BARCELONA, Spain –– I saw a whole lot of gadgets, gizmos, and doodads at the Mobile World Congress this week. Some of them were unmemorable; some ideas were so memorable that they’ve stuck with me, and I’ve been turning them over in my head ever since.
Are these ideas weird, brilliant, or both? Help me decide.
1. This summer Pizza Hut will sell the Click’N’Pizza. It’s a magnetic button for your fridge; if you press it, a pizza will be sent to your house.
The button is made by Italian startup La Comanda, who hopes to sell them through several more restaurants and businesses in the years ahead. One-click everything!
2. Want to experience a hot air balloon flight but have a crushing fear of heights?
SKC Telecom showed off a hot air balloon simulation, with the help of virtual reality headsets, expensive headphones, and a rumbling floor. Oh, and a scale replica of a hot air balloon.
3. You might also be able to buy a phone with a transparent cover.
Right now, this LG Firefox phone is Japan-only.
4. Phone doesn’t have a fingerprint reader? Just buy one separately.
The Nurugo is a detachable fingerprint scanner that uses your phone’s flash and camera to read your prints. It can be customized to perform several different functions, including locking off certain apps from your kids, and comes in many different colors. (Photo: blogdenotas)
5. Here’s a smartwatch that you can use to shoot high-quality video
Business Insider’s James Cook spotted this Korean company’s smartwatch with large camera lens.
6. Ever wondered when those loyalty cards at your sandwich shop would go digital? Wonder no more: Now there’s a digital loyalty stamp.
Just touch the stamp down against the smartphone screen and your purchase is marked, thanks to the magic of Near Field Communication between the two devices. Three more digital burritos to eat until you get a free one!
7. Car and truck drivers are supposed to wear this headband when they operate a motor vehicle. The headband can measure brain activity and rouse you awake if it senses you start to nod off
It’s called the U-Wake, and if you get too tired, it sounds the phone on your alarm or texts your emergency contacts.
8. The Runcible is a smartphone shaped like a pocket watch. It’s designed so that you don’t spend too much looking at it.
The makers of the Runcible want to return owners to a simpler time. The notifications are designed to be glanced at and then placed back in your pocket. Hence the pocket watch shape.
9. The Windblocker is an attachment for your smartphone that blocks the noise of wind while you make a phone call.
Right now you can only buy Windblockers in bulk; its maker hopes to sell them in stores for about $5 if the company finds a distributor. Maybe Rahm Emanuel should just purchase one for every Chicagoan to ensure his re-election goes smoother next time.
10. The security company AVG was showing off these “invisibility glasses" that thwart Facebook’s facial recognition algorithm.
You’ll look great, especially if you’re going to a Daft Punk concert. (Photo by PCMag)
11. These smart children’s shoes come with built-in GPS and can contact parents if their kids wander too far away
Made by the 361 brand in China, with the help chipmaker Mediatek, the shoes are on sale now in China. I would imagine a similar concept might also prove popular for jealous lovers.
12. Oral-B’s new toothbrush connects to an app and lets your dentist instruct you where to clean
Your dentist can see where you stink at brushing. Why not let him or her guide you through the brushing process? The Oral-B app will tell you where in your mouth to brush, and for how much time, according to your teeth’s needs. Anti-Dentites need not apply.
13. In the future, robots will roam the streets on Segways
This little guy was actually being remotely controlled by a driver. One day, I imagine he will patrol our malls and our airports. And maybe tell us how to brush our teeth, too. Godspeed.