Let’s face it, we’re never going to reattain that golden era when apples and cookies were snacks and nothing more.
We’ve all suffered the tyranny of an app that won’t let you log in without some password you swore you’d never forget, and plenty of us are still afraid to dispose of those 20-year-old Nokia chargers.
Technology was supposed to make our lives easier, so, with that in mind, Caroline Delaney takes a look at some of the gadgets that will take some burden off us, or at least entertain.
Imagine heading out for a few hours hike in a frosty forest and not having enough battery to take a picture of that dotey deer you encounter or being unable to ring home to make sure they have a roaring fire ready for your return. Or more seriously, you may need to call for help of some sort if you fall or get lost.
Rugged phones are a godsend if you are prone to fumbling them or forgetting you’ve put it in a damp pocket. A ‘brick’ is all very well but your long-life phone has to have a long-life battery and other pros as well.
The Doogee S95Pro aims to meet the needs of outdoor people — it has a good camera, high-quality speaker, bigger capacity battery, and a good CPU.
It has a variety of modules — waterproof, dust proof, drop-proof. And it’s integrated with an independent large battery that lasts 10 hours of playback. It also promises faster gaming experience and less loading time — the makers promise it builds “the impossible combination of tough and versatile”.
Approx €340-€485 www.doogee.cc
Joggers and runners are well catered for with distance and calorie burn apps and personal speedometers. But what if you prefer to take out your frustrations on a punch bag? You might feel like you’ve had a great session, but without data to tell you how well you performed it can be tricky to up your game.
Punch trackers are fairly new on the fitness scene but are improving already as boxing fitness classescontinue to grow. Basically, they’re a bit of wearable tech that goes on your wrist and tracks the intensity and velocity of your punches — it also counts how many punches you throw during your workout.
The Hykso Tracker is engineered to endure extreme training.
You get two punch trackers and a charging station and USB cable. The app allows you to view your punch output in real time and measure your daily, weekly, and monthly progression. The app works for both iPhones and Android phones. The punch trackers track your hand movement 1,000 times per second to detect the number, the type, and the velocity of all your punches. The makers say it’s totally watertight so go ahead and work up a sweat.
Not cheap at around $500. Hykso.com
For the more budget-conscious looking for fitness gadgets, how about the UFC Force Tracker?
Billed as ‘technology for all warriors’, this is a smart device thatattaches to a punching bag which wirelessly connects to your smart phone via Bluetooth to give keymetrics such as speed, impact force and endurance.
It’s suitable for MMA, boxing, kickboxing, taekwondo, karate, etc.
Instead of measuring a single punch or kick, the XForce system also takes your speed and endurance into account, making the results more reliable as well as easier to track your training progress. It allows you to connect globally to compete with rivals and training partners. There are challenge and training modes and rankings in the smart phone app.
If you need a power-ballad soundtrack to your work or some kick-ass beats to just keep you moving then wireless headphones which eliminate battery life worries are sure to be a hit.
Audio firm JBL has developed concept headphones which use solar energy to charge, offering “virtually unlimited playtime”.
Now, they’re not quite ready to order just yet: JBL has launched a crowdfunding page on indiegogo.com to gauge insight from customers on the self-charging headphones, currently known as Reflect Eternal.
Solar cell maker Exeger is using material specifically engineered to generate power from indirect and indoor light, as well as from the sun.
The manufacturer estimates that two-and-a-half hours outside each day will be sufficient to keep the headphones going for unlimited listening between standard charging.
The headphones will be available in black with either red or green detailing from Oct 2020 for around €150
There are situations where headphones or ‘buds’ just won’t work — the shower is one such example.
So a wireless speaker might be the solution here.
The Jam Hang Up Wireless Speaker has a stick pad to allow it adhere to a wall or shower tile. It connects by bluetooth to your phone or tablet or wherever you source your music from.
You might even persuade a couple of your teenagers to head outside and rake some leaves if you stick one of these onto the outside of a window.
€24 from Euronics outlets — there are 60 nationwide, eight of them in Cork.
Hands up if you have bought lush herbs with the notion of coolly tossing handfuls into rustic dishes with the ease of a pro chef. Now, keep those hands up if you have been confronted with withered basil, shrivelled parsley, and sad mint. Maybe the self-watering herb pot could be your new favourite kitchen accessory.
This innovative pot has a unique self-watering function that’s designed to create an organic irrigation system, allowing steady growth of your herbs in every season. The outer glass pot is available in blue or grey.
At maximum water level, your herbs will be supplied with water for up to 14-21 days.
€39.95 from Meadowsandbyrne.com
Grated knuckles and stained fingers anyone? I blame all those food bloggers who start their cooking videos with chic little bowls of weighed and measured and perfectly diced and chopped ingredients for giving me food-prep-envy.
If I can’t have a legumier chef around to give me a hand, then I want the Robot-Coupe R301 Ultra.
This comes with a full start-up kit of accessories to dice and julienne and grind any vegetable you care to throw at it. It also has a 3.7l stainless steel blender bowl. Not cheap by any means — so probably more suited to catering companies or cafes.
€2,089 at cookshop.ie
Ok OK, let’s look at the other end of the price scale.
If you want low-tech kitchen tools that will save you more trouble than anything then the Joseph Joseph utensils are your friend. For example, a large cooking spoon costs around €9. And the slotted scoop can be used to rinse tinned chickpeas, drain pasta or rice as well as taking croquettes or doughnuts from hot oil.
Get Joseph Joseph utensils including peelers, cutters, tongs and nifty chopping boards from stores including meadowsandbyrne.com or cookshop.ie.
Boomer confession time — I have a landline phone. But I don’t really use it — pretty much the only occasionI pick up that handset is to ring my mobile phone to figure out what handbag or bookshelf I have left it in this time.
And how frustrating is it when you then remember that your mobile is on silent. Ugh.
And you know you’re really distracted when you try to ‘ring’ your keys or your wallet and get frustrated when you can’t. Well, the Tile Sport bluetooth tracker might be a handy fix to some of those time-consuming daily searches for keys, phones and wallet.
This has a 60m range and can definitely help find whatever you’ve attached these two small, discreet gadgets to.
They come with a sealed, water-resistant case so should be able to withstand a bit of action.
There’s also a Tile app which will show you on a map where the item’s last known location is. And, in a ‘it takes a village’ kind of way, there’s a Tile community which can help find a missing item. The app allows you to anonymously enlist the help of our entire community in your search. It works both ways — if you’re running the app in the background and come within range of someone’s lost item, they’ll let the owner know where it is.
€60 from currys.ie
I invented this one* Danalock V3 smart lock.
* Fine, I didn’t actually devise it but I have wished that someone would invent this gadget for me.
The Danalock V3 is a wireless smart lock that lets you control your front door with your smartphone. You can create an unlimited number of digital keys (user codes) for your family members, friends, guests, or helpers such as babysitters or plumbers.
Give each user access by choosing permanent or temporary access. And you can set up alerts to know exactly when the lock is used and by whom. No need to put your groceries down, Danalock V3 can detect your arrival and unlocks the door for you.
The makers say it uses an advanced encryption method for transferring data, which is the same encryption technology used by governments and military to keep information secure.
From €250 from smartzone.ie
I’m a bit dubious about some pet gadgets, as they seem to be designed to replace actual interaction with your pet with a food dispensing machine.
This is a toy that can be used to take the edge off an energetic cat or dog while you’re actually watching them. Maybe you can even get some Tiktok ‘gold’ as well while you’re at it.
The PetMuscle Laser Toy is a light toy for pets — the light moves in random patterns and distracts and entertains a curious cat or precocious puppy. Could be handy if you have to move your pet to a quieter room while you have guests over, for example.
Approx €20 on Amazon.
If you’ve got any gamers in your house then you’ll probably have heard complaints about ‘glitchy’ or ‘laggy’ wifi in certain rooms or corners.
Yes, of course, you could round up those pesky gamers and hustle them all off to the nearest mountain for a brisk hillwalk in the fresh air.
Or you could check out a wifi extender. These work to provide wifi connection throughout your house. Now, they don’t actually increase the quality or speed of the connectiondelivered by your broadband provider as that depends on the speed of your broadband input speed — but they will allow your gamers move to different parts of the house, freeing up your favourite armchair or perch in the kitchen.
Check out the TP-Link AV600 Powerline Wi-Fi Extender (below) for €60 from harveynorman.ie. The whole home wifiextender range is available from €200 from smartzone.ie
Weight Watchers Digital Bluetooth Scales. Look, this won’t make you lose weight but there are studies showing that making progress towards personal goals can result in improvements in well-being, satisfaction, and happiness.
So if those goals involve achieving a particular healthy weight then using an app to track your bone mass, BMI, body fat percentage, and other data might give you the boost you need.
This digital scale syncs with an app that allows you see all the info on your muscle mass and body water percentages at a glance or you can go in-depth with graphs and charts.
It can handle up to 10 users so you can get a bunch of like-minded friends or siblings involved if you want.
Currently €60 from mccauley.ie
This is a little low-tech but who knows what hi-tech inventions a budding Archimedes might come up with after playing with this Aquaflow set?
Water flows downwards through the locks like a real river, taking along a little boat or a rubber duck, for example. You can decide how much water will flow through the water track.
At the end of the track, the water is collected in a bin and you can then pump it manually up to the top. The AquaFlow bins can be positioned at various angles, straight, zigzag or in a bend.
The wooden parts of this toy are made of FSC® certified cedar wood (FSC 100%, SCS-COC-000652-WH).
This type of wood does not splinter and is naturally resistant to weather influences such as rain and therefore resistant to wood rot. You do not need to treat Exit wooden water tracks before use, children can play safely with it right from the start.
It is one of the pricier items from this fab chain of shops. You’ll get plenty gadgets and fun stuff in store from less than a tenner upwards.
€300 from artnhobby.ie
Sensse Hot & Cool Facial Bar uses ultrasonic vibrations to refresh and rejuvenate your skin. The makers say the 42°C temperature is optimal for increasing blood circulation and relaxing facial muscles.
The increase in blood circulation and muscle relaxation smoothes out wrinkles, softens your skin and activates cell regrowth.
Use the hot mode to massage in your favourite moisturiser. The cool mode soothes facial muscles and can reduce redness and puffiness.
Currently €78 with boots.ie Magnitone BareFaced 2 3D Vibra-Sonic Cleansing and Toning Brush — Sensitive Makers say this brush deep-cleanses, tones, and beautifully conditions skin in just 60 seconds a day, by gently vibrating impurities out of pores while helping to boost vital micro-circulation. It comes with a wireless USB travel charger and bathroom caddy.
Currently €80 at boots.ie
An Olympic medal.
The medals to be presented at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been made using materials from recycled gadgets.
Junichi Kawanishi is behind the design for the 5,000 medals which contains metals extracted from consumer electronics handed in by the Japanese public over the past two years.
The Tokyo 2020 organising committee said a total of 78,985 tonnes of old devices was collected from across the host country, including more than 6.21m used mobile phones.
Digital cameras, handheld games devices and laptops were also collected, dismantled and melted down as part of the scheme.
There are also plans to recycle household plastic waste and marine plastic waste touse in the creation of podiums for medal ceremonies.
From the rise of tablets to smartwatches and virtual assistants, here is a look at the biggest innovations of the last 10 years.
The device which brought the tablet computer to the mainstream, the iPad was introduced as a thinner, less bulky and touchscreen-enabled alternative to the laptop.
Though tablet use has evolved since, and many rivals have emerged, this is the device which started it all.
NEST THERMOSTAT (2011)
A gadget that still seemed space-age at the beginning of the decade, Nest brought the power of smart, app-controlled heating to everyone.
With an easy-to-use interface and stylish product design it helped set the standard for what smart home devices could be.