Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.
Last week's Wearable Technologies Conference in Munich showcased the future of cutting edge wearable design. While much of the exhibitor area was dedicated to usual suspects like performance-tracking sensors and wearable cameras, there was one design that immediately stood out. Still just a rough concept in need of partners, the i Gel protective system proposes a full-body airbag suit for protecting motorcyclists, bikers, skiers, and other hobbyists and professionals.
It might seem strange that Gizmag spent a good chunk of the busy month of January playing with toys at two major toy fairs, London
and Nuremberg. The toy segment is following consumer technology closely, though, and many of the same trends that we see at major shows like CES
are also evident at the international toy fairs ... only in smaller, simpler, more child-friendly packages. Proclaimed as the world's biggest toy fair, the Nuremberg Toy Fair ("Spielwarenmesse" in German), which wrapped up earlier this week, gave us a good feel for how toy companies are incorporating the latest technologies, including robotics and connectivity.
3-D printing has been one of the biggest crazes in tech over the past few years. And as with other big tech crazes before it – think smartphones and tablets – the age of entry is lowering. Last year, we took a look at the ill-fated Printeer kids' printer
. The all-new Bonsai Lab BS Toy we checked out at the recent 2015 Nuremberg Toy Fair picks up where that one left off, offering a simple design aimed at families and children.
Tucked away in one of the most distant corners of last week's Boot Düsseldorf show was one of the show's most interesting products: the ultra-versatile Klepper Backyak. As its name suggests, it's a kayak that can hike to water's edge on your back. But it's also a sailboat, a snow sled and a floating sun deck.
Selling winter sports gear is a tough gig. You're severely limited by climate and geography, and even in places with the ideal mix of snow and terrain, you'll still find loads of people that aren't interested in playing in the cold. Then there's the whole global warming thing hanging over your head. These types of limitations inspired Germany's KHW, the self-described world leader in plastic toboggans, to develop a special sled purpose-built for the sand. Summertime is taking a snow day.
It may be bitingly chilly and damp in Northern Germany right now, but that didn't stop the region's attention from turning to blue skies and bluer seas. Gizmag caught the tail end of this year's Boot Düsseldorf boat show
and found a host of impressive new boats, personal watercraft and ocean toys. We bring you inside the show in our photo gallery tour.
Most of the electric boats we saw at the Düsseldorf boat show this past weekend were small, slow cruisers designed to putter around waterways with combustion engine bans. One boat stepped well beyond that model, though. Still under development, the all-new NOX SV promises speeds up to 75 mph (120 km/h) from a highly capable 225-hp (168-kW) electric motor. The boat packs that cutting edge drivetrain into a classic mahogany hull with a D-Type-like racing fin thrown in for good measure.
Once the domain of a select few products like the Powerski Jetboard
, the powered surfboard market has really grown over the past year. During that time, we've seen the underwhelming Waterwolf
, the promising, multi-personality Aquila
, and the Radinn
surfboards. The German-designed Lampuga joins the crowd, bringing with it speeds up to 34 mph (55 km/h) and claims of being the world's fastest e-surfboard.
Last week's CMT show in Stuttgart, Germany put the spotlight on a highly versatile Volkswagen camper van. The Bett Mobil carries a sliding pod (reminiscent of the DoubleBack van
) inside a versatile camper-in-a-box package. The Bett Mobil's "second story" slide-out bedroom leaves cargo room below and is the key component of a fully modular camper package that turns the Volkswagen Multivan into a full-fledged camper, then removes completely to give the owner a standard van back.
The all-new Seabear H3 is a smartwatch for outdoor lovers of land and sea. Billed as the first dive watch with color OLED display, the watch also includes features for hikers and other sporty landlubbers. Use it to plummet your way down into the vast abyss of the world's oceans, then dry it off, tweak your display and navigate the world's highest mountains.