In the age of technology, patents are handed out left, right and centre. If an inventor can dream it, a designer will make it, leading to some weird and wonderful gadgets. Matthew Herbst checks out some of the more useful ones on offer
From building simple space ships to complicated sculptures and miniature villages, LEGO is a perennial favourite for all ages. A new concept has been brought to the table, which allows you to integrate LEGO blocks with your smartphone or tablet, while you play if you wish. The LEGO Power Brick 4200mAh from Brando is an external battery a little thicker and a little shorter than an iPhone. Both the USB and micro USB ports let you charge a variety of gadgets and the high output battery can even charge your laptop or iPad. From RO18.86 at www.shop.brando.com
The Mini DLP LED Projector for Mobile Phones is a cool new toy, projecting up to a distance of two meters – making it ideal for sharing movies with friends. This plug and play product can connect to several hardware devices via HDMI or USB and is compatible with most Android phones. The mini projector is small and very compact, while the resolution of 640×480 pixels allows for a clear and stable projection. From RO138.61 at www.amazon.com
Despite the bad rap cassette tapes get when compared with the MP3s of today, this piece of kit is worth checking out. It looks just like an old-style cassette Walkman, but with a slot to slide in an iPhone or iPod Touch on one side. All you have to do is insert the cassette tape, dock the iPhone/iPod touch, press play and the app, which comes included, will convert your old school music to MP3 format. Grab some headphones or connect the device to a stereo system and you can party like it’s 1995 – again. The Cassette to iPod Converter is available from RO30.80 at www.hammacher.com
Bluetooth earpieces are not the most flattering of gadgets to wear. Generally speaking, they’re easily damaged and even easier to lose. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an earpiece you didn’t have to spend so much time worrying about? Well, The O.R.B (orbital ring Bluetooth) Headset from Hybra Advance Technologies offers a great solution. It’s an innovative headset that transforms into a ring with a simple twist. This nifty little device can also be used up to 30 feet away from your phone and comes in four sizes. The outside of the ring displays caller ID information as well as voice-to-text, meaning you don’t even need to take it off your finger. When you receive a call or a meeting notification, the ring vibrates to alert you. From RO67.38 at www.hybratech.com
Ever fancied building your own camera? If so, the Lomography Konstruktor DIY Camera Kit is for you. At first glance, the kit looks a mind-boggling amalgamation of mysterious bits of plastic, glue and stickers. What is appealing, though, is the chance to build your own retro 35mm camera from the ground up. All the required components come in the box – you just need to set aside some time to slap it all together. But don’t expect any fancy photographic trickery with the Lomography Konstruktor. The focus here is firmly on the construction part. Building your own camera may sound daunting, but the instructions are actually refreshingly clear. Once you’re done, load it up with film and start shooting. And if that doesn’t work, you can always take it apart to see exactly where you’ve gone wrong! Available at www.shop.lomography.com from RO13.47
Thanks to technology and the web, it’s now easier than ever before to enjoy the world’s most beautiful beaches, iconic bridges and skylines, waterfalls and much more with your virtual travel buddy, EarthCam. Because it streams live, not only do you see, you also hear the sounds of your favourite place as if you were standing right there. The perfect escape if stuck at home or in the office. Around 20 locations come free and you have the choice to add more of what you like with several packages. International cities, best beaches and wildlife cams, the choice is yours for RO0.43 each on iTunes and Google Play.
The OpenAire laptop bag brings new meaning to the term “working on the go”. The multi-purpose bag is both a messenger bag to carry your laptop and a personal desk, designed to sit comfortably on your lap. The innovations don’t stop there. The messenger bag also opens fully into a chair, protecting your clothing from sand and dirt. Once you’re done with work, simply fold it up, slip your messenger bag over your shoulder and off you go again. The bag is still in concept mode, but due for release in the near future. Check out the progress at www.behance.net/gallery/Openaire-Laptop-CaseWorkstation