Who ever said gadgets had to be boring? There are so many opportunities to harness the power of technology and innovation outside the office.
The obvious place to start is on your daily commute. If you have to drive, the logical gadget for 2014 must be an electric car. You don’t have to confine yourself to a Renault Twizy (which is strictly a quadricycle, not a car). You have the VW E Up!, Peugeot iOn, BMW i3, Citroen C-Zero and others to choose from, and larger pure electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Renault Fluence are coming onto the market as battery technology improves. Fun and cheap to drive, although still quite expensive to buy.
Let’s not forget motorbike riders. A bike is a great alternative to a car, but not always practical off-road if you’re using it for leisure trips. Fear not, 2x2 Cycles have come up with a bike rack to carry two mountain bikes on the back of a motorbike! We’re not sure if these are even legal in the UK, but they look great.
ant to be the first in your street with the latest printer? You’d be surprised how many 3D printers are already available to the domestic user – a quick search at Amazon will produce a long list of them at under £1,000 (just). Bear in mid that these are effectively computer-controlled plastic extrusion machines, so you won’t find an HP printer driver for them in Windows, but you can have loads of fun manufacturing random plastic bits and pieces. Korecologic.com are even hoping to make the first 3d printed car body!
Drones have been making the news in war zones around the world this year, but they are now available for recreational use now. Remote controlled helicopter drones such as the AR drone2 are highly controllable 4-rotor drones that enable you to stream HD video direct to your smartphone or USB memory stick.
Looking forward to next summer, look out for a new breed of cool boxes hitting beaches and campsites in 2014 – if Coolest Cooler manages to raise enough funding via Kickstarter. Take a standard cool box, add Bluetooth speakers, an 18v blender, LED lights, bottle opener and an optional grill in top. It’s a complete party on wheels!
Technology is taking over every room in the house, so it’s high time we saw more of it in the bathroom – like the Kohler Moxie showerhead with wireless Bluetooth speaker so you can stream music from your phone, tablet or iPod into the shower. Of course, the cheaper iDuck waterproof speaker does a similar job, but it’s not quite so stylish.
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What has been your favourite gadget for leisure use this year, or what are you planning to treat yourself to in 2014? Let us know in the Comment section below.
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I'm a partner with Burton Sweet, chartered accountants & business advisers, and run the Shepton Mallet office down in beautiful Somerset. Despite the name, Shepton Mallet is actually the home of Glastonbury Festival! I trained in audit and corporate tax with Grant Thornton and came to my current position in 1991 via small local practices...