5 Gadgets that prove that the future is now

BY Olly Mann

1st Jan 2015 Technology

5 Gadgets that prove that the future is now

From subtle home CCTV to augmented reality, where will tech take us next? Our resident Inspector Gadget, Olly Mann, is on the case, bringing you the gadgets that make the future seem a lot less distant. 



Image via The Gadget Flow

There are seemingly zillions of home security systems, all of which broadcast live pictures to an app.

I’ve previously doffed my cap to Google’s Nest cam, which we use as a baby monitor (and cat monitor when we’re on holiday because… well, why not?). But they all look like cameras, and so their presence can feel slightly sinister. Canary, however, looks like a home entertainment speaker.

Its cylindrical design discreetly suits most rooms in your house—but it’s not so camouflaged that it seems you’re actually trying to spy on people.


Philips Ambilight TV 7101

49-inch £799, 55-inch £999

Philips Ambilight TV 7101

TVs have become steadily cheaper, and features that were once considered premium—multiple speakers, 4K resolution, built-in apps for Netflix and the like—are now ubiquitous.

So if you’re a mainstream manufacturer like Philips, how do you make your reasonably priced, Ultra-HD, smart TV stand out? Apparently, you put “edge lighting” on it.

What’s that? Some LED lighting strips embedded in the back of the set, which project coloured light on to the wall, to mirror the colours featured on screen. When you’re watching Batman, it’s oddly cool.

When you’re watching Newsnight, it’s just odd.


Tefal Actifry Smart


Tefal Actifry Smart

Tefal have shifted more than a million of their Actifry “healthy fryers”, which can cook up a family portion of chips using just one spoon of oil by circulating hot air. T

he new model inevitably offers smartphone connection—but, for understandable safety reasons, doesn’t offer the smart feature you’d really want: the ability to cook a meal remotely.

Instead, it syncs with Tefal’s recipe app, featuring dozens of dishes. The fryer automatically tells the app to move on to the next stage of the recipe as you complete each step; the app instructs the fryer to adjust the fan speed, and so on.

A bit gimmicky, but it still makes some damn good chips.


Apple app: Moonpig



Moonpig has been online since 2000, but only recently have I tried out their app. A friend posted my six-month-old son a cool science toy, so I thought it would be sweet to send her a thank-you card emblazoned with a photo of him playing with it.

It was astonishingly straightforward to upload a photo from my camera roll to the app, select a font, type in my text and pay via PayPal. Seamless.


Android app: Pokémon Go



This augmented reality game is more than just an app, it’s the schoolyard trend of 2016: this year’s hula-hoop, loom bands and Beanie Babies all rolled into one.

By accessing your smartphone’s camera, the app reveals animated Pokémon (“pocket monsters”) hiding in the real world around you, whom you have to hunt down—a great way to encourage kids out of the house.

Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.