Category Archives: Gadgets

LED, toy, illusion and must have gadgets.

The Bot Adventures, Life with Cozmo…

ANKI are the creators of the smallest smart robots with big personalities and their latest creation Cozmo is taking the world by storm. This little bulldozer with personality is quickly making itself famous, starting as all internet stars do by building a YouTube following thanks to the channel ‘Life with Cozmo’ that features this little hero’s big adventures. Building a robot with personality is the holy grail for all tech companies working in the field of robotics and ANKI’s little Cozmo has it in spades.

Presented for your viewing pleasure are the Bot Adventures of the little electric super hero, they may be cheesy and a little silly but they will make you want to buy a Cozmo of your very own. Sit back relax and prepare to be amused by the antics of a robot with electronic eye brows.

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Roli Blocks, a Musical Revolution…

Musical equipment has ridden the wave of technological change in recent years, at the forefront of this change is Roli, an English company hoping to revolutionize how we make music. Roli’s Blocks are a flexible modular musical system that includes incredible new touch technology. Now anyone can put together the blocks that they need, from a portable studio in your backpack to a professional dream studio and get down to making tunes.

There are really two parts to Roli’s revolution, the modular wireless design of the blocks and the interface of the instruments. The blocks themselves can be split into two groups; control blocks and instrument blocks. All of the blocks are wireless and Bluetooth connected, snapping together into any configuration you need, allowing everyone from armature jammer to professional studio musician to put together their perfect kit.
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Keyless Unlawful Entry, Stealing Cars using a Key Relay Device…

Law enforcement officials around the world are constantly facing new challenges when it comes to unscrupulous individuals taking other people’s stuff. The latest challenge for police is the Key Relay Deice that can be used to steal your car by transmitting its fob signal to open and start the car with almost no effort.

Security experts have been aware of the Key Relay Devices since 2011 but in recent years their use has become more wide spread. As you will see from the video below thieves using a key relay device are able to simply stand within the transmission range of your key fob and using a relay transmitter send the signal to another relay device held near your car and hey presto your car is opened. This isn’t a security flaw but a natural by-product of cars using a proximity sensor to unlock the car, if you must press an open the doors button on your fob your car isn’t susceptible to this attack.

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Musical Calculators, Too Cool for School…

While many of us might have thought it hilarious to see 80085 typed onto our trusty Casio calculator imagine how much trouble we could have gotten into if we had known you could play the Super Mario theme song on it too. Quirky YouTube channel ‘It’s a small world’ knows only too well what can be achieved with a calculator and a nimble pair of hands and they are leading a very curious trend of converting these digital number cruncher’s into ditty playing devices.

The humble Casio MG-880 may have been one of the first calculators to allow the mathematically obsessed to also express their musical talents but there is now a whole new generation of calculators favored by the current generation of musical mathematicians, most notably the Dragon Night AR-7778 and AR-8001, both available for around $20.

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Virtual Reality and the Suspension of the Physical World…

Virtual Reality headsets are the leading form of immersive entertainment but there is a limitation to how deep you can go into these virtual worlds, a limitation caused by the need for physical control mechanisms. This ‘reality wall’ is caused by the fact that your brain is well aware that it’s in two worlds simultaneously, the VR world being experienced and the real world that is executing the controls. For complete suspension of reality and removal of the reality wall there needs to be a way to control your actions from within the VR experience, something that joysticks and even voice control cannot provide.

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The New World’s Fastest RC Jet Blasts by at 744KPH…

Remote control cars and aircraft are the mainstay of many childhoods, a hobby that’s as popular now as it has ever been. Those of us who were lucky enough to enjoy those hobbies in adulthood get the chance to do incredible things, record setting things.

Pushing his piloting skills to the limits RC pilot Niels Herbrich has made a hobby of setting records. His last record  (439MPH / 706KPH) set in 2013 still stands. Unofficially Niels has returned to the green fields of Saxony-Anhalt each year to push his hyper jet to ever higher speeds. The pink wedge was sent skyward again this year and achieved the mind boggling speed of 462MPH / 744KPH. Keep in mind he is flying completely via line of sight, no head gear.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is the 2016 744KPH run, a little jet that really does look like its flying at hyper speed. Also included for completeness is the ultra-fast pulse RC jet that features first person view footage, pilots eye. And rounding out the trifecta is the remote controlled SR-71, just because it’s too cool. So sit back relax and remember, these are professionals, you cannot achieve the same feat using fireworks, duct tape and some old balsa wood.

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The iPhone 7, it’s Just a Little Funnier…

No matter the brand of phone that keeps your pocket warm during the day we all have to admit that the original iPhone changed the way we communicate. With so much innovation already under its belt maintaining the momentum must be difficult, which brings us nicely to the iPhone 7.

Obviously Tim Cook couldn’t just get up on stage and say that they tried really hard but it IS just worse. However, the comically inclined individuals over at CollegeHumor can and did. Seizing upon this moment of weakness for Apple CH have launched an hilarious broad side in the form of a parody video.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is the hilarious blow-back from a less than stellar week for Apple. When will they learn and bring back the turtleneck sweater, that was Jobs’ real secret weapon. Sit back relax and be sure to have your laughing pants on.

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Cozmo, the Pixar Character Come to Life.

Anki is a company at the leading edge of artificial intelligence who just happen to make toys, incredible toys. Cozmo is their latest creation and he’s a self-aware artificially intelligent robot, a tiny robotic bulldozer to be precise.

Equipped with a front facing camera Coz scans his surroundings, recognizing faces and interacts with the people he meets. His friendly LCD face is dominated by a pair of large charismatic eyes, eyes capable of portraying emotion. He even snores when he’s asleep on the charger.

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The Weirdest Speaker Yet, or the Coolest?

YouTube unboxers of all things gadget Unbox Therapy have stumbled across what may be the Weirdest Speaker Yet! Here at Highpants we are torn though, while it is stacked high with weird it is sort of really cool too, so wrong its right. The office is split down the middle like our parliament, stupid weird versus 70’s cool, we can’t decide.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is the SoundSoul Water Speaker in all of its glory. The divisive little piece of audio equipment that has already sold more units than it should have. Sit back relax and let the soothing water calm your soul after a long day of arguing about speakers.

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Microsoft Holoportation, the Holodeck Comes To Life.

Microsoft’s augmented reality (AR) headset HoloLens is becoming more useful every day and it hasn’t even been released yet, the developers edition is due next month. The latest mind blowing use for the Buck Rogers helmet (headset) is teleportation, or rather holoportation. A name that unintentionally blends holodeck (and HoloLens too) with teleportation, two of our favorite Star Trek technologies. Luckily it’s also a very accurate description of the technology.

Through the magic of technology Holoportation allows two disparate people to share their presence, to communicate. Sending your live image (avatar) instantly over vast distances you can now appear to be in the room with your friends and visa versa, as long as you are all wearing HoloLens AR headsets.

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Landlord Tries Drone Headset, Hilarious.

Here at Highpants we like to think reaction videos still rule the roost when it comes to pure belly laughs per minute, well that and cat videos obviously. Take for example the video ‘Landlord Tries Drone Headset’, a video that demonstrates the more unlikely the combination of test subject and experiment the greater the reaction, and the funnier the video. The quality of the test subject aka the fall guy can also greatly effect the outcome. All of this mind you adds up to one funny reaction video, funnier than cats? You decide.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is a landlord who tries out a drone headset for the first time. A mind given flight and a body that tells him otherwise. Sit back relax and prepare to become one with the drone, or not.

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The DIY LED Flashlight, the 1000 Watt Torch…

Have you ever been hiking and needed to light up an entire side of a mountain, nup me either, but if you ever do YouTuber and compulsive DIY’er rctestflight has built a torch for such an occasion. Using 10 massive LED chips each drawing 100 Watts of juice this monster torch can throw out 90,000 Lumens of pure white light. A standard home LED bulb uses between 15 -30 LED chips (depending on the bulb) and uses between 10 and 20 Watts of power to produce a measly 800-1000 Lumens of light.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is one of the most extreme home-made torches seen in many years. Now that the hard work designing and assembling the torch is complete the fun can begin, working out what the hell to do with 90,000 Lumens of light power. Sit back relax and don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave.

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Mechanical Techno, Unconventional Audio.

Often times the musical instruments we use to produce music are every bit as artistic as the music being made. But when an art piece is a musical instrument and produces its own musical performance is it like an artistic double dip? Take for example London based artist and musician Graham Dunning and his Mechanical Techno video, a video that sees his techno producing machine as both performer and instrument.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is the quirky cool video that demonstrates a whole new way to make use of that old turntable and vinyl records. Sit back relax and let the beats roll on.

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Drone Racing Dreams, an Interesting FPV Insight.

The New York Times has recently posted a fascinating little documentary that provides a sneak peek into the quickly expanding pass-time of FPV drone racing. A pass time that puts the pilots into Star Wars style speeder races, the view through the pilots VR Headset really does closely resemble the famous speeder races from the films.

The proliferation of personal drones and cheap off the shelf parts has seen this new style of racing quickly expand over the last few years. Started in unused buildings and parks around the world FPV racing has now grown to the point that tens of thousands of dollars are on the line at competitions.  Is FPV racing the killer application for this now ubiquitous technology?

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Reactable Live! S6, Upgrading the Incredible.

Something different this way comes with the release of a new version of the incredibly cool Reactable musical surface. Making music differently is the Reactables specialty, from the interface to the music process Reactable shifts it all to a touch screen that works with touch as well as tactile cubes and objects used to compose and control your tunes.

Developed originally by a team of researchers at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. The original concept was first explored in 2003, by 2005 the team had a working prototype that was demonstrated at the International Computer Music Conference in 2005. In 2009 Reactable the company was created to further the development and marketing of the system.

There are now three models of Reactable available to the musically inclined; the software only can now be run on a mobile device (iOS and Android), the fixed Reactable for permanent installation into hotels and museums and the Live! S6 version that is transportable between gigs. The Live! will set you back $7400 USD, making music can be an expensive hobby it turns out.

Presented for your viewing pleasure are the live demonstrations of a musical instrument from the future, a device that would be at home in any sci-fi film. Sit back relax and turn the volume up, its time for a little doof doof with a difference.

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Colin Furze Makes Real Assassin’s Creed Weapons, Cool.

The always busy man in a shed Colin Furze has put his endless energy and skill manufacturing contraptions to work bringing Assassins Creed weapons to life, and the results are spectacular. Not content with being able to fire his rope to scale sheer walls Colin also produced the infamous assassin’s favourite, the hidden blade.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is the making of video for two very cool video game inspired gadgets. Proof of the incredible things that can be achieved by one crazy inventor and his man shed.

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Robohon, Part Robot Part Mobile Phone and All Heart.

Sharp stunned many attendees of the CEATEC tech convention recently with a gadget that has more character than all of DARPA’s terrifying robots put together. A friendly personal robot that is part Swiss Army knife, part mobile phone and all heart.

Robohon may appear to be a mere child’s toy but appearances can be deceiving, he is far more. Combine the functionality of a mobile phone with a walking talking dancing robot and you have an entirely new take on personal communications and personal robotics, a mobile phone with heart.

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Android TV and Kodi, 2015’s Ultimate Home Theater Streamer on a Budget.

A TV revolution is well underway, no longer are our viewing habits a prisoner to Free To Air, Network or Cable TV. Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services are tuning us into this revolution and streaming devices are key to unlocking the stream. Serving all of your modern media needs streamers are the set top box of the future ready to stream today. Combine these modern streamers with Kodi and you have an affordable way to access unbelievable amounts of content at the click of a button.

This does leave the tricky question of which streamer to hook up to that flat panel display? If like us you use Kodi (formerly XBMC) to stream media on a daily basis then the question becomes a little more complicated and then a lot simpler. The following is our journey of discovery to find the perfect Kodi streamer for around $200.

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