Posts Tagged ‘the tech spy’

The idea of virtual reality has been around for a very long time, but few have been able to perfect the idea like the boys at Oculus Rift.

This company not only smashed through its Kickstarter campaign goals but still has investment flowing in with Facebook purchasing the company and now Samsung working with them to create a headset for its own media.

Of course, in any great market, others will strive to take a piece of the pie as the public is hungry for the new technology. The gaming industry is worth nearly $80bn, and some games gross more than some films nowadays so the fruit is there for the picking.

Oculus may be seeing its first real rival from China in the form of ANTVR. Still small and mobile enough to do what it wants without the huge corporate board that Oculus has with Facebook peering over its shoulder demanding results.

The ANTVR Kit includes a customisable remote, which is compatible with all games. The coolest form the remote takes is the hand gun which I think most of us will enjoy, giving you that "Time Crisis" type feel which we all enjoyed back in the 90's arcade scene.


The controller can be a simple joy pad, or happily transform into a joystick or steering wheel making it very versatile.

The headset is equipped with Full HD display (1920x1080, 1.03 megapixel per eye) and will give an IMAX style viewing environment with its large screen. They creators have even thought about glasses wearers making sure there is enough room inside to still wear them. It supports all the mainstream platforms including PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Android devices. All you need is a standard HDMI signal to use the headset as a screen.

The headset can be wireless, but currently it is an expensive add-on which we don't really think you need. We do like the idea of the "shotgun style" bullet reload to change the batteries in the device.

This is certainly a formidable rival for Oculus, it's price point is pretty much the same and it looks no lesser quality than its bigger brother and presents Oculus with a spin....the cool controller.

Starting at $300 with an estimated delivery date of September, we really cannot wait to test these out for ourselves.

Over on Kickstarter

It is amazing the things you can do on a tablet nowadays. The games you can play and the uses are endless. From talking to your friend half way across the world for free to editing a hi-res photo with professional detail while on the sofa listening to music. It makes me think of what did we actually do when we were younger? How did we survive? How did our parents keep us entertained?!

As a parent myself, it worries me that my child uses the iPad far too much and sometimes we all rely on it far too often. I have even seen my son walk up to a digital photo frame and swipe to the right to see the next picture, but left feeling slightly confused as it doesn’t work.

The question is, are children nowadays too reliant on modern technology and is the imagination that I think we had, going to be lost to a processor? This question can only be answered as time goes by and we see what happens to the next generation.

All is not lost though…A company called Tangible Play (made up of old Google staff) have released Osmo, a new crowd funded app for kids that encourages ‘real world’ play. It allows the user to pick up things and build using their hands, thanks to a mirror attachment which turns the iPad’s camera to view the surface where your child is playing.

Recently I have looked around the App Store and failed to find anything that is different or breaks boundaries, but this app is very different and we should stand up and take notice.

All of the games to be used with this kit are optimised for ages 6-12 but each game has a varying range of difficulty. Take Newton, it’s a physics game, which uses the same concept as “Cut The Rope” where players can use any object, from lines on a piece of paper to a toy or even their own hands to control the stuff on screen. All you really need is a piece of paper and a pen to get started.

Tangram, is a game where puzzle pieces in the real world must be matched to the shapes on screen. The kit comes with an iPad stand and mirror connector and promotes your child’s creativity as suddenly the brain is thinking in many dimensions!

I do not only love this as a educational toy for my kids, but also as a concept in itself. It is not often you get something that comes along that breaks the mold and creates a whole new genre of games….this might just be that thing.

Available now on the Osmo Website for $49. This is a steal considering what you get and of course this will double once pre-orders have been fulfilled. The company is concentrating on developing the apps, but will eventually open this up to developers to create their own games….so watch this space.

Check out the Osmo video




Would you like to post articles on The Tech Spy blog?

You don’t have to be the next Jason Bradbury (of Gadget Show fame) – although if you are and you want to write about a technology-related topic, we’d love to hear from you! However, this is an opportunity for anybody who thinks they would like to contribute a decent guest post to our blog so please read on.

Firstly, a couple of tips: please consider the tone, style and clarity of your writing. If you are breaking a grammatical rule, make sure there is a good reason for doing so. It is helpful if your writing has a little sparkle in the eye and makes interesting reading for our audience. Use a great metaphor or tell a compelling story. Spend some time on your headline.

Oh and please run your piece through spell check – we’re not perfect either. The occasional typo sneaks in despite our best efforts. But we put the time and attention in to make our posts as good as they can possibly be.

If you feel you have something interesting to say about the world of tech then this is a place for your best, most creative writing. The first draft isn’t always the best – it might be the third or fourth version which ticks all of the boxes. We always find it can be very helpful to set the post aside for a day or two before coming back to it with fresh eyes.

Oh yes, and your post will also appear on our Facebook page and Twitter feed for a tidy bit of extra publicity for you.

So if you have a useful, relevant and well-written post, what’s the next step?

Email us via the contact form below and let us know what you’d like to write about and why you think it would suit our blog. It’s always a good idea to link to a post or two on your own blog that you’re particularly proud of. (If you have a blog, that is. It’s not a requirement.)

Please be patient with us–some days we’ve got a lot on our plates and we can’t answer email as quickly as we would like but we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Don’t get too down-hearted if  we can’t publish your post immediately either because we may keep it on file to use a later stage.

We look forward to hearing from you!

The Tech Spy

Parrot have been quietly coming out with some superb products over the last few years which have a few things in common, great tech, beautiful design and the wow factor. The Zik follows closely to this model.

Parrot, who were more commonly known for their Bluetooth headsets and more recently for the iPhone controlled AR.Drone, last year released The Zik, an advanced pair of headphones which are not only crammed with serious amounts of tech, but look super cool!

These headphones, designed by Philippe Starck, are touch sensitive, allowing the user to change tracks, answer calls and adjust the volume by a flick of a finger on the outside of the ear cup. Once removed from your ears, they automatically pause the music you were listening to via your Bluetooth connected smart phone and have a dedicated Android/iOS app to control certain features. To insulate you from external noise, the headphones have active noise cancellation which eliminate up to 25dB of ambient noise using 4 separate microphones located inside the earpiece and use a jawbone sensor to aid the microphones during phone conversations.

Parrot’s Zik also comes with a rechargeable battery and can be paired via NFC (with compatible devices) and if you run out of battery, you can use the supplied line in cable to keep enjoying your music.

Nobody can deny that these are a cracking pair of headphones that the company have certainly thought about, but these headphones are not cheap at £269.99, but they look great, and offer a classier alternative to the Beats revolution which is common place on our streets of late.

Parrot Zik

Parrot Zik


When The Tech Spy first saw Minority Report back in 2002 he dreamt of controlling screens from a wave of a hand and manipulating windows with a flick of a finger, MYO has made this a reality in 2013.

The crowd funding project which starts at $149 on lets you use the electrical activity in your muscles to wirelessly control your computer, phone, and other favourite digital devices.

The “one size fits all” armband is worn by the user and uses lower-power Bluetooth 4.0 to connect. it has a load of sensors on board to help it detect electrical activity in arm and hand muscles to detect movements and would be ideal for in-depth interaction for all you gamers out there who want to unleash their inner Jedi as stated by the creators.

The unit attracted over 10,000 pledges in its first 2 days and the creators have promised to give access to the API for developers to work their magic.

The magnificent Olive One connects all of your portable gadgets and music libraries without the need for connectors and adaptors. Combining beautiful design, open architecture and audiophile sound quality, this really is the all in one home network music player to show off in your home.

You can connect your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth 4 viewing album art and info or via the dual band Wi-Fi connection for HD music quality. The Olive One will also connect wirelessly to your NAS or can have internal storage installed to those with limited storage.

Pandora is built-in, but you can also play Spotify and any other music services that you use on your smart phone. You can even queue music and videos from YouTube and stream music from your cloud service (iTunes Match, Amazon Locker and Google Play) and ONE is upgradeable through the internet, so future updates from new developers will be a breeze.

Hand-built in the US with a $40 international shipping charge, this player, which is currently being crowdsourced on Indiegogo, starts at $399 with a July shipping date. These guys seriously have thought about the perfect network music player and have opened it up to the public to make it even better.

The Tech Spy gives this the Thumbs up!

The Olive One

Google chose SXSW in Austin earlier this week to give us all a further insight into Google Glass.

The search engine giant made the API’s available to developers late last year and reminded us that Glass is a platform for developers to flourish within.

Google revealed a little more about the Mirror API and showed off some of the already developed apps for the platform, including Gmail, Skitch, Evernote and NY Times. The glasses will have an inbuilt mic, embedded camera, GPS and earphone and will work like a personal HUD that you speak out loud to.

The platform is far from finished, but the company has set the guidelines now for developers to make this a product of the future and The Tech Spy cannot wait to see the finished article.

Glass sold out almost straight away and is tipped to be available late 2013.

Google Glass