of a Sphero Force Band which is more a digital pet than a piece of pop culture ephemera. At first glance, it’s a model of the Star Wars character Sphero, a spherical droid that communicates in endearing bleeps. A Sphero Force Band is operated by a smartwatch-style attachment and/or an app via gestures, meaning you can control him as if you were a force-controlling Jedi Master yourself.

5. Prizm

Prizm is an ‘intelligent’ device that you can connect to any speakers. Not only does the pyramid-shaped device connect automatically to any Wi-Fi musical device it finds, it sources music in the streaming account of whoever is in range, remembers who they are, what they like, the general mood and creates a playlist from around 35 million songs. Prizm is simple to set-up with plugs for power and speaker connection. From there, you just sync it to the app. Inspired.

6. Sony PS-HX500 turntable

Direct-to-digital turntables aren’t new, but what Sony has created with the PS-HX500 is a turntable that not only plays records, but saves the sound to better-than-CD-quality digital audio files. Via a USB-output, the turntable records audio into files via a DSD 5.6 MHz native conversion meaning that the audio quality of the record can be captured with greater fidelity than ever before. It also means that the analogue-loving audiophile finally wins the “analogue versus digital” debate in the most unexpected way imaginable.

7. Fisher Price Code-a-Pillar

In one of 2016’s more inspired creations for pre-schoolers, Fisher Price have launched a line of toys intended to teach kids the excitement of coding before they can walk. The Code-a-Pillar lets its user switch the parts to reprogram the Code-a-Pillar to perform different tasks. Unlike most ground-breaking toys for kids, it’s also nostalgically cute and doesn’t have any small parts so is toddler-proof.

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