The week in gadgets: Smartphone projector, wrist drone, and HP smartwatch

10 Nov 2014

The Nixie quadrocopter. Image via Nixie

A look at gadget happenings, as a new DIY smartphone projector hits the market, a wrist-activated drone wins Intel’s approval, and HP launches its new designer smartwatch, the MB Chronowing.

DIY Smartphone Projector

Cardboard appears to be the new hardware of choice for designers looking to make the most out of existing devices as, following on from creations including the Google Cardboard, Animi Causa have produced the Smartphone Projector which is, unsurprisingly, a smartphone projector.

With a design similar to an old fashioned cinema projector, the DIY cardboard creation lets you put your smartphone into the box allowing you to project whatever is on the phone’s screen onto a wall with the help of an 8x magnified lens in the Smartphone Projector.

The company’s logic is that as phones become more sophisticated with more video editing tech crammed into it, there needs to be a more efficient way of showing friends in a local setting, ignoring the option to share online, of course.

Its design allows it to be used by most phones, but sadly isn’t catered to phones that are getting increasingly larger as the slot only allows phones that are 3.2in wide or lower but at €39.99 (€32) it’s not too shabby for a projector.

Nixie wrist-activated drone

It’s usually high praise when Intel take interest in your start-up company, so when Nixie, a team developing a drone that can launch from your wrist received US$500,000 in funding from the company, others began to take notice.

Targeting the extreme sports world, particularly rock climbers, the small quadcopter drone will launch from the user’s wrist and take a photo of their adventure from an angle that would otherwise be impossible.

It will then guide itself back to the user’s wrist completing a, frankly, cool action like something only seen from a science fiction film.

Still in relatively early development, the Nixie quadcopter was one of the most talked about products at Intel’s Make it Wearable competition but there are still no sings as to when we can start firing drones to capture the next ultimate selfie.

HP MB Chronowing

Few details of the Chronowing, the HP watch designed by fashion designer Michael Bastian, were known despite a lot of speculation but the company have now shown us a watch that definitely looks a lot more like a regular watch than a smartwatch.

With sales going solely through Gilt, for the time being at least, the watch features a round pixelated screen with basic information appearing including weather, text messages emails and other notifications.

You almost have to question whether it can be called a smartwatch as with no touch screen capability and three buttons, it definitely puts it more in the category of a stylish digital watch, rather than a mini-computer.

Likewise, no other hardware exists within the MB Chronowing that are common on most smartwatches such as a microphone or speaker.

Despite these shortcomings, or improvements depending on how much of a critic you are of current generation smartwatches, you will still be paying a premium price for the designer watches with prices starting from US$349 (€281).

Amazon Echo

Amazon has caused quite a stir online after it unexpectedly launched the Amazon Echo, an interactive black cylinder that responds to questions just like Google Now and Apple’s Siri have been doing for some time inside people’s phones.

The device which eerily remains on at all times only works when its ‘on word’ is activated which could be anything from a designated name to a secret passcode used to record your friend’s every spoken word in a room.

From their promotional video, the technology involved, frankly, does not appear to be rather advanced with the father in a family situation asking, ‘what height is Mount Everest?’

So far, the Echo is on an invite-only basis at US$199 but will eventually offer it to Amazon Prime customers for US$99.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic