EVENT REVIEW: Gadget Show Live 2016

Go Go Gadget!

I have just got home from one of the most inspirational events I have ever attended. And it was the Gadget Show Live!

Jason Bradbury said it best as he opened the British Inventor’s Project, the show and that particular competition represents the UK as a nation of creators and inventors. At a time when industry is leaving our shores, we are still cultivating inspirational talent and innovation with amazing ideas becoming a reality as a result.

I started my day by being lucky enough to meet and very briefly interview Ortis Deley and Jon Bentley. I thought fast and asked them three questions!

OrtisJon Bentley

 

What do you look forward to most when you come back to the event each year?

Ortis: A chance to be in the same place with lots of warm bodies where I can show off and be a thesp. Where I can meet people who are so passionate about tech in the same way that I am and showcasing all the innovation and technology.

Jon: Having the opportunity to talk to people with a shared interest in technology and to see all these gadgets and technology in once place. This is the space where you can see ideas in their infancy and begin to assess what their place will be in our world.

What are you most excited about in this year’s show?

Both: The HTC Vive

 

HTC Vivo

HTC Vivo (2)

 

Ortis: This is a really exciting virtual reality option where you can use a brush to create an image and walk around inside it. Imagine being able to use your imagination and then walk around your creation!

Jon: It is a great technology and while it is still developing we can look at virtual reality and start discerning how it will fit in with our lives, will we welcome it in our homes in it various uses or will it be disruptive? This is all technology in its first stages and we get to see its evolution.

What is the tech that you can’t live without?

Ortis: We are expecting a baby and so at the moment it is the new baby monitor. We have gone for full audio, video and night vision. We have stopped short at the movement sensors, don’t want to get too obsessive!

Jon: The obvious answer is the smart phone and the internet, I would be lost without them! I am interested in the new night vision on cameras that is available now, it is possible now to take good pictures at night in full colour as if it were day and that is great.

I didn’t get to speak to Jason in person but I did overhear his discussion of something he had just bought at the show and by serendipity he actually demonstrated it!  Jason has bought the new Ring Video Doorbell. As he was interviewing, his phone went off and he said that he had just bought a new doorbell featured at the show and it meant that you could answer the door via the app and video on your phone and never miss a delivery again! From a security aspect, it means that by using the audio visual function you can pretend you are home where necessary even if you are out, or if your home gets broken into, an alarm alerts your phone allowing you to contact the police despite not being home. In this case it was a cat so Jason used his phone to tell it to go away!

There was such a variety of technology and invention at this show that it would take hours to go through each one so I have selected some highlights and products where the pride from the inventors, many one man bands was mind blowing. There were certainly some themes running throughout everything there condensed down to Virtual Reality and the enhancement of convenience of everyday tasks and encumbrances. This second option was the absolutely mundane necessities made easy with such genius that one almost smack’s one’s forehead thinking ‘why has no one thought of this before’! In this case it was most obvious that the most joy was not obtained through making a huge discovery but actually that most inventors had made small but perfect changes, for the main inspired by problems that they have experienced or motivated by their concern for challenges faced by those they care about. This was possible the most inspirational part of the day.

I will start then with the British Inventor’s Project thinking of just a few highly commended entrants and of course the winner.

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Last year’s winner, Samantha Warwick was on hand to demonstrate her Omnio Stroller which is a pushchair that folds down into a small backpack. Genius! So life changing is this competition that a factory is being constructed just to manufacture her product. In one year she has gone from proto-type to production line.

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Other entries included Neit luggage, a hard suitcase that compresses into 70% of its volume. Milo, a small plastic lion that parents who are separated from their kids through work and other things can use to send pictures, messages and make video calls with their children. The second place runner up was in the VR theme with the VR Go, an attachment that just requires leaning forward to walk forward in a VR game leaving the player hands free.

The overall winner was the Efoldi invented by a father who could not find a mobility scooter that meets his needs so he invented one that folds down into the size of hand luggage.

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I had to get in on this VR action so I paid a visit to the Wizdish Rovr. I donned some very slippery sneakers and entered the pod that I can only describe as the framework of a Dalek skeleton. Once I had the goggles on, I was transported inside a Van Gogh painting. The slippery shoes now made sense as I ice skated around it was so easy to move around inside the game and I could allow myself to be totally immersed and not self-conscious at all. For just £399 this is an impressive piece of kit although you do have to supply your own VR head gear. Early adopters of this innovation include Wells Fargo who have taken it around America and apparently made banking interesting for their clients! The mind boggles…

Two other developers who caught my eye for their commitment to their product were James Dillon and Dave Cooper.

 

Squares Root

 

James is the creator of Square’s Root. Having grown tired of war games he decided to go for a cerebral game that challenges the user to move a chameleon square around a board strategically placing it to kill intoxicating plants and collect gems in a certain number of moves. It’s tougher than it sounds! This is a download title available at £2.79 and can be used on Mac and PC. An iPhone version will be out soon.

 

Block Ships

Dave has been teaching video game design in Beijing but has returned home to promote his game Blockships full time. Dave originally designed the game as a single player version but realised its multi-player versatility by allowing gamers to gain power and build bigger and bigger ships from the debris of their friends having blown them up. Available on the PC, Dave has just received a soft yes from Sony so expect to see this game on multiple platforms very soon.

A truly amazing story on how fast an invention can blow up came from Curiscope.

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Working together, on a virtual reality project, these two inventors have come up with not only a virtual reality master piece but innovated it to work with wearable technology. Supplying a T-shirt with ‘magic’ code from £22 one holds a tablet up and can see the inner biology of a human. Inspired by enabling parents to help educate their children in a fun way, this is the start of a great journey for these chaps. Their talent was picked up 6 months ago by Samsung who were impressed with their VR swimming with white sharks experience. It allows one to ‘swim’ with the sharks- really up close and personal- and also see their biology. Samsung are using these images to showcase their VR head gear. I have to say that the white shark experience was as close to the real thing I could ever imagine without getting wet. I was totally immersed in an at once peaceful ocean with a genuine edge of danger and did jump a couple of times.

Lastly I have to mention Pi-top.

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This is truly marking the beginning of where our new inventors and creators will come from and so brings me full circle from Jason’s point at the beginning that this event showcases everything that is great currently and what is to come from future generations.

The Pi-top is made specifically for the education of young people and for developers to hone their skills. Requiring the individual to build the laptop from scratch thereby teaching basic skills, the Pi is then installed so that one can learn how to code. Included is the CEED universe game which reflects and enhances courses taught at GCSE level. Along with the laptop, users have the Libre office suite and can customise the OS. This is available for $299 or $269 minus the Pi.

I have walked away from this show filled with optimism about what we can achieve with love, inspiration and perseverance. This was a little lesson on not giving up and I leave the show determined to examine things a little bit closer, and see what I can do better.

 GS Blogger: The Aviator

 

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