We have seen the future – and it's pretty silly

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

New technology is feeding Britain's obsession with hi-tech gadgets

Luxury, rather than necessity, is the mother of invention for a generation of gadget-obsessed Britons. In the space of a generation, a gadget revolution has been fuelled by advances in technology, driven by smaller and more powerful computer chips and batteries.

The trend towards "intelligent technology" with gadgets controlled through devices such as mobile phones is a long way from the laptops, clock radios and digital watches that excited people a generation ago. And the growing number of people transfixed by their smartphones or computer tablets is one manifestation of the obsession with technology.

There are now dozens of magazines, websites and television programmes dedicated to gadgets. A record number of people is set to descend on the Birmingham NEC for the launch of Gadget Show Live this week. Some 120,000 are expected – a fourfold increase since the first show in 2009.

Matt Hodgins, director of Gadget Show Live, said: "The UK's desire for gadgets has grown substantially over the past few years and that love affair has not been disrupted by the poor economic climate. Technological advancements have allowed for better design and more affordability, and the number of electrical appliances, products and gadgets people own has more than trebled since the 1970s."

Here The Independent on Sunday takes a look at some of the latest gadgets that will be at the show, some in the UK for the first time.

Wrap 1200

They may look like bog-standard shades, but the glasses – described as "video eyewear" – are designed to allow total immersion in 3D virtual reality games and films. Wearing the glasses offers you the equivalent of a 75-inch widescreen TV, claims the manufacturer, Vuzix – a company that started in defence research and development.

Volution 2 paramotor

The trusting can take to the skies with what is described as "paramotoring" – in a personal flying machine. British manufacturer Parajet describes its Volution range as "aircraft", but the reality involves placing your faith in a tiny two-stroke engine powering a wooden propeller that keeps you airborne for three hours at a time. Prices for would-be James Bonds start at about £4,500.

SmartBird

Meet the robotic bird inspired by the herring gull. The manufacturer, Festo, boasts of succeeding in "deciphering the flight of birds – one of the oldest dreams of humankind". Weighing 450g and with a wingspan of two metres, the SmartBird can take off, fly and land on its own. Its wings not only beat up and down, but also twist to steer.

Necomimi

Feeling upbeat or down in the dumps? Friends will soon be able to tell how you really feel by observing the cat ears waving above your head. Created by Japanese company Neurowear, the ears will be seen for the first time in the UK at this week's Gadget Show Live. Brainwave technology from sensors attached to your head makes the ears react and move in accordance to your emotions.

spnKiX

The 21st-century version of an enduring classic – rollerskates. But in true gadget style, the spnKiX are dubbed "motorised skates" and will make their European debut at Gadget Show Live. They are battery-powered skates, which strap on to your shoes and are controlled by a hand-held remote control. Powered by a rechargeable lithium battery, the spnKiX can reach speeds of up to 10 miles an hour. The battery will power you along for about seven miles, but as recharging takes up to five hours, you might be quicker walking in the end.

Solowheel

A space-age version of the unicycle, the world's first single-wheel, battery operated vehicle uses gyroscope technology.

Once you have mastered balancing on the thing, it can go at 10 miles an hour for 15 to 20 miles on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery. The US manufacturer, Inventist Inc, claims it is "the smallest, greenest, most convenient 'people mover' ever invented".

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
people

Far-right organisation has defended its actions on Facebook

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music

Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes

News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo, writes Paul Scholes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Helpdesk Support Analyst - South West London - up to £22,000.

    £20000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Support Analyst ...

    Datacentre Consultant (Infrastructure Consultant, HyperV) £45k

    £45000 per annum: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Datacentre Consultant (Datacentre,...

    .NET Developer (C#, .NET, Support) - Coventry - £45k

    £45000 per annum + Excellent Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: .NET Develope...

    SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

    £300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker