From drone deliveries and house-trained robots to Azimo’s awesome app, we check out some of the most inventive and intriguing tech gadgets hitting the streets now or in the very near future.
Just imagine a supermarket with no checkouts and no queues. Well, in its home town of Seattle, Amazon has turned this into reality with an innovation that could change the face of modern food shopping. Simply touch in with your Amazon Go app as you enter the store and tech magic registers the products you pick up, refunds you for products you put back, and bills you on the app as you leave. Currently the store is only open to Amazon employees, but a public launch is expected soon.
Never get lost in translation again. Pilot isn’t the first translation app to work with voice, but it’s the first where communication isn’t marred by having to stare at your phone instead of the person you’re talking to. Instead, Pilot works with two earpieces: each participant wears one and hears what the other person says – in their own language (English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian for starters). Just set the languages you need on the app and ditch the phrasebook for good.
Just say a ‘wake word’, like ‘Amazon’ or ‘Echo’, and your personal automated assistant, Alexa, is ready for action. On your voice command, she can do anything from answering simple questions to playing tunes from your Spotify playlist, reading you a news bulletin or checking the weather. And her skills don’t stop there – Alexa can order you a pizza, get you an Uber and tell all the other smart devices in your home what to do as well. The only problem might be finding something to do yourself.
See it, snap it and stick it on Snapchat without even having to get your phone out of your pocket: Snapchat Specs are a millennial dream. Tap a button on the shades and the camera records ten seconds of video, then uploads to the ‘Memories’ section of your Snapchat account via WiFi or Bluetooth. From there, you can post to your adoring fans. Oh and they look uber-cool, too – the camera’s mounted in a yellow circle on the front of the frame, and a ring of LED lights whirl when you’re shooting.
Coming soon to a back garden near you: your Amazon package delivered by drone within 30 minutes of placing your order. The internet retail giant has already been running UK trials for its Amazon Prime Air service, with the first real-life drop by a GPS-guided drone in December 2016. Once it reaches its destination, the drone’s technology allows it to check out possible landing problems before dropping vertically, depositing its package and returning to base. Welcome to Air Mail 2.0!
Baby crying again? Don’t worry, Aristotle’s on hand to help: it’ll play a soothing lullaby and send you a phone alert at the same time. Described by some as an Alexa for modern parents, Aristotle can do everything from ordering more nappies when you’re getting low to helping with Junior’s development. Unlike other devices, it’s tuned to understand young children’s speech – which means it can communicate with them, answer questions and play games. You can even set it to respond in a different language if you’ve got a budding polyglot in the house.
Super-cute Kuri cruises around your home, avoiding all the fancy furniture and generally lending a robotic hand. And thanks to smart technology, he can work out which room is which and who needs to do what when – he can wake you up in the morning, turn on the lights, stream your favourite music and even tell you when dinner’s ready. And if you need to go out, he can be your virtual guard dog too: Kuri can recognise faces and voices, detect loud noises and patrol your home when you’re not there, sending you a phone alert if anything’s amiss.
Old-school Lego gets a cyber-boost with this app-controlled system. It combines classic bricks with electronic wizardry to let kids have a go at building five cute Lego-bots, including Vernie. Vernie’s head moves when he talks to you, and when you shake his hand he greets you like an old friend. Boost’s ‘creative toolbox’ contains the Move Hub and Boost Bricks, with sensors, lights and motors, as well as ordinary bricks. Kids then programme and interact with their creations via the app. It’s child’s play – but not as we know it.
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After a day interacting with all your smart devices, you’ll need a smart night’s sleep. SleepIQ technology monitors your sleep habits and adjusts everything accordingly – if you’re tossing and turning, the mattress automatically optimises the firmness level for your new position. It could even save your marriage thanks to its snore detector, which raises the snorer’s side of the bed to try and lower the volume. And finally, the new 360 can even warm up the bottom of the bed so your toes will be toasty – well, if you’re going to spend a third of your life stretched out, you may as well do it in style!