The Hot Gadgets of 2014: So Far, So Cool

Panono 360 camera, photo courtesy of UOL.com

 

One thing we humans are is persistently inventive.  Since the beginning of our time on this planet man has created things to help improve their way of life.  A look through patent history will show that clear enough.  In fact from the time that protection-by-patent was created, right up to the present, the records read like a timeline of discovery and creation.  Not all the patented inventions were completely successful, or even that interesting, but there is a sub-set of inventions that have a singular novelty that makes them very popular, even if only for a short time.  These are the Gadgets—inventions that become popular for their ingenuity as well as for their ability to successfully solve, or make easier, one of life’s problems or chores.  Each year has its list of cool gadgets and so far, 2014 has been no different.  Here are some that have risen to the top during the first half of the year.

MiniDrone Rolling Spider Quadcopter:

OK, so we all know that drone’s are cool—even the military thinks so—but how great would it be to have your own drone?  Parrot company, known up to now for its AR Drone, has released the new Rolling Spider, amongst others in its line of drones.  This little micro-quadcopter is slick, zipping around in all directions like a Hummingbird.  Plus, like the AR, the Rolling Spider is controlled by any smart-phone or tablet that supports its control app.  It also features two large wheels which help the unit roll along walls and ceilings, instead of banging around against them.  Plus you can, of course, take photos of your spider’s trip with the onboard camera.  The Rolling Spider doesn’t appear to be available to purchase yet, but all the product details can be found here.

The Panono 360° Camera:

This is a truly incredible item that has made a mark on almost every new tech list on the Net.  Resembling a child’s play-ball from the future the Panono is an ingenious way to take 360° panoramic digital photographs while still retaining some human spontaneity.  Set-it, toss it up in the air, and when it comes back down you have a full capture it snapped at the peak of its trip.  How awesome is that?  Created by Jonas Pfeil, the Panono has 36 cameras that capture an amazingly clear 108 mega-pixels each.  Then, instead of just viewing one image at a time in a gallery afterwards, you view it with your smart-phone or notepad with the iOS or Android app.  By standing in one place and moving it in all directions, you see the actual scene surroundings as they were captured. Check out real-time examples of the view here.

Wireless Solar K750 Keyboard, image courtesy of staticworld.net

Wireless Solar K750 Keyboard:

The Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 may not be as dramatic as the first two items, but the convenience of never having to worry about your batteries failing again, put it on the list.  The keyboard sets up as easy as other Logitech peripherals with their 2.4GHz plug-and-play Unifying Receiver.  It is a tiny USB attachment that can support multiple wireless devices, such as a mouse and a keyboard with just a single input.  The solar panels on the top of the K750 charge under indoor light as well as outside, and the solar battery can keep its charge for up to 3 months, even if during that time it is in the complete dark (like in a drawer).

FitBit One Activity Tracker, image courtesy of PC Magazine

The FitBit One Wearable Activity Tracker:

This wearable smart activity-tracking monitor is all the rage now with several brands descending on the public at once.  One of the undisputed best seems to be the One by FitBit .  Available now for under $100, the FitBit One stands up-and-above its competitors in a couple of big ways.  First it not only helps you to get fit in the regular, physical, ways, but it also helps your health by reducing mental stress.  During the daytime hours, it tracks your physical movement by step-count and distance, stairs climbed, etc.  It also records how many calories you burn and allows you to set fitness goals.  Then, as a bonus, when night falls, it also tracks your sleep quality and wakes you up in the morning—plus it helps you learn how to get better and more restful sleep.  The Onecomes with graphs, charts, and other computer tools to assist you, and of course, syncs with your smartphone.   Your FitBit One comes in three colors, is sleek and sharp looking, and you can check out the details here.

Without trying to sound like a commercial, these new gadgets—although only a few in number—are perfect examples of the ingenuity of modern man.  Nowadays gadgets like these may involve many patents and include components patented by others, which demonstrates how we build upon the creations of each other as we strive to create the latest new and original item.  It will be exciting to see how the next 6 months of 2014 fare in the development of the gadget.

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