Tech Trends September Reviews Roundup

This month we’ve had a wearables bonanza with two very cool smartwatches coming our way, plus some very impressive AR books and toys, enjoy!

Samsung Gear S3

I still remember my first watch. A red and blue, plastic, made in China, digital beauty that was also a Transformer. The fact it told the time was incidental. The reason I loved it was because of all the other crazy stuff it did. If we’re honest, smart watches are the grown-up version of that, still targeted at the same people. The difference is that now the “grownups” of my generation have a bit more pocket money to spend on their toys, and those toys can actually do a lot of the things that we couldn’t imagine back then.

Looks are also important, of course. A watch you choose to wear all the time should look the bollocks. I know my Transformer one was the king of the classroom, if only for a week. It’s a great feeling. And that’s the feeling I got as I unboxed the Samsung Gear S3 smart watch, in spite of it looking — sorry Optimus Prime — a whole lot classier than my childhood companion. Papa’s got a brand new toy, and it’s pretty awesome. Read the full review here.

RRP: £349

Tech Trends AR Toy Box:

Fun Educational AR Cards

It’s a good job I am a great big man-child as some of the most exciting advances in commercially available VR & AR are coming to market cunningly disguised as books and toys! So today I’m gleefully rummaging in the Tech Trends AR Toy Box for some STEM-based educational stuff as well something much more terrifying… The Educational option comes from ReTrak who are offering three Utopia 360° 4D+ Augmented and Virtual Reality kits for kids of 5+, The Space, Dinosaur and Animal Zoo 4D+ Bundles are literally amazing and I was blown away by the quality of the AR implementation and the educational content. Read both full reviews here.

RRP: £40

Alien: Augmented Reality Survival Manual

Next in my AR Toy Box is an excellent interactive book from Carlton Publishing featuring my favourite film of all time, Alien. Boy this is a treat for a geek like me, an Alien: Augmented Reality Survival Manual. The book was produced in partnership with 20th Century Fox and is full of detailed content on the marines, the tech and the universe of the films, with lots of high quality images and production artwork, But the AR is the USP here, and it doesn’t disappoint. Read both full reviews here.

RRP: £25

Suunto GPS Smart Watch

Who says that tech folk can’t be outdoorsy? This sturdy GPS smartwatch is the perfect geeky companion for all your fresh air pursuits.

As a Tech journalist I have to admit I spend most of my time staring at a computer screen (or a tablet screen, smartphone screen, TV… well, you get the picture, haha). But living in the great wilderness that is Somerset (it’s in the UK for any Americans that need to look it up) and with no fewer than three lively dogs to my name I also get dragged out of the house in all weathers to get wet, muddy and lost.

While I might not be your typical outdoorsman, however, I still like to think I could hack it in the wild, sharpening sticks, skinning seagulls and falling in rivers, that sort of thing. So I was keen try out the Suunto Traverse smart GPS watch. Very much a GPS navigation tool the Traverse is perfect for Hiking, Mountaineering, Trekking, Walking, Backpacking, Climbing and (less so in the UK as we have killed everything except the cows & sheep) Hunting. Read the full review here.

RRP: £325

Corkcicle Tumbler

Continuing Tech Trends’ crusade for ultimate hydration we took a sip from this very cuteCorkcicle Tumbler. Promising at home or on-the-go, triple-insulated beverage security, the Tumbler promises to keep your drink cool for 9 hours or hot for three without freezing or cup sweat, I hate cup sweat, nothing worse! The Corkcicle Tumbler comes in two sizes and 13 colours. I have to say it rather attractive as far as insulated cups go, and it does do the job, as my coffee stayed hot for the two hours it took me to drink it on the train to Cornwall. Note of warning though, be sure to keep the sip slider closed when you are not drinking or all that lovely heat will disappear out the spout! Colours are a bit on the girly side perhaps, but I am secure enough in my masculinity so this was no biggie.

RRP: $24.95

Black + Blum Lunch Box

Extreme Tupperware Tech! Long day of coding ahead? No time for lunch out? You’re going to need a lunch box full of healthy home made sarnies, celery sticks, and maybe even a Dairylea triangle and an apple to keep you going… Black & Blum’s Large Square Lunch Boxdoes the job in style.

RRP: £11.95

Joto the Robotic Drawing Board

Joto is the next generation drawing machine, combining elements of robotics and artificial intelligence with pen and ink. First launched via a Kickstarter campaign in early 2017, it sold over 1,800 units in just four weeks and raised over £362,000 — smashing its original target of £100,000. Joto was named the public’s favourite design at this year’s Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum, and will be made available to consumers via an exclusive partnership with Selfridges later in 2017. Business customers already using Joto technology include Twitter, Google, IBM, Intel and Liberty of London.

Basically a connected whiteboard that draws with a pen, the Joto is happy sketching everything from works of art to messages. At the push of a button, Joto turns pixels on a screen into pen and ink drawings. Check out the video below to see how it brought the Tech Trends logo to life.

“Most of the content we love is stuck on our screens, and as a result so are we. We’re seeing a new movement looking to engage people beyond the screen, indulging in both old and new technology, that embraces all the qualities we have lost with digital media. Examples of these success stories range from vinyl to Alexa. It’s the start of a new generation of technology in the home,” Jim Rhodes, the founder of Joto, explained to Tech Trends.

It’s great to see companies exploring the potential of creative robotics, and the design and art community is eagerly embracing the potential of the new technology in their work. Top names already creating exclusive artwork for the new medium include graphic designer Anthony Burrill, Mr. Bingo and Supermundane. To demonstrate the versatility of Joto, the team has launched 365 Days of Art, which will see a network of artists create and share unique designs with the Joto community via the app.

Creative robotics is an exciting new intersection between the worlds of design and technology,” adds Rhodes. “The response has been amazing, and with our ‘365 Days of Art’ project, top artists, designers and illustrators will be able to distribute their work on the Joto platform, letting users discover a new piece of art on their wall every day of the year.”

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

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