July 2017 Tech Trends Product Reviews

From your very own Einstein to an awesome Virtual Reality HMD, and some solar panels to keep them powered up on the go. Tech Trends has your back in the gear department.

Professor Einstein

Who better to teach your kids a little science and maths than Professor Einstein himself? Well unfortunately even geniuses are not immortal, so we’ll have to settle for the ever-so-cute Professor Einstein educational robot from Hanson Robotics. Synch him with up with Hanson’s Stein-o-Matic app on iOS or Android for a daily fix of interactive educational content. The brainchild of Hanson Robotics CEO and founder David Hanson and it’s CTO Andy Rifkin, the Professor was initially available via Kickstarter but is now also up for grabs on eBay.

I bring out the magic and fun of astronomy, physics, biology, geology and much more. Want to know the weather in Capetown? What is a quark? The exploits of Isaac Newton? Just say “Hey Professor…?” and ask away.

Standing 14.5 inches tall his specially designed ‘frubber’ face expresses and emotes like nothing I have seen before in this price range and his motorised arms gesticulate merrily as he imparts his wisdom.His interactive features are powered by AI and he uses Microsoft’s Xiaobing chatbot to listen and speak, answering your questions on topics including astronomy, physics, biology, geology and more.This is the first commercially available robot from Hanson and is incredibly life-like, but not in a creepy way, which is sometimes difficult to get right. Luckily the professor is a lot more more Frodo than Chucky!

RRP $249

Penclic K2 Wireless Keyboard

Swedish company Penclic have a mission to reduce your RSI and we have tested several of their products here on Tech Trends and can vouch for their effectiveness. Today we are testing their latest version of their wireless keyboard the K2 which retails for €69 or £62. This new version has a slightly nicer feel to the keys but is still not as nice to use as the fractionally more expensive, minimalist KB3 Bluetooth keyboard they make. Overall the K2 is a comfortable keyboard to use and the small size and low profile do keep my arms relaxed when typing and my only mild frustration is that the wi-fi only works within a radius of about a meter from the computer, probably not an issue for most users but something to bear in mind.

RRP: €69.99

BioLite SolarPanel 10+

Fans of hiking, kayaking, camping and outdoor pursuits in general still need their mobile devices and when they’re miles from the nearest power socket and need their GPS to get them home, they often let them down at the worst possible time.

Enter the BioLite SolarPanel 10+ a super thin and lightweight smart power device. The two High-efficiency monocrystaline solar panels will suck 10 watts of power from the sun and fill up the built in 3000 mAh rechargeable battery for charging all your essential devices, tablets and phones. BioLite’s Optimal Sun System includes a built in sundial for aligning the panels to the sun’s rays and a 360 degree kickstand to simplify positioning on uneven terrain. When you are done, simply fold the 10+ up and pop it in your rucksack or you can charge on the move by hanging it from you backpack and keep going. Oh and it’s splash proof, so go ahead and jump in those puddles!

RRP: $129.95


A Kickstarter funded, funky new wearable motion capture device, DigiBit gives you responsive in-game control for VR and non VR environments on iOS and Android (Marshmallow and above) devices. Control your in-game movements and actions with smart sensors that attach to the hands or feet for a gaming experience like never before!

These elegant little wearables are the creation of DigiBit Founder, Colt Correa and his family. This is one of those great stories of an engineer who, when disappointed by commercial products, knew he could do better, and with the help of a Kickstarter campaign plans to deliver an affordable product even the big games and console manufacturers would be proud of. DigiBit is an open platform and includes an open source Air Hockey game, a free Unity3D plugin and an open Bluetooth API. The patent-pending wearable motion and communication technology captures your body movement for responsive in-game control in VR and non-VR environments.

Read Tech Trends full review here

RRP: $79 (Super Early Bird Pledge)


TouchPoints™ Basic are another crowdfunding success story. Founded in 2015 by Neuropsychologist Dr. Amy Serin and executive child advocate Vicki Mayo, these cunning little gadgets are a non-invasive, wearable devices that use patent-pending neuroscience to relieve stress in as little as 30 seconds.

Using quantitative electroencephalogram data, existing neuroscience research and archival data, Dr Amy Serin determined the device produced significant and quantifiable brain changes after just seconds of use. TouchPoints use Bi-Lateral Alternating Stimulation Tactile (BLAST) stimulation to give the user a gentle vibration that affects the brain and alters the body’s fight, flight or freeze response.

Read Tech Trends full review here.

RRP: $119

Avid Media Composer First

Media Composer First is a very limited version of the full programme, currently MC 8.5, but it aims to give you the basic cutting experience, plus some key functionalities of its big brother. We consume most of our video content via the web these days and Avid gets this, offering very basic options for exporting your finished video via Quicktime in the web friendly H.264 or their propriety DNxHD codec or even better, publish directly to YouTube or Vimeo. Yes you can edit 4k video in First but only downscaled to HD, output is also limited to HD but again this is still the most web friendly format and to make your 4k files work for you Avid retain the awesome FrameFlex from the pro version.

Read all the details and specs in the full review here.


Technology writer for FastCo, Quartz, The Next Web, Ars Technica, Wired + more. Consultant specializing in VR #MixedReality and Strategic Communications