The week in gadgets: New Chromecast, wristphone and charger knife

20 Oct 2014

The .klatz smartwatch in action, which also functions as a phone. Image via Indiegogo

A look at gadget happenings, as details of Google’s new Chromecast are found, an Indiegogo campaign is creating a wristphone, and a new ‘Swiss Army’ charger aims to make charging easier.

Google’s new Chromecast

Despite announcing its Nexus Player Android TV platform this week, Google is still firmly invested in its original smart stick, the Google Chromecast that allows a person to stream content from their device on to a TV screen.

Now it appears that the company is looking to release a new version of the budget dongle sometime in the future after a filing with the American Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was found by Zatz Not Funny showing a new design from Google almost identical to the original Chromecast.

The FCC filing which shows the schematics for the next edition of the Chromecast. Image via the FCC.

However, what exactly the difference is with this second generation Chromecast over the original remains to be seen but some details were revealed by six Chromecast developers who coincidentally went to Reddit to engage in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Chromecast users.

From their discussions, the team said about the FCC filing: “We’re always working to update Chromecast with the latest software and hardware components, but we don’t have any new user-facing features planned for this device,” before dashing people’s hopes by following this with, “No plans for big announcement on this one. Mostly because it will have the same features as the original and most users won’t notice a difference.”

.klatz smartwatch that’s actually a phone

One of the major issues with smartwatches, at least from this journalist’s perspective, is that being tethered to a person’s phone hardly constitutes it being particularly smart and even more-so that they can’t even make calls themselves.

At least now a Ukrainian start-up is attempting to bridge this gap by raising US$140,000 through an Indiegogo campaign that will create a bangle-like smartwatch that looks like a piece of jewellery, can tell the time, but also be flipped open to turn it into a useable phone.

The Indiegogo page also claims that its battery life would be superior to all the other smartwatches on the market claiming it could last as much as 10 days on a single charge when used normally with a 600 mAh battery.

The screen will be comprised of 384 LED lights that will show notifications similar to how the HTC One M8’s dot-matrix case would show.

If the project’s founders are indeed correct, they say that the .klatz will work across all the major operating systems with full access on Android and iOS and if their crowdfunding project succeeds they hope to have the device by the middle of 2015.

The Brunton Universal Charger power knife

For years the Swiss Army knife has been the essential kit for survival from cutting up food to sawing small objects, and now the crowd at Brunton have created a similar idea, but for the 21st century in the form of a universal charger power knife.

Much like its more rugged cousin, this ‘knife’ has anything you could need, that is, if you’re stuck looking for a particular Apple charger connection.

The Brunton Universal Charger power knife. Image via Brunton.

With so many varied connectors, the luminous yellow is made by the same company who had created the heavy-duty Torpedo 2600 charger.

Frustratingly, this only covers Apple iPhone users with its 30 pin connector, lightning cable, micro USB or full USB, which only powers devices but for US$24.99 (€19.50) it’s not too unreasonable.

3D-printed Iron Man hand

Be honest, don’t pretend that even the most serious adult would love to get their hands on a robotic hand similar to the one used by Robert Downey Jnr in Iron Man.

Well now a designer called Pat Starace has designed a hand that looks exactly like the one from the popular film, but giving it a much more significant purpose, that is, being a prosthetic hand to help a young child overcome difficulties if they disabled.

3D printed hands are considered the future for those designing prosthetics for people as the costs to produce a working hand or arm can cost as little as US$50 and when the technology is more readily available, can allow anyone with a 3D printer and the right material to make one.

Speaking of why he created the hand that also features the distinctive light in the hand’s palm, Starace said to “My main goal is to help a child that is going through life with a disability, and facing everyday challenges in their lives, by making them the coolest kid in their school. I can only think this will make a great impact on a child during their early years by raising their self-esteem to super hero Levels.”

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic