7 Gadgets to make you look and feel good
Products to help you save time, feel good, look good and have fun!
Problem: The outfit you bought online doesn’t fit
Solution: A digital body-measurement service
Shopping for clothes online is great – until pants that would fit Oliver Hardy arrive at Stan Laurel’s house. According to the Wall Street Journal, up to 30% of apparel purchased online is returned, much of the time because it doesn’t fit. But UPcload, a new online service based in Germany, offers a solution to this all-too-common predicament: just stand in front of a webcam wearing form-fitting clothes and hold a CD in front of your navel. Because the UPcload software knows a CD is 12cm in diameter, it can figure out your relative body dimensions and create a 3D template of your shape. After obtaining your personal digital profile, you can shop at online retailers that are part of the UPcload network, confident your new clothes will do you justice.
Availability: Service is free from upcload.com
Problem: Mass-produced jewellery
Solution: Unique designs that mimic nature
Inspired by one-of-a-kind natural patterns like coral and a leopard’s spots, the folks at the design studio Nervous System use computer algorithms to create unique jewellery (and housewares) that Mother Nature herself might enjoy. Visitors to Nervous System’s website can make their own pieces using three interactive tools (with simple and clear directions) that mimic organic designs. Called generative design, the products are elegant and appealing.
Availability: Rings and earrings start at US$40 at n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com
Problem: Smelly clothes and way too much laundry
Solution: Anti-odour textile treatment
“Antistink technology” (our new favourite term, by the way) is what Agion Active calls its antimicrobial solution, which knocks the O out of BO. Clothes treated with the formula absorb and neutralise body odours, as well as any environmental smells. Another perk for those of us who are smelly and lazy? Some athletes have found that Agion-treated shirts don’t need washing until after three outings. And when you do wash them, the anti-odour treatment is restored to full potency.
Availability: Agion has partnered with some brands; see stinkatnothing.com
Problem: Looking for fun, but lazy
Solution: A ball with brains
Here’s one way to feign telekinetic powers (or just overexcite the cat): the Sphero by Orbotix, the first-of-its-kind app-controlled ball. Download the app and twirl your fingers on the screen – or tilt the phone back and forth – to take the Sphero for a ride. The tennis ball-sized toy contains a mini-sensor, gyroscope, compass and motor to navigate around the floor. Hit the Boost button to send the whirling dervish scooting across the room. And when the Sphero runs out of juice, simply place it on its stand to recharge.
Availability: US$99.99 (including shipping) from gosphero.com
Problem: You swim like a human
Solution: Your own dolphin tail
You’ll never be Cameron van der Burgh, but how about Flipper? Lunocet, a high-tech fin modelled on a dolphin’s tail, can help you reach speeds of up to 13km/h – much faster than you’d go with flippers (and faster than Van der Burgh, as a matter of fact). The 80cm stainless steel, aluminium and urethane monofin is more than a toy. It bolts onto cycling shoes and “functions like a wing” to propel you, according to marine biologist Frank Fish (we know, we know).
Availability: US$831 from lunocet.com
Problem: Busy people with no time to shop
Solution: Virtual supermarkets
Commuters in South Korea don’t have to wait until the trip home to buy groceries. As they pass images of products displayed on subway station walls, shoppers snap photos of what they want, place their orders using a free app, and check out. Their groceries are delivered to their doorsteps by the end of the day. The retailer, Home Plus, reported a 130% increase in online orders in the three months after it introduced the technology last year. Shanghai and Beijing soon followed suit, with shopping walls installed in several subway stations by online retailer Yihaodian. Home Plus parent company Tesco responded in August by trialling “virtual fridges” in select airports, allowing shoppers to scan, book a delivery time, and “come home to a full fridge”.
Availability: Momentum is gathering for virtual supermarkets, with shopping walls popping up everywhere from Europe to the US. Expect local versions soon
Problem: Cycling clothes that are unfit for work
Solution: A stylish multipurpose garment
The well-cut Brompton Oratory Jacket looks like any other smart sports coat, suitable for the office or a night out with friends. But it’s the MacGyver of cycling gear, tricked out with hidden features that cyclists will appreciate. On a rainy day, the jacket keeps riders dry with its silicone-coated cotton and fold-down, high-visibility flap in the back – which doubles as a clever seat protector. Open the underarm “pit-zips” for extra ventilation, and pop the collar and cuffs for safety reflectors. And don’t worry about discomfort when pumping up steep hills – the shoulder panels are designed to expand as you hunch over the handlebars.
Availability: £250 (R3260) from evanscycles.com