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GOOD OR FAD? TECH OF 2020

31.12.20

In October, Gadget Flow published an article listing the “best of futuristic tech” – 12 exciting boundary-pushing products that, in time, could become part of our daily lives. 


History shows us that new innovations can be incredibly divisive. It would be rare indeed for the latest gadgetry to be deemed a resounding success by both critics and consumers.

For every ardent fan of Apple and their iPhones, there will be a naysayer who prefers to keep things “old school”: a Nokia 3310, perhaps? Or, God forbid, they are content with a landline. The same logic applies to video doorbells. What’s wrong with a good old-fashioned rat-a-tat-tat?


But these 12 products aren’t necessarily designed to please the masses. They are bold, brave and – in some cases – downright bonkers. Here I offer my take on which devices could be game-changing, and which are a flash in the pan…


1. Tonal Intelligent Fitness System 

from $2,295


Gadget Flow says: 

This smart exercise gadget combines a personal trainer and a gym in one device, letting you get a serious workout at home, whenever you want. Also, the digital weight system allows for smooth and accurate lifting.


My take: 

Retailing at $2,295, this set-up from Tonal requires serious investment. As a long-time member of the Peloton posse, I can’t see myself dismounting my bike anytime soon. That said, it does bring a lot to the table: a compact wall-mounted system (perfect for saving space), innovative digital weights and customised workouts. Perhaps one for the wish list, after all…


2. Razer Naga Pro Gaming Mouse

from $149


Gadget Flow says: 

This gadget is on our list of best futuristic tech in 2020 because it has swappable button plates for awe-inspiring capabilities. There’s a six-button side plate for battle royale, a 12-button side plate for MMO, and a two-button side plate for FPS. Additionally, this mouse has 150 hours of battery life.


My take: 

If, like me, you struggle to tell your MMO from your elbow, $149 may seem a lot to spend on a mouse. Not so where serious gamers are concerned. I’m embarrassed to say I have little clue about how it works, but it certainly looks the part and I expect it will feature highly on many a Christmas list this year.


3. 3dRudder Foot-Powered Gaming Controller 

from $99


Gadget Flow says: 

Just rest your feet on this controller and tilt it to move left, right, forward, and backward. It’s a gadget that makes gaming more accessible to everyone. Best of all, it’s compatible with Xbox Adaptive Controller, PC games, Steam VR games, and Oculus Store games.


My take: 

Accessible technology will always get a big thumbs-up from me. Winner of four CES “Innovation Awards”, the 3dRudder claims to be the first ever foot controller for an enhanced motion experience in Virtual Reality and PC games. It may be niche, but it’s certainly not a fad.


4. Segway Loomo Personal Robot 

from $1,799


Gadget Flow says: 

This useful robot carries items of up to 100 kilograms, and you can ride it like a hoverboard. It also follows you with its person-tracking technology. And when you aren’t riding it, its head spins around and displays a face. You’ll love that you can send it voice commands from across the room.


My take: 

“Personal Robot” or “Faddy McFadface”? You decide. To my mind it reeks of a gadget for those with more money than sense. On the other hand, you can ride it like a hoverboard! If it was good enough for Marty McFly, it’s good enough for me… Where do I sign up?


5. Ring Always Home Cam 

from $249.99


Gadget Flow says: 

This security drone flies about and records images around your house. It replaces multiple security cameras you’d otherwise have to place in different areas. What’s more, this Ring camera flies on predetermined paths only.


My take: 

On the basis that Ring is already a household name – thanks in part to their acquisition by global giant Amazon in 2018 – it’s not hard to envisage their latest gadget will be a success. Providing it works, that is. The cynic in me expects the buzzing noise overhead is bound to cause issues. Not least taunting the family pets as it zooms around recording the interior of your home. A pricey mistake? Time will tell…


6. Cinera Edge 5K OLED HMD 

from $799


Gadget Flow says: 

This headset features built-in Dolby Digital 5.1 headphones for a fantastic gaming experience. Also, each 2.5k micro-OLED display provides 2560 by 1440 resolution. So it offers precise details while maintaining a small and stylish design.


My take: 

My instincts tell me it’s a fad: initially intriguing but left to gather dust after two or three sessions. But who knows? Perhaps it’ll become the only way for us to experience the outdoors in the not-too-distant future!

7. TANGRAM SmartRope Rookie Smart Jump Rope 

from $39.95


Gadget Flow says: 

This smart jump rope connects to your phone via Bluetooth and tracks your jump count, time spent jumping, and calories burned. You can also unlock rewards and challenge other users for a more interactive experience.


My take: 

A Bluetooth-connected skipping rope? I’m all for applying a modern twist, but this feels like a hop, skip and a jump too far. It reminds me of Oral B’s smiley face functionality... the novelty wore off quicker than you can say “recommended by dentists”


8. NavVis VLX Wearable Reality Capture Device


Gadget Flow says: 

This gadget lets you scan built environments quickly for survey-grade point cloud quality. And, since it’s a wearable mobile mapping device, it has two multilayer LiDAR sensors that pick up 3D measurements. Finally, it’s easy to fold and store.


My take: 

Something tells me this look won’t be hitting the high street anytime soon! For mapping professionals, however, it could be game-changing, enabling high-quality realty capture in even the most complex of buildings.


9. MB&F + L’Epée 1839 The Fifth Element Intergalactic Horological Weather Station 

from €51,794


Gadget Flow says: 

Even if the power goes out, you’ll have all the information you need… This futuristic device predicts the weather without electricity. It also has a clock, thermometer, barometer, and hygrometer.


My take: 

A gadget for the masses? No chance. This a premium product for amateur meteorologists with millions in the bank to fawn over. Dedicated to making high-end clocks, L'Epée has been a prominent Swiss manufacture since 1839. The design is jaw-droppingly beautiful, but at a cost of more than €51k, I’d be putting a “look don’t touch” sign in HUMONGOUS letters next to it.


10. Lexon Oblio Sanitizing Wireless Charger 

from $80


Gadget Flow says: 

This gadget will both charge and clean it [your smartphone] using UV LED technology. Additionally, with its white and gold colours, this phone sanitizer matches your modern decor.


My take: 

Can you put a price on cleanliness? Apparently, you can - at least where smartphones are concerned. With the Lexon Oblio santizer, you can put down those antiseptic wipes for good. Whether wireless charging will truly take off remains to be seen, but I personally don’t see this toilet brush holder-esque design being the one to achieve it.


11. Rotofarm Architectural Soil-Free Circular Farm


Gadget Flow says: 

One of the most aesthetically pleasing futuristic tech items that we’ve seen in 2020... With its innovative and beautiful design, this indoor garden lets you grow healthy plants in zero gravity. And with its circular shape, its 30-centimeter footprint won’t take up much space.


My take: 

Coming to a Kardashian near you! Emblazoned across Rotofarm’s pastel-coloured homepage is a quote from Vogue: “A piece with such a refined design, it could be considered a sculpture.” With prices yet to be published, it’s difficult to make a judgment on how successful this device could be. But one thing is for sure - it’s a thing of beauty.


12. Hapbee Emotional Control Wearable 

from $379


Gadget Flow says: 

This device helps you manage and detect your feelings. It sounds unbelievable, but this wearable can do it. This gadget works by replicating your emotions through small magnetic fields. It also creates feelings in six categories: Calm, Happy, Relaxed, Sleep, Desire, and Alert.


My take: 

I can’t see it myself. Not least because the prospect of wearing a Hapbee device as I go for a jog or join a Zoom call fills me with self-loathing. Any initiative to improve mental health is inherently important, but until it comes in a more discreet form (a wristband, perhaps?), I’ll be steering well clear.

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