The week in gadgets

11 Jun 2012

The world's most-advanced iPad case from Pong Research

A look at gadget happenings, as Pong unveils the world’s most-advanced iPad case, the Dark Knight gets his own app, and ovens get SIM cards.

Boost your iPad’s performance and make it safer

Pong Research, an iPad and smartphone case manufacturer based in the US, has created what it claims to be the world’s most-advanced iPad case. The protective polycarbonate and leather-touch cover allegedly improves 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi reception, boosts signal strength and increases range, all the while reducing exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

Tested by the FCC in the US, the high-tech accessory has been developed by a team of PhD scientists trained at MIT, Harvard, Princeton and UCLA. Designed specifically to fit the new iPad’s size, ports and features, the origami-style cover can be folded into six configurations and also comes with an automatic wake/sleep function that activates when the cover is opened or closed.

Available for both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G/4G iPad models, the case can be purchased from the Pong Research site or, with prices starting at US$119.99.

Track your runs in style

The latest range of Nike+ SportWatches comes with a new starter model for those who have just taken to running. The SportWatch tracks your time, pace, distance, heart rate and calories burned as you exercise, while GPS from TomTom gives you accurate route recaps. All of your exercise information is stored on the device, which can connect to your computer via USB for easy download of your history in order to manage, and share, your routine.

With the launch of these new, colourful models, all SportWatch users, whether new or old, are being granted access to NikeFuel, which measures movements and gives you more points the more you move. As performance is movement-based, achievements can be compared across all varieties of sport.

The entry-level SportWatch comes in anthracite with a blue glow, priced at €149. However, the Shoe Sensor (for indoor use) that comes with all other editions (priced at €169) will have to be purchased separately.

Nike+ SportWatch

The Dark Knight rises … on Nokia smartphones

Though it won’t hit screens until 20 July, tickets for The Dark Knight Rises, the final instalment in Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of the Batman franchise, went on sale today, and Nokia’s unique partnership with the film will surely delight the hardcore fans who already have tickets in their grasp.

As well as releasing a limited-edition Nokia Lumia 900 Batphone, the phone manufacturer has also released a dedicated The Dark Knight Rises app. The stylish app gives users access to the film trailer, themed wallpapers, cinema listings, film information, and a live feed of tweets about the film. Users can also play in the Gotham City game, a Foursquare-based contest where check-ins will help you defend your city against Bane – or help Bane take over, whether you’re feeling villainous or heroic!

The Dark Knight Rises app

A point-and-shoot for pros on the go

The world’s first 1.0-type 20MP Exmor CMOS sensor comes in the form of Sony’s new Cyber-shot RX100. The compact camera offers low-noise shots even with an ISO of 25,600, as well as full HD video shooting, auto portrait framing, and creative style and picture effect modes.

A step up from an everyday point-and-shoot, this pocket-sized camera offers a wide maximum aperture of f1.8 to let in more light and make the most of the large sensor, which was especially developed by Sony.

The 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD display features 1229k dot resolution and debuts WhiteMagic technology, which uses white pixels as well as the standard RGB to boost screen brightness. Meanwhile, the unique Control Ring surrounds the lens body, allowing fingertip adjustment of exposure, zoom, Picture Effect, and other functions.

The Cyber-shot RX100 will be available in Europe from mid-July 2012.

Sony Cyber-shot RX100

Remote-controlled oven for the kitchen of the future

Patience, we all know, is a virtue, but it’s also something we can ignore in an age of on-demand services. Pre-heating an oven, for example, takes time we just don’t want to admit we have.

But waiting for things to heat up in the kitchen could become a distant memory with the AGA iTotal Control remote-controlled cooker. The three ovens in this innovative cooker can each be remotely operated via your phone, computer or tablet, no matter where you are. You don’t even need to have a smartphone as these cookers have been fitted with their own SIM cards.

By texting commands direct to your oven, or by using the in-app or online interface, you can control your oven settings away from home, and start cooking as soon as you get there.


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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.