Our weekly roundup of the top news stories in the world of tech for the week beginning January 4th 2016.
The week beginning January 4th 2016 sees the entire planet return to work (boo!), the start of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (yay!) and a bevy of bonkers tech goodies unveiled. Here, we present the best (and worst) of the bunch. We’ll be updating this article as the week unfolds, so do remember to check back throughout the next seven days to see what’s tickled our fancies this time around.
Sensorwake alarm clock wakes you with the power of smell
Hate the sound of a wailing alarm clock? Us too. So we jumped with excitement when we discovered there was a new alarm clock that wakes you up by emitting a scent of your choice. When it goes off, it’ll pump out one of a range of scents including coffee, peppermint lush jungle, hot croissants, chocolate, the seaside, or even the smell of money. Read more here.
Digitsole self-tightening shoes
Hey Marty McFly! Suck it! Digitsole has busted out a pair of futuristic-looking trainers that can tighten and loosen at the touch of a button on its companion app. That’s right — forget laces, just fire up an app, hit the screen and voila — you’re good to go. The app can also be used to control the shoe’s internal heating system, which can keep your feet at a toasty 38 degrees centigrade. Read more here.
Technogym treadmill changes its tune
Technogym reckons its Mywellness cloud-based treadmill is the world’s first interactive treadmill. We’re pretty sure it’s not, but it might just be the first that can detect a runner’s rhythm and then create a personalised interactive music soundtrack to match that rhythm — a bit like Spotify Running. Just create your own list of songs, and it’ll pick the most appropriate based on how you happen to be running at any given time. Read more here.
Withings just launched the Go – its most affordable activity tracker yet
We’ve known French tech lifestyle brand Withings for a while now, but its latest activity tracker, the Go, is a notable departure from the Swiss watch-inspired Activité range we’re used to. It’s the most affordable tracker the company’s ever made, capable of logging steps, calories, swim and sleep data. What’s more it packs an always-on E Ink screen into a circular form factor that can be worn on your wrist or clipped to your clothing. Best of all it’ll cost under £50 when it launches in the coming weeks and the battery life is quoted at around eight months. Read more here.
ReliefBand: the first wearable made to combat nausea
If you’re at CES, there’s a chance that the long flights, the windowless exhibition halls filled by artificial lighting and the late nights/early starts all have the potential to induce nausea, the ReliefBand is a new wearable trying to combat that.
More than just a diagnostic tool, its creators say that the ReliefBand leverages something called “neuromodulation” to actively stimulate the nervous system using a proprietary pulse technology emitted from the wearable when placed against the underside of your wrist. It sounds pretty out there as a concept, but there’s research to back up its viability too. ReliefBand’s creators say that it’s suitable for morning sickness, motion sickness or all manner of other nausea-related conditions. Read more here.
#DrummondPuddleWatch is blowing up on Periscope
A Periscope stream of a puddle is the biggest thing on the Internet right now. No, seriously. A puddle has formed on Drummond Street in Newcastle Upon Tyne, and Perisocope user @DrummondCentral is live-streaming hapless pedestrians trying to negotiate their way around it. It sounds dull as ditchwater (geddit?) but it actually makes mesmerising viewing. Join the 20,000 or so people who are glued to the stream here.
Otterbox Strada cases bring sturdy style to your smartphone
Rugged phone cases are a great idea, but they do make our phones look absolutely awful most of the time. Enter Otterbox with its new Strada series — a range of tough cases that look absolutely fabulous while offering a good degree of protection against drops and scratches. The Strada features a fused dual-layer of hard and soft plastic as well as a genuine leather finish, screen cover, card slot and a magnetic clasp. More importantly though, it’s as tough as anything. Read more here.
The Vive Pre is the next step in HTC’s VR story
Despite the retail version set to arrive in April, HTC squeezed in a second developer edition of its VR system at CES 2016 in the Vive Pre. The Pre packs a refined, more comfortable headset with better optics, more elegant motion controllers and more compact, wireless motion trackers.
The new star feature of the Pre is a front-facing camera that works with the new Chaperone mode to help the wearer see and interact with real-world objects and obstacles without having to remove the headset, as well as reorient themselves in the tracking space, should they wander too far beyond its boundaries. The Vive Pre doesn’t yet have a price, but HP and HTC have developed an ENVY Phoenix PC that is VR-ready, set to launch in February. Read more here.