Top 5 Cycling Gadgets

Cycling-Gadgets

Cycling has been in the news a lot lately, with the trialling of Dutch-style segregated roundabouts appearing alongside less positive stories about fatal road accidents. However, technology is playing a big part in improving the lives of Britain’s cyclists, and this list of gadgets and apps will assist with everything from safety and maintenance through to fitness and entertainment.

ProNav

1. Safety

Road safety has historically been a major problem for cyclists, and HGVs have been involved in over 50 per cent of cycling deaths since 2010, despite only making up around four per cent of our road traffic. Now, a brand new device called Cycle Alert aims to eliminate the blind spots that can precede collisions with lorries and trucks. This ingenious system sends direct warnings to the drivers of nearby HGVs, alerting them to the presence of any bicycle within two metres. This is achieved by a unit (carried on either the bike or cyclist) communicating with sensors in the lorry cab, immediately triggering a warning alarm and flashing light.

Cost: TBC. Available from nationwide retailers and cyclealert.com later this year.

2. Navigation

Garmin was the first company to launch GPS into the cycling market, and their Edge 510/810 devices incorporate numerous cycle-friendly features. Alongside the usual GPS positioning and speed displays, these compact systems can display gradients, elevations, heart rates and even lap times. Best of all, it’s possible to share the details of your journey in real time with friends and family members, through the Garmin Connect smartphone app. Waterproof, glove-friendly and with a 17-hour battery life, these are among the best GPS devices on the market for cyclists.

Cost: Upwards of £250. Available from Amazon.

Basis-Band

3. Fitness

Cycling is one of the best ways to improve your fitness, but it can be hard to keep tabs on your progress and health. Enter Basis Band, an American device worn on the wrist that acts as a personal cardiologist and fitness instructor. It calculates numerous metrics including heart rate, temperature and galvanic skin response, before distributing this information via cloud technology to a computer program, where users can track everything from calorific output to how long they sleep at night.

Cost: $199. Available from www.mybasis.com

Westone-R4

4. Entertainment

There are countless varieties of portable headphones in the market today, and many people will already have a preferred brand. However, cyclists with deep pockets and no brand loyalties might wish to consider the Westone 4 R-Series of earphones, whose name promises Ultra High-Performance Stereo sound. Sure enough, clever engineering has created impressive ergonomics, while removable cables can be replaced in the event of damage occurring. These in-ear speakers use four-driver systems, based on half a century’s research and innovation, and provide a tolerance of +/- 2dB between earpieces.

Cost: £389.99. Available from The Headphone Company

5. Maintenance

Every keen cyclist will be able to tell tales of mechanical issues and breakdowns, and many of us struggle with even basic repairs like reattaching a slipped chain. Enter the Bike Repair app, which is downloadable onto any Android or iOS device, and offers step-by-step solutions to common problems encountered by cyclists. With over 80 written features and 64 photo guides, this should be enough to resolve anything short of a double puncture.

Cost: £2.49 from iOS, or £1.93 from Android. Available from The Bike Repair App

Image courtesy of @each1teach1

SuperTooth HD Voice: Hands on the Wheel

SuperTooth-HD-Voice

On December 3, 2003, the UK government made it a criminal offence for motorists to drive a car whilst talking on a mobile phone. Since then no company has really come up with an inexpensive after-market solution that allows drivers to safely talk on their phone whilst driving.

At the moment almost all-new cars sold in the UK come with a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, but what about those of us who don’t have Bluetooth? Well SuperTooth, a leading manufacturer of portable audio accessories, believes their recently released HD-Voice Bluetooth hands-free system could be the ideal solution for drivers who want to add the Bluetooth connectivity to their cars, but don’t want to spend several hundred pounds.

SuperTooth’s HD-Voice is a small, inexpensive device that clips on to a car’s sun visor, once it’s securely in place you simply pair the device to your phone and bingo, you’ve got a fully functional voice-controlled hands-free kit.

A spokesperson from SuperTooth reckons that the call quality on the HD-Voice is so good, that many drivers will end up choosing their system over a car’s native hands-free phone system.

A bold claim, but under closer inspection they might actually have a point. The HD Voice comes with two built-in speakers, two microphones and clever voice recognition software. This means the system can pick up simple voice commands really well, especially impressive when it’s fighting against the noise of the engine or road.

SuperTooth-HD-solo

Once the driver has gone through the simple pairing procedure the system is ready to. When an incoming call comes through you simply says “OK” to start the call. The HD-VOICE also indicates the battery level of the device, the bluetooth connection status, and can even announce GPS instructions direct from your smartphone.

One of the reasons why the system is so robust is it comes equipped with voice recognition software which means a driver never actually needs take their hands off the wheel, which can’t be said of some systems, as they usually require a couple of button presses on the dashboard or on the steering wheel to answer or make a calls.

The HD-VOICE is compatible with all mobile phones and smartphones boasting Bluetooth technology. And there’s no need for a lengthy or complicated installations as once it is clipped to the sun visor it is pretty much ready to go.

The battery life is rated by SuperTooth at an impressive 20 hours talk time and 1,000 hours standby, so it can easily sit in a car for a long periods of time without the need of a recharge. To recharge the device it uses a simple USB charging cable, and it can also be plugged into a car’s 12-volt power point with the use of an adapter.

The HD-Voice also supports A2DP audio streaming over Bluetooth, which means it can play music in stereo over the devices’ two speakers. A nice touch, but in reality music playback isn’t its strongest suit especially compared to a car’s built-in audio system, and you can’t actually route the audio back through your car’s system via an audio-out, which is a bit disappointing.

The HD-Voice is capable of recognising 12 languages including – British English, American English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Polish.

For more info head to SuperTooth.

Top 3 Christmas Gifts For Teenagers

Teenagers are notoriously difficult to please and none more so when it comes to Christmas presents! During this intensely difficult age teenagers are too old for toys, too young to appreciate the fineries of food, drink and home décor and are intent on adhering to the rules of ‘coolness’ that are set in the school playground. In fact one of your safest bets when it comes to aspiring to see that seemingly inherent scowl transform into a smile on Christmas Day is to stick to gadgets as gifts.

When it comes to receiving the latest hot and trendy gadget, even the most moody of teenager will be hard pushed in curtailing a smile!

ninja-remote

Ninja Mini Stealth TV Remote

One of the biggest modern afflictions to burden a teenager is when he/she is not given complete control of the TV remote.

If your household is one endless battle over the remote control, then making light of the situation by giving your teenager the Ninja Remote Stealth Television Control is bound to light up an otherwise permanently morose face!

The fun and tiny Ninja Remote fits onto a keychain, meaning that mischievous teenagers can have full covert control of the TV. Created by Swamiware LLC, this keychain remote can control up to 500 brands of televisions, is ultra-easy to program and is workable within seconds. Simply point to the TV, hold the mute button to program, and hey presto your teenager will have hours of fun infuriating the family!

SE-0303OR-Power-Button-

SE-0303OR Power Button

Boosting a white and orange face and a jet-black strap the SE-0303OR Power Button certainly looks teenager-stylish but what exactly does this gadget do? Well it’s designed to keep your precious teenagers or anyone elsefor that matter safe, whether they are out jogging – teenagers?!? – hanging around a park with their friends – now that’s more like it – or simply walking to school on a dark winter morning.

This comfortable to wear alarm Doberman safety device enables wearers to simply hit an emergency alarm, which will immediately alert people of their distress. With bright, flashing lights wearers can be seen more than a mile away – okay so your teenager might not thank you for that aspect of this gadget but I’m sure he/she will agree that the SE-0303OR Power Button is pretty cool!

Time-Machine-Clock

Time Machine Tabletop Clock

There’s something about time machines and time travel that never fail to absorb and fascinate young minds.

The Time Machine Clock is essentially a clock that is extremely fun to watch. Turn the entertaining device on and watch in wonderment as time passes whilst observing the science of physical energy as a battery operated motor lifts a steel ball bearing onto a concentric track at regular intervals – Guaranteed to entertain on Christmas Day at least!

 

 

RadAngel portable radiation detector: A prudent gadget in a world of environmental instability

RadAngel, a personal portable radiation detector…. Hmm I can’t really see this new gadget reaching widespread appeal, although with the Fukushima operator admitting earlier this year that radiation levels from nuclear power plant have been continuing to rise since the disaster of 2011 and the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) reporting that radioactive iodine has been detected across Europe, I suppose there is most definitely a niche for personal portable radiation detectors.

RadAngel

Created by Kromek, a UK-based platform technology company, the RadAngel device is being marketed as being the “most advanced semiconductor detector technology”. What was apparently previously only available to governments, has now, thanks to RadAngel, become available to the consumer market and could prove imperative.

Not only can RadAngel provide accurate radiation readings, but the most ground-breaking feat of this novel device is that is capable of distinguishing man-made hazardous sources of radiation in the atmosphere, such as the radiation created by the Fukushima disaster, and normal background radiation that is constantly present in the natural environment of the Earth.

Whilst being interested in highly complex scientific concepts such as how much Cesium is present in the atmosphere may be synonymous with nerdy looking geeks with nothing better to do than go around with a radiation detector urgently trying to distinguish between ‘man-made radiation’ and ‘natural radiation’, may invoke humorous and “I’m glad I’ve got better things to do with my time’ connotations, it is a sad but true fact that the Fukushima disaster of March 2011 as the worse nuclear disaster in history. In taking thousands of lives and crippling a nation, last year’s nuclear disaster in Japan was a cruel reminder of the potentially devastating consequences of radiation.

When put into this context, the RadAngel with its advanced and unique SDR technology-enabled dose rate indicator, which distinguishes between man-made radiation and typical background radiation and enables users see both the does and source of radiation simultaneously, in a world of such environmentally instability, this innovative device may be one of the more prudent and  sagacious gadgets to have been created in 2012 – providing a refreshing change to the many superfluous gadgets currently cluttering our lives.

Reduce energy bills and damage inflicted by power surges with Masterplug’s new surge protected range

Have you ever had an electrical appliance damaged by a power surge? If you have, you will know how intensely infuriating power surges can be, and if you haven’t, I’m sure can appreciate how intensely infuriating such an incident would be. If your house is anything like my house, you will have a mesh of wires coming from plugs precariously positioned in an overloaded mains adapter and leading to various highly technical gadgets and devices in every room, just crying out for a power surge. You could either carry on waiting for the day that almost inevitable power surge occurs and knocks every out, making you lose unsaved data, or, worse still, such sudden hardware failure causing damage to highly expensive gadgets, or get wise, and install a new Masterplug Surge Protected device. And with Christmas coming and a new load of gadgets arriving, the latter could definitely be worth the investment.

Masterplug

Market leaders in portable power, Masterplug, has launched the next generation in surge protection, giving consumers the chance to, not only save money on electricity bills, but also avoid potentially costly bills to repair damaged equipment.

These flexible home and office solutions come in the form of glossy black and silver-trimmed units that are complete with modem, USB, LAN and telephone ports and are ideal to use with iPads, digital cameras, MP3s, PCs and smart phones.

Masterplug’s new series, ranges from a highly space-effective Power Tower device, which is ideal for multi-tangled plug and wire scenarios, such as the one in my home, to the Power Block, which also offers multiple ports, to single units with one socket.

In the current financial climate that shows no sign of abating and there even being talk of a ‘double-recession’, everybody is keen on saving money on their bills. This, therefore, could be Masterplug’s next generation of power protection devices, greatest selling asset, as the Power Centre unit offers a Master/Slaver functionality, which, by reducing the amount of power wasted during stand-by functions, could help consumers reduce their energy bills.

Black Cat Fireworks ‘Pyro Pete’ app: Designed to deter accidents this bonfire night

Bonfire night is almost here and alongside it the launch of numerous safety campaigns designed to bring awareness on how to have a safe and happy bonfire night. Black Cat Fireworks, known primarily for selling top of the range, ultra-spectacular fireworks, has moved into the apps market, releasing its first ever app game for iPhones and iPads.

Firework-Fever

Intriguingly titled ‘Pyro Pete’, Black Cat Firework’s game is designed to raise awareness within young people of the potential dangers and accidents that can happen on bonfire night. Similar to nearly every gaming protagonist, players have to manoeuvre and control ‘Pyro Pete’ along streets paved with hazards, assisting him to catch fireworks tumbling from the sky, gather supermarket sparklers already sparkling, and dodge other potential death-traps all before the final firework showdown, which ‘Pyro Pete’ has to co-ordinate. Once hero Pete has successfully controlled a fruitful bonfire night, players can unlock a ‘quick play’ game whereby ‘Pyro Pete’ faces yet more challenges and fiascos to overcome.

The game, which, if you are a gaming enthusiasts most certainly sounds fun, has been developed by GotFocus solutions, and, like most modern computer games, has a great emphasis on ‘competitiveness’. All the player’s scores are entered on to a chart so that players can proceed to try and beat one another’s scores.

The ‘Pyro Pete’ app is free to download and is aimed at 18 to 35 year olds, in other words for those old enough to legally buy fireworks. Personally, I think such apps should be aimed at raising awareness amongst a younger age group as according to the Child Accident Prevention Trust, the biggest number of firework-related accidents occur within the 12 to 15 years age group.

Etymotic AWARENESS headphone app: Making headphones safer

Now here’s a funny story. A friend of mine recently got into jogging but insisted that he needed his run to be accompanied with the music on his iPod. As he was happily running through a field with the lyrics of U2 helping him maintain his pace, he was blissfully unaware of the 5.2-hand horse cantering next to him. It was only when one track faded into the next when he heard the strange rumbling noise and looked up to see he had a horse running next to him. Needless to say, my friend’s running career died a sudden death.

Etymotic-Awareness

Although situation’s such as missing that all important gate announcement at an airport, missing your name being called at the doctors, or having a horse as an exercise partner on a jog, could be about to be eradicated from the lives of those who regularly listen to music on their headphones, with the arrival of the “AWARENESS” app.

This revolutionary iPhone app ‘listens’ to users’ surroundings and mixes any noise that is louder than normal background sounds directly into their earphones. For example if an announcement of a fire drill came on the loudspeaker in a supermarket, a person would still here the announcement even if they had music pumping out on their headphones.

This innovative app has been developed by the UK Company Essency, which builds innovative apps for mobile devices that make headphone use safer and more convenient. So pioneering and impressive is this sound level meter technology that Essency have sold the technology to Etymotic Research in the US – reversing the ‘conventional’ transatlantic flow of technology.

AWARENESS is tuned specifically for Etymotic hf3 and mc3 headsets and is free to anyone who owns these headsets. Although the AWARENESS The Headphone App. Universal V2.2 is the manual version of the app and is available to all headphone users for just £1.19 from the iTunes App Store.

I’ll have to inform my friend about the AWARENESS app, and then perhaps he can resurrect his running career.

There’s no smoke without Firetext

You’ve got your fire alarm, you’ve checked the batteries, but have you ever thought – well, that’s all very well and good, but what if no one’s around to hear the thing go off?

Obviously that’s what the good folk behind Firetext thought too, because they came up with a smoke alarm that uses text messages to alert home owners when the alarm is activated.

FireText

The Firetext was one of just four finalists in the Inventor of the Year competition at the Ideal Home Show this year, and is now available on ‘pay as you go’.

The smoke alarm can store up to four mobile phone numbers, so you could for example, have yours, a neighbour’s, a family member’s or friend’s number included. It could be a particularly valuable resource for anyone with elderly or disabled relatives, who would know that the alert went to a nearby person.

Firetext inventor Matthew Newman came up with the idea when he bought a new house. “I travel a lot for work, and I moved into a house last year that needed a lot of renovation, so I was always a bit concerned about an electrical fault leading to a fire in the house while I wasn’t there,” he says. ?“I was looking for a smoke alarm that could text me to tell me if there was smoke in my house when I was away, but I didn’t want one that had to be wired into the mains. When I couldn’t find one on the market, I invented my own.”

It is particularly useful if you travel for work a lot, have elderly or vulnerable relatives, for those who are hard of hearing or disabled, landlords, small business owners – even pet owners who leave pets on their own in the house.

Firetext is undergoing 12-month trials with the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Alzheimer’s Society.?

Paul Bordoni, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service group commander of fire safety (prevention), said: “We particularly think this type of alarm is greatly beneficial to carers of the elderly or those with severe disabilities who wish to live independently.”?

Firetext is available from www.firetext.me and costs £89.99.