2013 marked the first year that Google Glass became a tangible product; from mere prototype hype and mock videos in 2012, to something we could test out and use, albeit in an environment controlled by Google. But that didn't mean we weren't eager to get our mitts on the highly anticipated spectacles when we were invited to try them out back in summer.
From our demo, it was clear that Glass is more about the tech concepts it introduces, as opposed to a concrete device planned to make it big with consumers. Google isn't promoting Glass as the next big thing in technology, but more as a proof of concept that it wants to receive feedback on and improve upon and just see where it goes.
Lightweight and futuristic looking, the eyewear is perhaps more an indicator of the kind of technology we are likely to see in years to come, and in that respect, we applaud Google for trying something new and giving people the chance to try an alternative to a smartphone. We think it'd be impossible to argue that it's not a one-of-a-kind device, whether it becomes available to buy or not.
LG Pocket Photo
Korean hardware firm LG is perhaps best known for its substantial line-up of smart TVs, monitors and smartphones. But that all changed earlier this year when the company unveiled a rather unusual device, claiming to be the smallest and lightest mobile photo printer on the market.
Working with any smartphone or tablet, the LG Pocket Photo printer produces roughly business card-sized colour prints via ZINK inkless printing technology, which LG says eliminates the need for expensive ink cartridges.
When we reviewed the nifty gadget, we found it extremely fun to use, working with a smartphone app that allows you to add filters and photo effects before printing out and covering everything you own with them.
The LG Pocket Photo printer is available now for £130.
Leap Motion Controller
The idea of augmented reality and gesture control proved ever-more popular in 2013, with more manufacturers integrating it into their products.
Love it or hate it, Leap Motion was the first to give those who don't already own gesture-controlled devices the option of such a technology. Its Leap Motion Controller turns any PC with a USB port into a 3D motion-activated computer for just £70.
The device allows people to control their computers with hand and finger movements, claiming to sense gestures made by your hands "the way you move them naturally". Working with Mac computers and PCs, the 3in device is powered by USB and downloadable software.
It also tracks all 10 fingers up to 1/100th of a millimetre with zero visible latency, leaving your hands free to move in eight cubic feet of interactive, 3D space. It's a neat and unique little gadget, which also comes with Airspace, the Leap Motion app store that is said to contain more than 75 applications such as paint programs and games built by developers and designed specifically for Leap Motion technology. A welcome addition to the year's line-up of quirky and unique gadgets. µ
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