In Style + Design

Wish List: The 10 Most Exciting Gadgets Of 2017 And Beyond

From cutting edge smart watches, home automatic systems and foldable tablets, to a full blown jetpack, these are the gadgets that you need to know about.

With the volume of gadgets these days far exceeding glut-level – and every one of them promising to be revolutionary – it’s easy to miss the ones that are truly pushing the envelope. And whether you’re a fitness junkie, fashion tragic or veteran technophile, gadgets matter to everyone.

Here are 10 of the newest, slickest and most stylish pieces of tech on the horizon (or just beyond it).

 

Google Home

The Google Home device. Photo: Google

In its latest bid to bring sci-fi clichés to life, Google has just launched Home, a voice-activated, cloud-connected speaker that lets you control your entire house over a Wi-Fi network. Computer – tea, Earl Grey, hot! That sort of thing.

While it’s reportedly been rushed slightly to compete with a similar product – Amazon’s Echo – Google Home is well placed to become a domestic standby, as the standard number of household smart-devices continues to climb.

There are, after all, only so many remotes you can keep on a coffee table.

Microsoft HoloLens 2

The HoloLens is tipped to hit stores in 2019. Photo: Microsoft

Tipped to be the future of personal computing, the HoloLens is a computer built directly into a headset. The system uses depth-perception technology to create a virtual 3D interface that the user can interact with via voice commands and gestures.

So what happened to the HoloLens 1? Well, you can order one from Microsoft right now if you like, but it’s a developer model only – meaning it’s not “consumer ready”. It’s basically serving as a development platform for the HoloLens 2, which is expected to hit stores – and blow minds – in 2019.

Biostrap

The Biostrap design. Photo: Biostrap

Touted as the next step in the now-ubiquitous (and largely homogenous) fitness tracking industry, Biostrap is a brand-new system comprising a wrist-strap and shoe-clip. The two gadgets work in tandem to deliver a far greater number of metrics than your standard pedometry and heart rate. This includes blood oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, sleep analysis, and exercise type and intensity.

If you want deeper insight into your fitness than ever before, Biostrap’s more advanced biometrics might be worth a look.

LG Wallpaper TV

The LG Signature OLED is an incredibly thin television. Photo: LG

With televisions attaining ever more extreme levels of thinness, it was only a matter of time before someone created one with the depth of a picture frame. Enter the LG Signature OLED, a television so thin it could model for Alex Perry.

Cleverly housing its input and processing hardware in the attached sound-bar, the Signature’s OLED (organic LED) display is less than 3 millimetres thick and sports 4K resolution. Waif-like dimensions don’t come cheap, however, and the Signature’s smallest model starts at $5,199.

Lenovo’s foldable tablet

Flexible touchscreens have been a thing for a while now. But a flexible touchscreen on top of a working, real-life, bona-fide tablet? That’s a whole different animal – and it could be just around the corner.

The prototype Folio, unveiled at Lenovo’s Tech World Conference in San Francisco, is a tablet that can be folded up to the size of a smartphone. If you’ve ever grown frustrated at switching between your phone and your tablet, this little baby could change your life. And while its processing power isn’t as high-spec as the latest non-flexible tablets, that seems a small price to pay for a device that appears to defy (or at least bend) the laws of physics.

No release details have yet been given for the Folio, but it’s one to keep your eye on.

LAER smart laptop sleeve

The LAER is a smart laptop case and charger in one. Photo: LAER

Rather than lug around a Gordian tangle of chargers and cables, wouldn’t it be simpler to have one accessory that charges everything?

That’s the idea behind LAER, a laptop sleeve that can charge your laptop, smartphone and tablet all at the same time. The Bluetooth-enabled smart-sleeve comes complete with USB adapters, a built-in tracker, and wireless charging technology.

Volterman smart wallet

Ever wish you could call your misplaced wallet? I’d say your prayers are answered, but that would be an understatement. The Volterman – a technology-infused wallet which has smashed its funding target on Indiegogo – not only features a built-in alarm, it can also charge your phone, provide a Wi-Fi hotspot, and photograph would-be thieves.

And while smart-devices often come burdened with significant dork-factor, the Volterman is rendered in quality brown leather and a variety of styles. This might just be the future of wallets.

Samsung Gear S4 smartwatch

The Samsung Gear S3 is almost a year old and rumours are flying about the S4 model. Photo: Samsung

The follow-up to 2016’s Gear S3, Samsung’s as-yet-unannounced smartwatch is set to build on the series’ tradition of smart styling, sharp screens and snappy performance. Rumour has it that Samsung may even deploying curved-screen technology to make the S4’s circular bezel into a touch display. If so, this would make the smartwatch one of the most stunning devices in recent memory.

The S4 is tipped to land in November this year.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop

A super-thin laptop that’s also a tablet, the XPS 2-in-1 combines high-spec computing with a premium look and feel. Its carbon fibre and aluminium chassis houses a solid state hard drive, Core i5 or i7 processor, and QHD+ InfinityEdge touch display.

Not bad for something weighing just over a kilogram. And should you grow bored of the laptop formfactor, the XPS flips into a tablet with ease.

JetPack – literally, a jetpack

Ready for takeoff. Photo: JetPack Aviation

Flying without a license has been a dream of humankind since the dawn of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Now, JetPack Aviation is set to make that dream a reality, having successfully completed the first-ever civilian jetpack test-flight in April. Running on diesel, the jetpack provides about ten minutes of flight time per refuel, and can run at speeds of over 100 km/h.

If your morning commute could stand to be cut down a little – and you don’t mind a little turbulence in the hair – private orders for the JB-10 jetpack are being taken now, and will set you back a cool US$250,000.

(Lead image: JetPack Aviation and Microsoft HoloLens. Photos: Supplied)

Published 16 August, 2017