The most adventurous gadgets (2010 edition)

Plenty of firms make evolutionary products – they take something and make it slightly better. Most of the time, it’s dull. Revolutionary products, however, merge humans and technology in new, perturbing, and sometimes ridiculous ways. One need only look at the Tweetle – the twittering kettle.

Looxcie

We see a lot of gadgets, and below is my list of outstanding contributions to the furthering of human and technological relations:

Notion Ink Adam

The little known Indian developer Notion Ink captured my heart back in January. It was originally defined by its Pixel Qi display – an LCD screen that turns into an eInk-rival at the flip of a switch. After another year of development, it’s ready to hit our stores as a more powerful, more useful version of the iPad. With 3G, Skype (with video calling), a 10ish hour battery life, two cameras, powerful media playback and a eInk-like screen, this could be the tablet to end all other mobile devices. It could be the One. It could be everything the iPad wasn’t.

LiveView

LiveView – or future versions – have the potential to end the wristwatch. Mounted on your wrist, it provides you with wireless access to your smartphone’s functions. An awesome idea with a slightly flawed execution. Hopefully, there will be evolution to this revolution.

Looxcie

The Looxcie lets you record 30 seconds into the past. No, it’s not some kind of unrealistic Deja Vu time-viewer. It simply records all the time, and when you push a button it saves the previous 30 seconds. A bit heavy, slightly gawky and with just too small a memory and too short a battery life. Next year, maybe?

BlackPad

Another tablet that isn’t the iPad. The reason that the BlackPad makes the list is due to its innovative, ingrained smartphone integration. It uses the best features of your Blackberry and combines them with the form and power of a tablet. It’s a whole lot more interesting than Apple’s product, which just multiplied the size of the iPhone and subtracted its camera.

Nintendo 3DS

The first 3D handheld was announced. It may not be out yet, but it’ll hopefully send a stark message to everyone else in the 3D market: we want the third dimension without glasses. Hurry up.

Looxcie always on camcorder: Overshare wear?

The really arrogant guy that slipped over. The heated argument on the train. The cat that just mistimed his jump, face-planted into the side of the chair and released a muted “meeoo” noise. All priceless moments, perfect for racking up thousands of YouTube hits. The Looxcie wants to help you record these, even after they’ve happened. Wait, what?

Looxcie

The Looxcie is an ear-mounted camcorder that spends its entire life filming. There is no “record” button, simply turn it on and it starts. If something brilliant happens, push the “instant clip” button and the last 30 seconds of recorded footage turns into an individual video clip, ready to share.

The device seeks to revolutionise the current recording situation in traditional camcorders, where you have to wait until it turns on and then press record. By the time you’ve done that, 30 seconds have passed – as has the moment. By recording constantly and only turning the stuff you like into a worthwhile clip, the Looxcie hopes to capture even the most fleeting moments of brilliance.

The device will instantly transfer the clip to an Android smartphone (although WinMo and iPhone support are in the works), ready for e-mailing, or uploading to YouTube or Facebook via a dedicated app.

The app also works as a viewfinder for the camera, as well as a remote control and an editing tool to stitch together clips into 30-minute long episodes.

If you’re in the market for longer recordings, you can hook it up to your computer to dump the entire four-hour capacity onto your hard drive footage it can record. Be warned, however – once the Looxcie runs out of space, it begins recording over the oldest footage. Clips will always be safe, but any un-clipped video will be overwritten once the space limit is reached.

The video quality is a not-so-impressive HVGA resolution at 15FPS, although from a device that weighs less than 28g, it certainly exceeds expectations. It records for up to four hours (and then both battery and storage run out), and also works as a Bluetooth headset, giving you six hours talktime.

Even though the Looxcie is out, making recording and uploading video easier than ever, there are (thankfully) still barriers preventing chronic over-share: the $199 price-tag, and a sense of self-awareness which makes wearing an ear-camera uncool.