The Rogue One: A Star Wars Story movie may be aging quite rapidly but R2-D2 – the trusty droid from the movie – has since taken the gadget world by storm. Of course, this one will not sacrifice itself for the sake of its master (you) but what it will do is pair up with your Android or iOS-powered smartphone and let you take complete control of it. Once connected you can drive it around, let it unleash a series of bleeps and bloops, dance or even set it on “Guard” mode. It’s a bit educational too: there is a series of “mission” minigames that will help you learn how to programme routes. Yours for RO38.1 from argos.co.uk.
It may not sound like the most sophisticated gadget out there today but the Leapfrog Leapband may very well be an alternative to the Fitbit Charge for kids. Whether this is a watch or a toy is very much debatable but we can assure you that the device is an excellent wristband activity tracker. It has a built-in pedometer and a workout mode with set challenges, which are aimed at getting your child off the sofa and into the playground. The more time your child spends outside playing, the more “joules” (get the idea?) he or she earns. These joules can then be used to feed the virtual pet that is pre-programmed into the device. Yours for RO10 from amazon.com.
We’re all for keeping children away from smartphones but there comes a time when every parent has to concede to his or her child’s interests. That’s where the VTech DigiGo comes into the picture: it may look like a cruel prank (in terms of design) but the smartphone can actually send and receive messages, voice notes, and create pictures and drawings – all in a very safe and monitored environment. The phone only connects with approved devices – meaning you can control who sends your child messages, pictures, etc. The device also comes with a 10cm LCD and a 2-megapixel camera. Yours for a reasonable RO38.5 from argos.com.
Who said that adults must have all the fun? Well, by fun, we mean creating your own computers (duh!). If that’s the case, your child can now have a go at making his or her own personal computer with the Kano kit. The device combines a Raspberry Pi 3 (an open-source chipset) with a selection of chunky, attractive (and very orange!) peripherals. Once up and running, there are hundreds of hours worth of games and exercises designed to help your child code, create art and build apps and games. All yours for RO53.52 from amazon.com.
App of the week
If you’re paranoid about your child’s whereabouts, then we suggest you download the Sygic Family Locator application. The app can tell you the real-time location and the battery levels of your family members’ smartphones, and also check-in periodically with you to let you know where they are and if they have arrived at their destination safely. There’s also a built-in messaging system which lets you send messages for free – like WhatsApp or IMO, and also a feature to set “safe” and “unsafe” zones. Yours for free from Google Play and iTunes.
VR games are getting more exciting and challenging by the day, and Statik is one of the few games that has actually caught our interest. We have only seen the trailer so far but we like what we saw and think that the game fits right into the ever-growing puzzle/thriller genre. It revolves around players who have to help Dr Ingen solve various complexities of the hidden mind. The players wake up with a new puzzle contraption attached to their hands and have to solve the puzzle to be set free. Dr Ingen has a pixelated face, and that invokes an aura of wariness when dealing with the puzzles but for most parts, he seems to be an ally.
Developer: Tarsier Studios
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: Q4 2017
How far would you go with the PlayStation VR? Well, if you’re willing to travel to alien worlds then Farpoint should be the game to look forward to this year. Survival and exploration will be the main themes of the game, and you will be pitted against multitudes of aliens (of course, you are the actual alien here). The developers, Impulse Gear have also announced that they will be releasing a PSVR Aim controller – a gun-shaped accessory – specifically for the game. In any case, be prepared for some next-level action gaming, and we suggest you work on honing your reflexes because if the trailer is anything to go by, you’ll be surrounded by alien warriors… figuratively, of course.
Developer: Impulse Gear
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: Q4 2017