The December show follows the tradition of looking back at the 50 or so gadgets and gizmos we've covered in the past year.
We open with a phone conversation with Alan Adler, not only the inventor of the great Aerobie that holds the Guinness World Record for the "longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature"- 1,333 feet (406 meters) but has now invented the Aeropress (left) - possibly the world's best coffee maker.
Next is James Luce the Product Manager of Acoustic-Energy who have designed the extremely clever Wi-Fi radio , the world’s first radio capable of accessing over 99% of internet radio stations broadcast anywhere in the world. Compatibility with all three major streaming formats gives the AE Wi-Fi radio unrivalled choice of content from BBC Radio1 to Sao Paolo’s Radio Calypso and of course BFBS Radios 1 & 2 & Gurkha radio including all the BFBS Radio 2 On-demand programmes. No subscription to pay, no signal coverage problems and no international content boundaries. This simple plug and play device links to any Wi-Fi network and broadband connection to stream both live and listen again internet radio content. Channels are listed alphabetically and the easy to use multi-function control knob makes choosing a station simpler than an FM radio! The AE Wi-Fi radio brings all the benefits of internet radio to the kitchen, bedroom or even the garden and can also play music stored on any Wi-Fi enabled PC in the home. Available on-line and also in John Lewis from £199 and there are now other models available.
|Nov '06||The November programme is the second that comes entirely from the British Inventor's Show at London's Alexandra Palace.
I first meet Peter Martin of Junkk.com who is a passionate believer in recycling materials to give them a new lease of life - woggles from pop bottle necks, cork boards made from wine corks. Saving MONEY: Second use means one less thing to buy - TIME: Maybe one less trip to the shop - THE PLANET: And one less item in the landfill. An example from their website. Bottle caps from discarded cartons look pretty much like the floor protectors which you would purchase from the shops for £2.50 for a set of four. By re-using these caps, you'll be saving £2.50, plus petrol, plus the air by not producing petrol fumes when you drive, and saving the land by not filling it up with more rubbish.
Then I meet Dr Wong Shaw Voon from the Universiti Putra Malaysia who shows me their latest development using ground up coconut shells and a special resin to make Body Armour composite panels that are as strong as steel or ceramic, but 1/3 the weight and a fraction of the cost.
In the competition, Rick O'Keefe from BFPO 53 correctly said that the ezimate comes in 6 colours - a green one on its way to you. More prizes this month; a chance to win a set of SFM Libido enhancing patches plus a supply of Craving patches that reduce the urge for sweet things like chocolate - Just tell me "What is the opposite of libido" Entries to email@example.com - 3 winners drawn next month.
Then I meet up with Morace Park, who was on G3 this time last year with his m-pac mobile personal accessory carrier . There's now a new improved version. The m-pac has been specifically created to make life easier by fulfilling one of your basic everyday needs - carrying stuff around. For those who use mobiles, keys, credit cards, mp3 players and GPS devices, it's a must.
Finally I meet Paul Blanchette from eztippa who tells me how his invention has revolutionised the humble wheelbarrow. The E.Z.Tippa is a rotating handle system for wheelbarrows that offers its users greater safety, control, manoeuvrability and ease of use. This patented new technology represents the single greatest design development in the wheelbarrow industry in the past 50 years and is set to revolutionise wheelbarrows forever. The beauty of the product is it's simplicity. Designed using the highest quality materials, with a minimal amount of moving parts, each E.Z.Tippa handle can withstand loads of up to 3 tonnes - far more than can be lifted by hand!
The October show comes entirely from the British Inventor's Show at London's Alexandra Palace.
|Sep '06||We start September with a trip to Vitalia Health in Marlow to meet Stephanie Ozanne and Lesley Penfold who tell me all about their Norstar range of magnetic products including their best selling item the Magnessage. The Magnessage is a magnetic field therapy device developed to relieve pain and hasten the repair of damaged tissue. It is a portable hand-held device, in the shape of a torch, that is held next to or horizontally over the body, at the site of pain, injury or imbalance. Vitalia Health's files are full of letters raving about how good the Magnessage is for relieving pain from humans and their pets. You can buy on line at £95.00
With Christmas around the corner, our thoughts turn to nutcrackers and I talk to Charlie Gardiner about the revolutionary Drosselmeyer that cracks all nuts with ease and no mess. The Swedish-made Drosselmeyer is a brand new kind of nutcracker, designed to adorn the table at Christmastime, with both its form and function. Simply insert the nut into the cone, cover the opening and give the handle a light squeeze. Named after the character in the Nutcracker Suite this is a really well made machine for £25.00
Back in June 1999 I was at the opening of the Gadget Shop in London's Covent Garden. The founder of the chain, Jonathan Elvidge has risen phoenix like from the ashes of The Gadget Shop to start Red5 which is again a gadget experience in store as well as on-line.
Last month, Mike Minton kindly offered the first productions of his Perfect Soldier maker that we reviewed when he was a finalist in the Betfair Inventor of the Year competition last October. I asked how long do you boil a perfect egg from putting it in the boiling water.and David Jacklin in Germany was the winner with 3 minutes.
|Aug '06||The dog days of August officially ended on the 11th and on this month's show we look at some summery items where I couldn't get to speak to anybody about the product.The UV-wrist-bands from www.solarsafe.com are a new and unique sun monitor, that enables you to see at a glance your family's exposure to harmful UV radiation.
SolarSafe also acts as an identification band in case you and your child become separated. SolarSafe is easy to use, waterproof, simple to wear and monitor. £6.99 for a pack of seven from many UK shops and online at www.solarsafe.com
The eggling.com is a great idea, it looks and feels like an extra large egg, but crack its top and discover a garden ready to grow! Cultivation is easy seeds are already sown into eggling’s fortified peat mixture, just crack it’s top (by tapping on it with a spoon), water and place in bright spot. The eggling comes with a terra cotta tray and an extra seed pack to insure success. Eight egglings are available. In its gift box, the eggling makes a clever and delightful gift for £5.95.
The limits on carry on luggage while flying might mean that noise cancelling headphones are off the list for a short time. However, I test the latest active noise cancelling headphones from Logitech that not only seem to remove more noise but also come in at least £175 cheaper than their Bose counterparts.
Then I talk to Nigel Powell the mastermind behind the redferret journal He tells me how the website and gadget blog started and how the million visitors a month are driving more and more links and ideas to his site.
|July '06||Joe Murray, Director Headphone World takes me through the many options you have to replace the earbuds that came with your ipod or mp3 player. £20 will get you a much better pair of earbuds than are supplied with your player but if you wish to go further then there are some great noise cancelling in-ear headphones. The most hi-tech are active noise cancelling headphones that listen to the outside noise and make an equal & opposite sound that cancels out much of the background (I'll be trying a pair of them in August) Joe recommends the Shure E3C which are the mid-range version of their passive in-ear headphones - around £110 - Bono uses the next one up for his stage work. Headphone World are offering a 10% discount on all their headphones to all BFBS G3 listeners - just type in BFPO in the offer code area at checkout.
Next, to cope with the extreme heat here in the UK I've been using the Chillow - It works so well I went to meet James Marks one of the owners of the company who market them in the UK. The Chillow is a unique personal cooling pad, only two centimetres thick. It does not use power and is allergy free. It is invaluable for people who suffer from; hot flushes, fevers, night sweats, headaches, eczema, sunburn, muscle/joint pain, sporting injuries and many other conditions. Chillow is recognised by the migraine action association, the acne resource centre and many NHS Oncology units throughout the UK. The Chillow® is activated only once by simply filling it with water which is fully absorbed into the patented foam core. Only £24.95 plus £2.95 p&p (inc.VAT)
Then off the Logitech's HQ in Slough to talk to Marc Chaplin, the Area Sales Manager for Logitech Northern Europe to talk about their superb Harmony range of Universal Remote Controls. If like me you had a universal remote control many years ago and got used to the arduous process of teaching them your appliances and instructions then you will be amazed at the way the new ones work. You do it all on the web - and then download all the info to your device - I've been using the middle of the range 785 (right) at £180 but they start from just £70 with the 525 and go up to £300 for the top of the range 895 that can send the signal through walls and operate other household devices - drawing the curtains, dimming the lights - you can see Q supplying one to James Bond! The final touch is the superb help menu that after you have used one activity button to switch everything on it then asks if everything is OK and if not it fixes it for you.
Sir Clive Sinclair is famous as the inventor of the first pocket calculator as well as the ZX81 and Spectrum computers. His first venture onto the road with the C5 was not a resounding success - but he's back with the A-bike. The A-bike is a result of a five year research and development program by his team at Sinclair Research. “…the idea is that if you had a bicycle which is seriously lighter and more compact than anything existing at the moment, it will change the way in which people see bikes.” I go to meet David Merricks of Mayhem UK who is looking after the marketing of this revolutionary new folding bike and I get to see how quickly it can be folded away and because it weighs only 12lbs it makes it half the weight and half the price of other folding bike competitors. You can buy it online for £200 at www.a-bike.co.uk
|June '06||June opens with a chat to the ebullient Annabel Hills who describes what gave her the idea for her clever Lucky Kit - about the size of a packet of cigarettes but jammed with things you may need for a night on the town - and to take you through to the morning after. £8.95 for the grown-up version (left) and also a less risque version for £7.95 The men's version comes without spare underpants - I suspect Annabel has been mixing with the wrong type ! Item No 8 looks a bit suspicious - I hope it's the razor she was talking about and No 6 looks like a whistle, it's probably best not to probe too deeply.
Then I talk to Andy Morgan from playengine.co.uk about their revolutionary new PC monitors made from wood. He explains the advantages of wood and why bamboo is the natural material for monitors, mice and keyboards as well as furniture. Once the bamboo is harvested it is dried in high temperatures which kills pests and bacteria. Then through high pressure and high temperature carbonization, the bamboo fibre and other compositions have been completely solidified. To finish, the bamboo is coated with paint which features anti-pest and anti-rot effects. Bamboo monitors are easily cleaned due to their unique fibre. In addition to this the texture of bamboo offers warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer. Available in 3 sizes from 15" from around £220
The yoropen (left) is a radical departure from the traditional pen or pencil shape.
Caleb Culverwell explains how the idea originated and why yoropens are so much better to write with and how they help to avoid RSI.From about £3 in most good pen and stationery stores
|May '06||The May programme starts with a conversation with Russell Holliman the CEO of Podcast Ready in Houston Texas. Unlike all the other podcast gathering software available, Podcast Ready sits on your mp3 player and whenever or wherever you plug it in to a PC connected to the internet it updates all your favourite programmes automatically. This could be the killer-app which makes podcasting available to the majority. It comes bundled with the excellent Mobi-Blu mp3 player that not only plays your favourite music and podcasts but is also a very good FM radio and can record from a built in microphone at pretty good quality, from the FM radio and even through a line input at very good quality. If that wasn't enough, it has a claimed battery life on over 150 hours - that's over 6 days! The only problem is the controls which I found a little fiddly. Around £100 in various on-line stores
Max Anderson is my next guest as he reviews and raves about the Playstation - Guitar Hero. As a man who owns over 40 PS games, he says this is the best ever by a large margin. Guitar Hero gives you all the excitement and thrill of being a rock star without leaving your home. Choose from multiple rock characters and jam at concert venues that grow in size as your rock career progresses! You’ll start your rock career playing small clubs and bars, but if you play well you’ll work your way up to stadiums and arenas. Over 30 incredible rock anthems fill every stage of the game, to songs like Iron Man, Ziggy Stardust, Thunderkiss 65, More Than a Feeling and Take Me Out. To play you press the fret buttons on the controller in sync with scrolling “notes” on screen that indicate the rhythm of the song. Around £49 from most game suppliers and it's the game that has won the most awards in the last 6 months.
Then to Detmold, Germany to talk to Reinhard Gerling, the MD of the company that makes the Grilliput.
This compact camping grill is the cleverest piece of design, at only 29cm long and 2.2cm wide you can stash it anywhere, and when you're feeling peckish open it up into a 23x26cm BBQ. No more lugging hefty BBQs out to the park, into the woods or down to the beach, just pop the diminutive Grilliput in your back pocket and you're sorted. Made from high quality stainless steel it's completely dishwasher friendly, and even has a cleaning groove notched in it so you can scrape off the grill before you pack it up in its tiny solid tube. From around 30 euros in Germany to £24.99 from iwantoneofthose.com in the UK.
|Apr '06||April opens with another recap. Last month I reviewed the Aeropress coffee maker. We took it on holiday with us this month and together with a small travel kettle we were able to have some of the best coffee we've ever enjoyed on holiday. The Aeropress is very light and easy to clean up in the bathroom sink.
We open the show with a chat to Di Overton, the 'Dictator' behind wheredidyoubuythat.com. Dictator, because she is the one person who chooses the domestic items that she sells. She tells me how she had the idea, how the company survived the dot com crash and how the Armadillo bread bin (left) is her best seller.
Got a video camera and want to use it for ski-ing, paragliding or any other energetic sport? I talk to Mark Jenner the MD of cameras4sports about his clever helmet mounted cameras that can be plugged into the majority of consumer and professional digital video cameras on the market. They come with an integral microphone and you can get waterproof versions for canoing and other wet sports. It's not just for sporting activities as Mark explains that our head is the best tripod we have and even for travel this will give you smooth pans and moving images - even if you do look a bit silly. Prices from £130 and you can even hire the camera for a holiday.
Next is James Luce the Product Manager of Acoustic-Energy who have designed the extremely clever Wi-Fi radio (left), the world’s first radio capable of accessing over 99% of internet radio stations broadcast anywhere in the world. Compatibility with all three major streaming formats gives the AE Wi-Fi radio unrivalled choice of content from BBC Radio1 to Sao Paolo’s Radio Calypso and of course BFBS Radios 1 & 2 & Gurkha radio. No subscription to pay, no signal coverage problems and no international content boundaries. This simple plug and play device links to any Wi-Fi network and broadband connection to stream both live and listen again internet radio content. Channels are listed alphabetically and the easy to use multi-function control knob makes choosing a station simpler than an FM radio! The AE Wi-Fi radio brings all the benefits of internet radio to the kitchen, bedroom or even the garden and can also play music stored on any Wi-Fi enabled PC in the home. Available on-line and also in John Lewis.
Viral marketing is all the buzz at present. Using the internet and people passing on website links to get your message out. The official English World Cup song is by Embrace, but to many people, it is a bit of a dirge and not at all singable from the terraces. Step forward Joe Fagin, the voice of the 'Auf Wiedershn Pet' theme tune with a clever re-working of the song that is now called "That's England All Right" and has a full interactive website www.thatsenglandalright.com where you can listen to the song, watch the video, download the lyrics and buy the record.
|Mar '06||Last month I talked to John Barker the President of Trek-Tech in Oregon about his great Trek-Pod. After our chat he was good enough to send me one and it is even better than I had imagined - quick release mount is robust and yet instantaneous. So far it has been used as a boom mike on location, a fixed mike stand at Olympia as well as a video & still camera mount. Check it out at Trek-Pod.
We open March with a phone conversation with Alan Adler, not only the inventor of the great Aerobie that holds the Guinness World Record for the "longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature"- 1,333 feet (406 meters) but has now invented the Aeropress (left) - possibly the world's best coffee maker. We've had one in the Raven household for nearly a month and it has changed the way we make our coffee. Using the ideal water temperature and gentle air pressure, brewing yields rich flavour with lower acidity and without bitterness. Total immersion brewing results in uniform extraction of the ultimate in full coffee flavour and only one minute from start to finish. The actual press time takes only 20 seconds. Around $30 in the USA and available from Firebox in the UK
|Feb '06||February is the month for travelling and I start by talking to John Barker the President of Trek-Tech in Oregon about his great Trek-Pod (left). This is a trekking pole that is also a monopod with a quick release mount and then with a flick of the velcro strap becomes a tripod. If you do any rugged walking and also need a rest for a camera, binoculars or spotting scope then this clever gadget is a must. You can buy it from his site for around £80 plus the cost of shipping to your location.
We stay in the USA for our next guest and down to Austin, Texas to chat to Richard Trocino about his stylish and useful travel toothbrush the GO OHSO. What makes this different from other travel toothbrushes is that you load it up with toothpaste and then to clean your teeth just turn the base to charge your brush with paste. The cap doubles as a rinse cup and the whole thing looks so smart. You can buy it online for just $20 plus P&P
Then to the toilet as I review 1 Drop - the essence which claims to stop toilet odour. Made from natural plant extracts, just one drop instantly neutralises smells. Best used prior to the event for maximum benefit. Enough for 500-600 visits and ideal for travelling or to keep at home (the bottle can be mounted on the side of the cistern, in the holder provided). We tried it in Spain and it works a treat.How good it is at neutralising a badly smelling toilet before you use it remains to be tested. You can get it from Ecozone and Presents For Men from £4.99
Michael Robinson invented the clever JetRest that we reviewed three years ago and he's back with the ThumbThing. This winged piece of plastic makes keeping your book open with one hand a piece of cake. Perfect for the plane or the beach or even in bed. £2.50 each or 4 for £8.95 these would make great presents. It comes in 4 sizes, (width of thumb hole), Small 18mm - Medium 20mm - Large 22mm - XLarge 24mm.
Finally we meet up with another old friend of the show, Colin Brown, who tells me all about the only computer bag to offer free screen insurance. Damage in transit is the big killer of laptop PCs; and repairs and replacement parts especially of screens - can be fearfully expensive. Port Designs is now offering a free one-year screen-protection guarantee on selected models, backed by London General Insurance.
|Jan '06||January starts with an interview with Morace Park from Acemor who has invented the m-pac. This clever clip can be attached to most parts of your body, the car dashboard and bike handlebars to enable you to carry your phone, mp3 player, credit cards with safety and yet accessibly. This gadget should be available by mail order from their website in the next month or so.
Then I meet Steve Martin of Gaiam to talk about the POWER-breathe - a device to strengthen your lung muscles and improve health. All three products in the range are £49.95 and whatever your level of fitness from sedentary to super fit this can be extremely beneficial. Just 30 breaths twice a day and you are on your way to improving your fitness.
After all this exercise, time to relax with a Forfeit Cookie (right). Like a fortune cookie but more tasty and much more fun. I talk to MissChief herself, Camilla McLean about the 3 types - Original, Intimate and Hen Party and get an idea of the sort of forfeits inside the cookies. Original and Hen Party are £8 and the Intimate are £7.50
Finally to the offices of the best selling gadget magazine in the UK to chat to the Editor - Michael Brook. We talk about Stuff's new podcast and website, whether the X-Box is worth the money if you can get your hands on one and if the new Creative Zen Vision can beat the iPod.
|Dec '05||The December show is traditionally a round-up of the best of the year.
The programme starts with a trip into the kitchen to meet Nigel Hinton of A-La-Cut who describes what makes his chopping boards so special and also how to look after a good wooden board. His range of different boards, all with the clever curved recess, start at £15 for the smallest up to £40 for the large thick circular board. The medium sized 15" x 9.75" board is £20 plus £5 P&P. New research out of America has shown that plastic boards harbour more bacteria than wood!
Julie Alexander is the UK importer of D Skins. These clever thin covers clip onto your CD or DVD and protect it from dirt, scratches and the wear and tear that young children especially can give to their music, DVDs or computer games. Used by Video Rental shops, Libraries, Schools and Universities, it's a great way to protect your valuable disc media. If you have a satnav system in your car then this is an excellent method of protecting that £500 disc of information. D Skins retail at £5.99 for 5 and you can buy them in bulk packs of 100.
Then to meet with Gareth Mitchell, founder of tree2mydoor.com. Instead of giving flowers, give a 2 year old living young tree.
He was awarded a grant by the Princes Trust to get the business off the ground and also won the Clarion Gift Of The year Award for 2004. It is a lovely eco-friendly gift idea which can be sent to most of Europe and many other parts of the world. Prices start at £14.00 and there is a huge range to choose from.
Next to the Bet-fair British Inventors Exhibition to meet Mike Minton who has invented the Perfect Soldier cutter.
Mike tells me how he came to invent this clever gadget and why the soldiers it makes are better then the ones made with a knife after toasting. The outside edges for that first stab to break into the yolk and then the inner strips cut to the exact width for dunking into an egg.
Not yet in the shops, but judging by the publicity he has received and the interest on the stand, expect to see it in the shops in the Spring of 2006 See more at perfect-soldiers.co.uk
Finally to Tottenham Court Road, the Mecca for gadget lovers, to meet Hiren Soni from Nav-City. They are the experts on all types of satellite navigation systems and he takes me through the pros and cons of each of the three mobile options. On your mobile phone, via a PDA and a dedicated unit like the TomTom pictured right. Prices have dropped dramatically and you can now get a good system covering the whole of Europe for around £300.
|Nov '05||November is a show that is full of awards - 1 Platinum, 3 Golds, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze
We start at the Betfair British Invention Show and meet Brent Simon from fridge-to-go.com and he tells me how this revolutionary chiller bag has the chiller effect built into the bag (right) . The bag picked up Gold & Platinum awards at the show. Not in the shops yet, but by the Spring of next year you should see them for around £9.95.
Then I talk to John Smith of gettingpersonal.co.uk about his great wall and desk calendars. Every month of the year has an image that depicts the month with a name that you choose in the picture. Just go online and enter the name that you want on the calendar and £12 and 5 days later it arrives.
Back to Alexandra Palace for the next piece as I meet David Craig who designed the amazing relaxation pod called the-egg A preprogrammed 15 minute session fills the air with the light scent of aromatherapy oils, relaxing music plays and the lights twinkle like a night sky while the massage mattress works the whole body through its many vibration points. David picked up a Gold and Silver award at the show and you will soon see this in gyms and other health centres as well as many hotels, airport terminals and anywhere where people need a 15 minute quick wind-down. I was lucky enough to get a session and if you ever see one - join the queue to try it!
Cucumber is a popular vegetable especially in salads but you do have to protect the cut end. I meet Roark McMaster who's invented the qtop that won a Bronze Medal at the British Invention Show. He tells me how his wife gave him the challenge and how he developed the concept. Again it's not yet in the shops but it's expected early in 2006. If it proves to be a success then look for other clever designs to follow.
Finally I chat to Simon Mitchinson of the Paper Rucksack Company who make - paper rucksacks! From an idea that came to him when he was carrying all the kids empty rucksacks after lunch in a theme park these rucksacks are proving really popular for school trips. Strong enough for a day away and at only 30p they make a truly biodegradeble alternative to a rucksack or the ubiquitous polythene carrier bag. This clever idea picked up a Gold Medal at the 2005 British Invention Show.
|Oct '05||Got an mp3 player and want to use it in the car? If your car radio plays cassettes then it's easy with the £8 cassette adaptor, otherwise the only other way is to buy a new car radio with an external plug or buy a mini-transmitter. David Kenworthy tells me why he thinks the Digiana Audia X is a perfect solution. Easy to use, powered from the cigarette lighter and just £29.00. Glen Mansell has a neat solution for the iPod, the Dension Ice. This holds the player neatly in the car and when in use disconnects the external car aerial so that you get a clear interference free signal. A tad more expensive at £60 for the basic model. My solution? I bought a new car radio with a 3.5mm stereo lead attached.
Paula Good from the Ordnance Survey joins me to tell me about the new legends for footpaths on their Explorer range of maps. Now you can see whether the path ahead is anything from a National Trail to a permitted footpath in which the landowner can withdraw permission. We then discuss the OS Select maps where you can choose where to put the centre of the map. Moving house or as a gift for someone, this is a great option. Flat (for framing or putting on the wall) or folded (with your own personalised front cover) Prices start at £15.99 for the Landranger (1:50,000) and £16.99 for the Explorer (1:25,000)
Then to the Bet-fair British Inventors Exhibition to meet Mike Minton who has invented the Perfect Soldier cutter (right). Mike tells me how he came to invent this clever gadget and why the soldiers it makes are better then the ones made with a knife after toasting. The outside edges for that first stab to break into the yolk and then the inner strips cut to the exact width for dunking into an egg. Not yet in the shops, but judging by the publicity he has received and the interest on the stand, expect to see it in the shops in the Spring of 2006 See more at perfect-soldiers.co.uk
Then on the phone to Utah in the USA to talk to Randy Hales the CEO of Back To Basics, a leading US kitchen equipment company, about their revolutionary Egg & Muffin Toaster . 2 tablespoons of water into the bowl, crack the egg into the poacher, put the bacon or sliced ham on top, bread into the toaster and press Start. 4 minutes later a perfect egg sandwich. You can adjust the egg hardness by altering the amount of water, the toast has a darkness slider and the slots are wide enough for bagels and croissants. Now available across the USA for around $50 or less. The 240v version should be in Europe next year.
|Sep '05||Rosanna Kilfedder is the winner of a competition held at Brunel University aimed at finding a new generation of entrepreneurs. She tells me how she came to invent the handbag, dubbed Sun Trap, that uses a solar cell attached to the outside of the bag to trap energy from sunlight. The energy is stored in an internal battery which lights up the lining. The lining is made from an electroluminescent material similar to that found in mobile phones and is lit up by the bag's zip which acts as a switch. The bag goes dark when the zip is closed or after 15 seconds if it is accidentally left open. Brunel Enterprise Centre, an organisation set up to help students develop their ideas commercially, is helping her to apply for a patent and eventually get the bag on the High Street and Rosanna reckons we should see it in the shops in around a year's time.
I then speak to Nicholas Roope from Hulger about his innovative P*phone mobile phone handset. Made from old fashioned telephone handsets with plug adaptors you can now answer your mobile in style. He has just also brought out the Y*cable that converts your P*phone into a VOIP phone for use on your PC. £40.00 for the phone in a range of great colours and £8.00 for the cable. More information here.
I then speak again to Adrian Hon about what's been happening in the search for the Receda Cube in the the distant planet of Perplex City. He gives us a clue just for G3 listeners that we should look at events in New York in early October.
Finally I speak to Michael Brook, the Acting Editor of Stuff magazine about iPod Nanos, PlayStationPortables (PSP) and the forthcoming Best Of Stuff in Hammersmith London on November 4th-6th.
|Aug '05||We start August in the car as I speak to Ian Sandford from Superchips about their electronic tuning device that gets you more BHP from your car. Convert your Mini to a Mini-Cooper just by plugging this unit into the diagnostic port of your car. The Bluefin option covers most Ford cars and can markedly improve the performance from your turbo-diesel vehicle. The unit starts from about £300 depending on your car and the majority of the Superchips or Bluefin devices retail at £499.
Julie Alexander is the UK importer of D Skins. These clever thin covers clip onto your CD or DVD and protect it from dirt, scratches and the wear and tear that young children especially can give to their music, DVDs or computer games. Used by Video Rental shops, Libraries, Schools and Universities, it's a great way to protect your valuable disc media.
If you have a satnav system in your car then this is an excellent method of protecting that £500 disc of information.
D Skins retail at £5.99 for 5 and you can buy them in bulk packs of 100.
The Indipod is an in-car toilet. I speak to Dr James Shippen about how he came up with the idea and how it works. At present it is only suitable for high SUV type vehicles but plans are under way to bring out a saloon car version. It inflates in just 30 seconds so if you feel the call of nature you can be ready to go as soon as you find somewhere to pull in. It is on special offer at present at just £199 and can also be used outside the vehicle if it can be supported from a tree or tent poles.
The movie AI in 2001 spawned the first ARG - Artificial Reality Game. The Beast as the game became known was eventually solved in the summer of that year but since then there have been others, I Love Bees which was tied to the video game Halo 2 and also one connected with Audi cars. I speak to Adrian Hon who wrote the definitive guide for resolving The Beast four years ago and who is now the representative for the distant planet Perplex City. This time there isn't just kudos for solving the puzzle but £100,000 at stake. Adrian explains how the world's ARG community are coming together and offers you the chance to pick up free game cards that will help you progress in the game. The cards will be sent to all BFBS overseas stations and should be ready to be picked up from the reception desk by the end of August.
July opens with a chat with Ian Bibby of Pictronic on their photo frame system that back lights your photographs to make your memories shine. The Pictronic® frame uses a light slice placed behind a standard photograph or computer printed image, this ensures any picture displayed will become a fantastic focal point in your home. Starting at £50 they are a great way of making your photo stand out.
|June '05||The June programme starts with a trip into the kitchen to meet Nigel Hinton of A-La-Cut who describes what makes his chopping boards so special and also how to look after a good wooden board. His range of different boards, all with the clever curved recess, start at £15 for the smallest up to £40 for the large thick circular board. The medium sized 15" x 9.75" board is £20 plus £5 P&P. New research out of America has shown that plastic boards harbour more bacteria than wood!
The problem with sunshine postings for females is that if your legs are showing signs of age, stripping off to a bather or wearing a short skirt can be a no-no. I talk to Pamela Langford about Air Stocking, a spray which gives the effect of wearing nylons and helps to conceal thread veins and blotches. Simple to apply and it's waterproof and sweatproof so can last up to 3 days without re-application. It has UV protection too so that you don't have to apply suncream. There are 4 different colours to suit all complexions and at £25 a tin and is enough to do around 12 pairs of legs - or to put it another way, about £1 a leg.
The Smart-Scart is an intelligent scart connector that makes sense out of all the the competing video signals at the back of your TV. I speak to the inventor, Chris Skelton of Blue Delta Design about how it works and how it can automatically understand which of the Sky/Freeview box, DVD, Video Recorder, Game or Camcorder you actually want to watch. It retails at £34.95 and is available direct from Blue Delta as well as Maplins and many other outlets. Blue Delta has a wide range of devices helping you to bring order out of video chaos and also sells ribbon scart leads which take up much less space behind the TV.
Languages For Love. On one CD are a wide range of chatup lines in 8 different languages. It includes a game that can be played by a group of guys and has some handy wallet size cards with such handy phrases as "I love my bike, do you love me?" which evidently Dutch girls love and Spanish girls would be impressed with "You are like a train". £9.99 for hours of harmless (?) fun.
Finally to the HQ of Stuff Magazine to meet the Editor, Oliver Irish. Ollie talks about gadgets for the open air festivals as the Stuff editorial team are off to Glastonbury. Also the new XBox 360 planned for later this year.
|May '05||We start in Olympia at Urban Gardens and first meet Neil Bromhall of Complete Gardens. who have a plant gardening guide on CD-Rom. Find plants quickly & easily by their Colour, Season, Size, Soil Conditions & Preferred Aspect. Plant Care advice. Link your plants to the Calendar & have all year colour & interest. This Complete Gardens CD-Rom can do it. You can also find Nurseries/Stockists, Sculptures, Quality Garden Products and Suppliers. Plant Solutions - plants for acid soil, food plants for butterflies... Beautifully photgraphed and works on PC & Mac, it costs £24.99 and you can get it at an even keener price in PC World.
This would make a wonderful gift for someone who loves gardens even if they haven't got one to look after at present and will give valuable advice on plants and planting whatever the shade of green of your fingers.
Marc Tyley reviews the Smokey Guitar Amplifier from firebox.com and makes some pretty impressive guitar sounds from a cigarette packet! £24.99 for hours of fun and he didn't give it back!
Geoff Whittaker of Sunbeans talks about his outdoor bean bags as used in TV's Big Brother . Fully waterproof and able to withstand the sun & rain they start at around £50 up to the bed sized beanbag at £179.
Steve Dent is our games reviewer for this month and from the Falkand Island BFBS studios gives me his opinion Lego Star Wars. An experienced gamer with around 30 or so games in his cupboard, his verdict - "The best game I've ever played". He was playing it on his Playstation, but it's also available for PC, Xbox and Gameboy. £24.99 from CD-Wow.
Finally to the HQ of Stuff Magazine to meet the Deputy Editor, Michael Brook. Michael talks about the new antidote to smart phones - phones that just make calls including one from Vodafone called the Simply. LCD monitors and Star Wars gadgets are also featured.
|Apr '05||Off to the races in April. The Raceway near Kings Cross was the venue for the UK showcase of the Reva NXG concept car. 200 kilometres range and top speed of 120kph, this is some car. The NXG looks like a Smart car crossed with a Ferrari and has an onboard computer that not only monitors the battery state and speed but also has a GPS Satellite Navigation system and lets you browse the internet and get your email. Then I talk to the Managing Director of Goingreen, Keith Johnston who import the Reva G-Wiz electric town car. He tells me how cheap the car is to run. No road tax, cheap insurance, no congestion charge and free parking in London and less than 1p a day to charge it up. The G-Wiz costs just £6,999 and would be an ideal second car for any service family who only have a short drive from the quarter to the camp. The NXG may come to market towards the end of next year - price to be announced.
Then to Tottenham Court Road, the Mecca for gadget lovers, to meet Hiren Soni from Nav-City. They are the experts on all types of satellite navigation systems and he takes me through the pros and cons of each of the three mobile options. On your mobile phone, via a PDA and a dedicated unit like the TomTom pictured right. Prices have dropped dramatically and you can now get a good system covering the whole of Europe for around £400.
Tony Bergasse is the Games Guru for CD-Wow and he comes on the line from New York to tell me about the best of the new games in the first quarter of 2005 and helps me choose a game for our next reviewers - The Dent family in the Falkland Islands. They'll be on the show next month reviewing the brand new 'Lego Star Wars'. This blends the unique world and designs of LEGO play materials with the unforgettable characters, stories and vehicles of the prequel eras of the Star Wars universe. Play the most memorable and exhilarating scenes from The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and the forthcoming Episode III Revenge of the Sith including pod racing on Mos Espa, the repelling of the droid onslaught in the Genosian arena and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon's fatal fight with Darth Maul - sounds fun!
Finally to the HQ of Stuff Magazine to meet the Editor, Oliver Irish. Oliver tells me about the review in the May issue comparing the 3 different types of smart phone. Symbian, Windows and Palm and how we both think that the Palm has the best interface, even though it has the smallest market share.
I head to France for the first item in March - to see whether small gadgets like mp3 players and digital cameras are any cheaper in the high street shops there. Darty is one of the leading French electronics shops and is part of the Comet group so a good way to make a comparison with the UK. The result ? - "rip-off Britain" is no more in regards to Europe. Some of the items were cheaper, but in the majority of cases you were better off buying online in the UK.
Next to meet Richard Peak of GN Netcom to talk about their revolutionary bluetooth headest - the GN 6210. Of course it works with your cell-phone but when you get into the office or back home it switches automatically to your home phone number. With this comfortable headset in your ear you can answer all calls because when either phone rings, it answers. 8 hours of talk time and to make an outside call, just dial in the ordinary way. The GN 6210 retails for around £125 here in the UK and if you are thinking about getting a bluetooth handset for your cellphone, then for a little more expenditure you need never have a sore arm again from holding the receiver for those long calls at home or at work. Find out more about this great gadget at GN Netcom.
Ian Flint in Cyprus is the games reviewer this month and he takes us through the good and bad points of "Medal Of Honor - Pacific Assault". Ian hasn't played many shoot-em-up type of games and found that he was an easy target and kept losing his life until he lowered the accuracy of the enemy's guns.He was impressed though with the graphics and the soundtrack - more like being in a Hollywood war movie than the real thing. You can get the game from CD-Wow for £19.99 including free postage.
In the competition, Richie Judson of BFPO 59 won the SIM Card Manager by telling me that SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module.
Finally to the HQ of Stuff Magazine to meet the Editor, Oliver Irish. Oliver talks about portable DAB radio players, the OQO handheld computer little bigger than a PDA, but costing £1615 and the demise of the Gadget Shop which called in the receivers this month.
|Feb '05||The February show again starts with a response to emails. I give a brief history of the regulations that the music business have used to limit the unauthorised copying and distribution of music through the ages. DRM - Digital Rights Management is the latest tool that they are using to protect the rights of the composer and artist. My recommendation in the short term is to continue to buy your CD's in the normal way. That gives you the music in better quality, the sleeve notes and pictures and the ability to sell on the CD if you don't like it. If you want to learn more about it - the web is full of pages both for and against that give information from all sides of the debate.
These days many of us have hundreds of phone numbers and personal details stored on our mobile phone SIM cards. Lose the phone and all that data has gone - until now. I meet Steve Ramlakhan, the MD of Timeless Europe who have developed the SIM saver £9.99 and the more complex SIM Card Manager (left) at £19.99. The SIM Card Manager allows you to backup any number of SIM cards to your PC and tidy up , add and delete your phone entries by a keyboard rather than the numeric keys on the phone. The SIM Saver doesn't need a PC or any tech knowledge to use it. One button to back up, another button to restore. Both items are available from Dixons, PC World and many other locations. See them at timelesseurope.com.
Gemma Astbury is our games reviewer for February looking at SIMS 2 for the PC. She tells me about how the game is played and the great detail that is present in this version compared with SIMS 1. It retails for around £20 and as Gemma says, it is a very addictive game giving you the power of a dictator with godlike powers to influence the way in which your families develop.
Finally to the HQ of Stuff Magazine to meet the Editor, Oliver Irish. Oliver talks about portable gaming which he believes is going to be as big in 2005 as portable audio was in 2004 and the launch of the Play Station Portable in a few week's time.
|Jan '05||The January show started with a response to an email from Cyprus. Sue Ferguson is ditching her walkman but doesn't fully understand the mp3 music revolution. I try to explain all. The formats, the types of players and the best type to buy depending on where and when you plan to use it. The new kid on the block is the iPod Shuffle at £69.00, but there are many others to choose from.
Our youngest ever games reviewer is next. 10 year old Wills Vincent lives in Hohne, Germany and he joins me to talk about his favourite game - Mario Golf Toadstool Tour. Is it a golf game with Super Mario or a Super Mario game that includes golf? Wills explains all.
Then to meet with Gareth Mitchell, founder of tree2mydoor.com. Instead of giving flowers, give a 2 year old living young tree.
He was awarded a grant by the Princes Trust to get the business off the ground and also won the Clarion Gift Of The year Award for 2004.
It is a lovely eco-friendly gift idea which can be sent to most of Europe and many other parts of the world. Prices start at £14.00 and there is a huge range to choose from.
Finally to the HQ of Stuff Magazine to meet the Deputy Editor, Michael Brook. Michael tells me about some of the new breed of camera, gaming and smart phones that are due out in 2005.