getWaiter app aims to put an end to “Garcon, Garcon!”

getwaiter-app

Garcon! Garcon! Caught your attention? How about if I click my fingers? Or suggestively waggle my eyebrows whilst miming a pen in the air? No … well then maybe I’ll use a brand new app on my phone – getWaiter. Perhaps the dictionary definition of a first world problem, getWaiter was created by entrepreneurs Paul Tombs and Dominic McGuinness who were frustrated about not being able to get the waiter’s attention when eating out. I would have simply gone to a new restaurant. Or at the most written a bad Yelp review. This is why they’re the entrepreneurs.

“The pleasure of dining out is about being able to completely relax because everything will be done for you, but it’s frustrating if you keep having to break off your conversation to grab the attention of a hard-working but very busy waiter. *get*Waiter! is a really valuable, simple app that tells waiters exactly who needs their attention,” said Dominic McGuinness, the company’s marketing director.

The free app works by scanning a special at your table, which automatically connects your table to the venue’s central waiting management system. This does feel a tiny bit like a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, but the developers assure us that the system is quick and painless one-click solution. Users don’t have to register to use the app, and no personal information is stored on the company’s servers, so you won’t be emailed countless 10% discount offers.

If you find this to be a genuine problem this app is probably quite useful. As a scruffy gentleman I always look like I’m about to dine and dash so have grown up with wait staff watching me like a hawk. Even when surrounded by other scruffy folk, I feel can always get table service with a smile and a strong arm wave. Plus I’m not the sort of person that would get put out waiting an extra couple of minutes to order dessert. Others feel differently. “Even if the food is great, you can be left with a sour taste in your mouth if it takes too long to pay the bill” according to Paul Tombs, managing director of *get*Waiter!

Take up is everything with an app like this – if it’s widely adopted by restaurants where you eat there’s a small chance it could become a genuine time saver. Although there is every possibility that installing an app such as getWaiter in your restaurant could make your staff much more attentive just because they know it’s there. According to Paul, the aim is that the app “becomes an instantly recognisable badge of excellence for customer service. Just as Michelin stars in the window of a restaurant signify great food, customers will know that venues where the *get*Waiter! logo is on show really care about providing a great customer experience.”

Sadly you can’t pay with the app. Or split the bill. Or order. In fact the app would be amazing if it did a little more than replace the ability to clear one’s throat loudly. However the app is designed to keep “personal service” at the forefront of your dining experience. The team behind believes the human touch is a vital part of great service in restaurants, and waiters’ extensive knowledge of wine and food remains vital difference.

Apple’s Apple Store app is pretty great example of an in-store app that enables you to shop, plan things, interact with staff and transact when you’re actually in the store – especially if you have a genius appointment. If only they served food. getWaiter can be downloaded free from the iTunes and Android Play stores or by clicking www.getwaiter.com

Top 5 Strange Gadgets

Grande-Shirt

The world of gadgets seems to be growing more bizarre and curious by the day, as manufacturers are sold ideas by the sanguine inventors, who in turn do their best to sell them to us. Do we want to buy them? Of course we do…Well at least some of them… Take a look at some of the craziest gadgets of 2013.

Dhama Climate Controlled Dress Shirt

Dhama Innovations brings us the Climate Controlled Dress Shirt. Yes you did hear right, no more sweaty armpits, and no more frozen nipples. You could step out of your car in freezing conditions with your shirt control set at 122 degrees Fahrenheit, and then as you enter the all too warm office, whip on the in-built air conditioning and be the coolest dude in the building!

The material itself is a wonder to behold, engineered to absorb sweat and always stay tucked in your pants. There is even a discreet control panel, which is detachable and allows the wearer to introduce a 10 minute blast of cool air. The control can be reset and cool air can be blasted around the ingenious ventilation system built into the shirt.

The battery lasts for six hours, so that should take care of a regular batch of office meetings but you could always arrive packing a spare battery. The rechargeable batteries only weigh 2.8 ounces and the shirt itself retails for $134 (approximately £88).

You can buy this super the Dhama Climate Controlled Dress Shirt from Dhama Innovations

The Hapifork – Buzzing aid to proper digestion

Eating your food too fast leads to poor digestion and weight gain, we are regularly told. Health and fitness gadget gurus, Hapilabs have seem to come up with a solution for overzealous eaters and come up with a real gem to help make people eat more slowly.

The Hapifork measures how long you take between mouthfuls or forkfuls. You can then download the information via a USB after a meal and check out on your “slow eating” progress on a dashboard! Eat too fast and the fork buzzes away with a steady annoyance, which can only make you slow right down and chew your food properly. Or, failing that, it will make you throw the fork away so that you can really get stuck into that tasty lamb Rogan josh!

You can pick up a Hapifork at HapiLabs.

Boot-Call

Booty Call – The ass-shaped phone case

This gimmicky gadget is the sort of thing that you send a friend as a joke gift. The voluptuous Booty Call iPhone case does however have another use however apart from creating some short-lived amusement – It doubles up as a phone stand!

When someone of authority asks you, “Why you are arsing around on the phone all day,” you needn’t take any offence!

Pick up a Booty Call for a mere $9.95 (approximately £6.50) from Amazon

Swivelling Cats Ears – To show your mood

Well, this gadget is probably best kept in the privacy of your own home. These ‘animatronic’ cat ears wiggle to match your mood. A pulse monitor is fastened to your ear and your brainwaves are picked up via a sensor above your eyebrow. Depending upon how you are feeling the ears wiggle in differing ways. The manufacturer is Necomini, and this mindboggling device costs a hefty £65.Whatever next we exasperatedly cry!

Power Flask Device Charger

As the name hints this charger is disguised as a flask, presumably so that the person doing the device charging ,won’t be seen with a real genuine charger. Why is the question?  Manufacturer’s Digital Treasure insist it is so device chargers won’t look so nerdy. Although isn’t it ‘nerdier’ to go around with a flask than it is to go around with a useful piece of electronic equipment?

Anyway, the specification is good enough, with its 13,000 mAH battery, which can charge up to three devices at once.

Looking less nerdy (apparently) will cost you though, $90 (£59 approx.) to be precise. Powerflask

Top 5 Father’s Day Ideas

Klhip

Who doesn’t love a made-up holiday designed to perpetuate gender stereotypes and sell merchandise? It’s that time of year again and Father’s Day is upon us. Still it fun giving you dad something, be it tickets to the ballet, a new CD player or just a hug. And it you’re looking for something for someone technically inclined we have 5 things that just might do the trick.

Klhip
If your father’s hand is starting to resemble a bear claw and if your old man responds well to vaguely passive agressive gestures he might very well love Klhip, the world’s first (and only) ergonomically correct nail clippers. Klhip features a precision engineered balance of increased leverage, enhanced control and world-class manufacturing using surgical-grade stainless steel.

Out now from The Foundry for £49.99.

Camper-Van-Tent

Camper Tent
If you Dad has always secretly had a thing for Mother Nature, and yearned for the Summer of Love then why not get his this officially licensed, four-person tent, which is a full-sized replica of the iconic 1965 Volkswagen Camper Van, synonmous with the 1960s counterculture he turned his back on when he married your mother and went into teaching.

Limited Edition VW Flower Power Campervan Tent: £299.99 or try and win one free from Campetition

Philips-Avance-Grill

Philips Avance Grill
Doesn’t your pops love grilled meat but also reside on the British Isles? Chances are he won’t have many chances to get his BBQ on. Fortunately Philips are hoping to change all that with the Philips Avance Grill (HD6360), the first-of-its-kind indoor barbeque with a unique Taste Infuser, enabling you to infuse your food with natural smoky flavours, herbs, or wine, giving your dishes an authentic barbeque taste.

The Avance Grill is available from Amazon for under £120.00

Looj-Fathers-Day

Looj
Wanna give the old man a break from hard work and give him a glimpse into the future household maintenance? Then give him Looj – the UK’s first gutter cleaning robot. Able to clear 30 feet in just 5 minutes the Looj is perfect for clogged cutters and automatically senses and adapts to the conditions in your gutter, making sure the dirtier areas get worked on until clean.
But more importantly you can say “hey Dad I got you a robot”.

The iRobot Looj 330 is available now from iRobot.com for £299.

Orbitsound-M12-FDay

Orbitsound Wireless Soundbar
If your Dad loves great sound and hates cables then he and I should hang out. And while we’re hanging out we’ll be using Orbitsound’s M series wirless soundbar. We loved Orbitsounds T series wired soundbars and were delighted when they made the leap to wireless. The room-filling spatial sound enhances TV audio and had Bluetiith streaming built in. And there’s a wireless subwoofer for some all-important bass.

Orbitsound M9 and M12, £299 and £399 respectively, both available from John Lewis.

Top 5 BBQ gadgets

George-Foreman-Grill

For years man has been fascinated by flames. For years man has been fascinated by steak. Needless to say, that small window of the year when man can combine these two points of interest is a golden time for all. Albeit a charred gold.

For years man has also been fascinated by cool technologies… You can see where we’re going with this, right? Don your aprons, grab your firelighters and let’s take the ancient art of BBQing to a whole new level.

George Foreman GIPOD200

Besides meat, beverages and company, the fourth most important ingredient on any self-respecting BBQ baron’s checklist is music. This year, though, you can leave your battery or solar powered radios and speaker docks in the cupboard. You can even tell your guitar-brandishing mate to leave his axe behind… The latest addition to George Foreman’s ever-extending range of grills is this very cool electric BBQ that boasts an iPod docking bay!

Yup, you read that correctly; a BBQ that’s also a soundsystem. Okay so it’s only available in the US right now. And, okay, the foot-based speakers are a humble 10-watt, but, using the 3.5mm jack you can easily hook it up to a larger set of speakers. And don’t go thinking the BBQ lacks in the cooking department; being electric it guarantees consistent heat and, being a proud member of the Foreman range, it also drains the fat like his other grills. Sounds and sizzling lean meat… Life doesn’t get much better.

Yours for $150

BBQ Tower

From: http://www.bbqtower.co.uk

It’s the moment every BBQ commando fears; too many guests and not enough grill space. Who’s going to be last in line for their chicken wing? Who’s going to fight over that recently cooked steak?

Fear not; the BBQ Tower offer three skyward stacking grills, ensuring everyone gets their sausage in time. Each one comes with its own easily removable charcoal tray, meaning all food will be cooked consistently and at the same time. Perfect for those will small gardens or big appetites, its oven-like coverage means you can even cook pizza on it!

Yours for £165

Weber-Universal-Griddle

Webber Universal Griddle

From: http://www.bbqworld.co.uk/

So you like the sound of BBQ pizza. Who doesn’t? How about BBQ eggs? How about BBQ pancakes? The world is your oyster with Webber’s Universal Griddle. Shucks, you can cook your oyster using this badboy.

Yes, it’s hardly a technological leap – man has been fascinated by cooking eggs for years – but it’s arguably one of the most essential BBQ tools. The addition of a fried egg to your perfectly singed gammon steak is enough to sell it alone. Let alone pancakes for dessert!

Yours for £21

Heston-Blumenthal-Precision-Digital-Meat-Thermometer

Heston Blumenthal Precision Digital Meat Thermometer

From: http://www.thermometersdirect.co.uk

The cooking thermometer market is bulging with options that range from the very basic at about a fiver a pop to top notch gadgetry that’s the sole preserve of your Michael Roux Juniors.

Luckily there’s an affordable middle ground. And it comes with the backing of everyone’s favourite baldy food scientist, Heston Blumenthal. With a large, clear digital display, stainless steel body and handy pocket case clip, it’s quite a handy piece of kit. And while the majority of us won’t be using it in the same way Heston will (strawberry snails anyone?) it will massively reduce the risk of food poisoning. Which has to be a good thing, right?

Yours for £12

GrillBot

Grillbot

As featured earlier this year on Latest Gadgets, the Grillbot is the perfect saviour for those sad, poignant moments when the meat is eaten, the guests are gone and the only traces of chargrilled fun are stuck to your BBQ.

Powered by six D-cell batteries, these cheeky grill creepers use sensors to assess the size of your BBQ and control their speed and direction accordingly. Using three sets of replaceable brushes, they steadfastly work their way across the stubborn grease, grime and unidentified burnt things. What’s more, because they’re wire brushes, you can apply the bots while the grill is still warm – the optimum time to clear off any muck from a BBQ. Shucks, you can even wash your brushes in the dishwasher.

With gadgets like this, you’re in grave danger of looking forward to the end of the BBQ almost too much!

Yours for $65.95

Grillbot: BBQ Cleaning Robot

GrillBot-on-Grill

Robotic gadgets often work best when they prevent us having to do tiring and repetitive physical work, and that’s certainly an apt description for cleaning a barbeque grill. Enter the Grillbot: a gadget that looks and works a lot like the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner but for your grill.

As with the Roomba, the Grillbot uses sensors to control speed and direction, making sure it take the most efficient route around your grill while still getting everything clean. The big difference is that instead of nylon brushes for picking up dust, the Grillbot has three replaceable brushes with tough metal bristles for scraping the gunk and fat from your grill in exactly the same way as using a wire brush by hand. The three brushes are removable for washing and you can even chuck them in the dishwasher.

The basic principle is certainly simple: in fact inventor Ethan Woods developed the idea by attaching a wire brush to a power drill! As with many gadgets — the works of James Dyson come to mind — the tricky part was making it work smoothly and reliably, particularly given that that grills are anything but the type of solid, flat surface robots prefer.

GrillBot

One of the most impressive features is that, because Grillbot uses wire brushes, it’s able to get to work even while a grill is still hot. Normally when we barbeque, by the time a grill has cooled down completely it’s got dark, we’ve had a few drinks, and we have neither the willpower nor the ability to clean properly, leaving us with the heartsinking sight of a dirty grill the next morning. With the Grillbot, you can set it to work as soon as you’ve put out any flames and you’ll have a great talking point among your more gadget-oriented guests.

The standard version is powered by six D-cell batteries (the chunky sort often used in torches.) A premium edition model uses a rechargeable battery with mains adaptor for charging. With the premium model you can also use a timer to automatically set the Grillbot to shut down after a set period of cleaning.

For those of us in the UK who’ve learned to distrust the phrase “barbeque summer”, it’s possible not everyone will need to use the Grillbot enough to make it a worthwhile investment to the same extent as our American cousins. It really comes down to how often you barbeque and how much you detest cleaning. That said, for anyone who operates commercial grills or runs a campsite or holiday park, this could be a significant time saver.

The Grillbot will be available from mid-2013 with the standard version costing $69.95 and the premium edition $99.95. The manufacturers plan on a UK release at some point, but you can pre-order from grillbot.com for international delivery as the charger is compatible with 240 volts power.

Electrolux Infisight and Zanussi QUADRO: Take your home cooking up a notch.

We recently did a feature on fitness gadget that covered all sorts of bits and bobs that will help you stay trim for 2013. However as I’m sure you know “great abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym” so we thought we’d also look at two new devices that will help out with your eating habits.

Food

Have a tiny kitchen? Join the club. Great. Now it’s even more crowded. If you’re trying to create dishes in a cramped urban setting you might want to investigate Zanussi’s family-sized microwave oven from its new QUADRO range.

Zanussi-Combi

The Zanussi ZKC38310XK can be used as a traditional oven, a microwave to reheat food and as a combination-microwave oven to cook food in half the time – handy if you need a second oven whilst entertaining … or if you just want a first oven for your tiny flat. The combi-microwave uses Thermaflow fan cooking to ensure that hot air spreads evenly within the oven so the crisp/moist mix of your food should be maintained. Yours for around £635.

Infisight-Oven

If you have a little bit more room to work with you might consider getting serious with the Electrolux InfiSight pyrolitic oven. Pyrolitc cleaning means that at the touch of a button the over will heat to nearly 500 degrees, turning all food residue and grease into a fine ash that can be simply wiped away. It’s the oven of choice for Bond villains.

The InfiSight has a colour screen which a database of recipes and you can choose between 13 heating modes, 87 pre-set cooking programs and 18 functions, including 20 settings of your own. The screen will then display your selected heating mode, the actual temperature and the remaining cooking time.

The InfiSight features a FoodProbe to check the temperature of your food and displays it on the colour screen so you get a virtual look inside your meal and have a good idea of when it’s ready to pop out. No more burnt dinners. You can also the cooking level of the oven so that your food is medium, rare or well done … through choice.

Yours for £1,099

Great Christmas kitchen gadgets gifts

Food and sex are almost universal drives for human beings so I thought I’d round up kitchen gadgets gifts for Yuletide. For the food obsessed obvious.

Monster-Knife

Monster knife set
I don’t normally demand that my kitchen utensils be ridiculously cute but the Monster knife set from Red 5 can’t help but be adorable. What is more, form belies function and knifes are actually pretty good and the set contains five high quality, precision-finished kitchen knives, made of Molybdenum and Vanadium stainless steel,

Gorenje-HomeCHEF

Gorenje Microwave
We love anything with wifi built-in (Philip’s wireless lightbulbs were amazing) or a touchscreen. Gorenje have brought fingertip magic to the kitchen with this Gorenje HomeCHEF, a built-in oven with full-colour touchscreen. The SIMPLEbake system offers photo realistic images and pre-set programming. You do the pointing, HomeCHEF does the settings, temperature and duration. It’s at the pricer end of kitchen gifts at £1199

HomeCook

Philips Home Cooker
Not to over simplify but the Philip’s Home Cooker is basically a magical cooking robot. The built-in Autostir technology means you can set things going and simply walk away, returning to a dish that has been stirred, melted, simmered, stewed, boiled, steamed, friend and sautéd. Hopefully not all at the same time. You can ever get an attachment that handles all the cutting for you. Delightful and £250.

Panasonic-Toaster-LG

Panasonic Toasters
We had a look at Panasonic’s stylish new range of kettles, toasters and coffee makers a little earlier in the year and their NT-ZP1 / NT-DP1 Toasters really stood out. I was sent a couple to play with and ate a week’s worth in bread as I was having so much fun playing with the precision browning and pop up croissant rack. I don’t get out much. The styling really does make your kitchen look better (or mine at least) and the countdown to toast function is nothing short of classy. The NT-ZP1 is £119.99 from Panasonic.

saeco-xsmall

Philips Saeco Xsmall Class Black
A great way to get coffee crankin’ through your sys is this custom espresso maker from Philips. Not as fancy as some of the other Saeco range (I played with the Philips Saeco Xelsis which has a built-in fingerprint scanner) Xsmall is a more affordable machine, albeit one with adjustable ceramic grinders and a pannarello to let things get seriously frothy.
Yours for about £350

Tê: The “Proper Brewing” Tea Machine

According to the UK Tea Council, the British consume 165 million cups of tea every day or 60.2 billion per year. According to product development company Cambridge consultants we are not doing it right. Cambridge Consultants has developed a capsule based tea brewing system that promises perfect cups of tea every time via a one button touch system.

Before you scoff, Cambridge Consultants do have a history with this sort of thing and one of its many achievements was helping to create the first round tea bag.

Tea-Hand

Tê (I love your accent) is based on a traditional tea brewing method – “but with the convenience of a disposable capsule”. I’ve never found tea bags to be that inconvenient Tê’s ability to reduce brew time and increase drink quality.

Cambridge Consultants poured (pun detected) considerable brainpower into analysing how tea can be brewed differently from the traditional teapot or tea bag method. The key to Tê is a specially engineered recirculating pump technology which is incorporated in the simple capsule – for maximum convenience and minimum mess.

“Whilst coffee systems have seen a significant amount of innovation over the last decade nothing has changed in tea brewing, leaving the tea drinker almost forgotten about. We saw a real opportunity to use our experience in the beverage industry to level the playing field and make a step change in this category.”

Edward Brunner, Group Leader of the Industrial and Scientific Group at Cambridge Consultants

Tea-Machine

Tê brews in just two minutes, which is apparently half the time of a traditional tea pot. It also gives you control over the strength and flavour of your cuppa. The cost of the machine has obviously yet to be determined but they are targeting the lower end of the price range for similar coffee devices – with capsule cost mainly depending on the type of tea leaves selected.

TeaTotal

“Contrary to other tea machines on the market, this is based on a genuine tea-brewing process – rather than simply a ‘single-pass flow’ with fresh water. The technology process has been developed with black teas but has the potential to be used across a range of herbal and fruit teas, and other hot drinks.”

Cambridge Consultants will be demonstrating the Tê machine at CES 2013, January 8-11, in Las Vegas.