Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Paul Ridden

The new Soundlazer Snap from Richard Ahberkern

The creator of the pocket-sized Soundlazer directional speaker has revealed a more cost effective way for sonic scientists to get up to all sorts of narrow beam larks with friends. The new Snap does away with the funky red aluminum outer casing and ditches the complex digital signal processing in favor of a simple snap-together frame, board and ultrasonic transducers.  Read More

The new Theta m15 from Ricoh

Ricoh has announced that its Theta 360-degree pocket camera is about to get some new siblings. The new Thetas are very similar in design and capabilities to the original that Gizmag reviewed last year, but have an extra trick to show off – the m15 models can now shoot video.  Read More

The RiutBag from UK designer Sarah Giblin

Traveling to work in the city on a crowded train or bus has become a necessary part of the daily grind for many urbanites, and the backpack is often the weapon of choice for the transport of commute necessities. But Sarah Giblin spotted a design flaw in this useful storage solution and set out to do something about it. The problem is that unless you take it off or wear it to the front when enjoying the rush hour squeeze, all of those exposed compartment zips are just asking for probing fingers to dip in and remove the contents. Giblin's answer is the RiutBag, which has no zips on the outer shell.  Read More

The Expressiv MIDI Guitar system from RORGuitars

Keyboard players, digital drummers and DJs have been dipping into synthesized sonic magic for a long time, but until quite recently, electric guitarists have been left a little wanting. A good example of the progress being made is Fishman's TriplePlay wireless MIDI system. Rather than rely on an externally-mounted hexaphonic pickup of the kind found in TriplePlay, though, Ireland's Rob O'Reilly uses smart fretboard scanning technology for his Expressiv MIDI Guitar System. As well as promising zero latency when in MIDI mode, the instrument also sports "normal" pickups so players can chop and change between analog and digital sounds at the flick of a switch.  Read More

Meet B & W's first Bluetooth speaker, the T7

Bowers & Wilkins (B & W) has announced a new addition to its wireless speaker range. The T7 is the company's first Bluetooth speaker, and the most portable standalone speaker B & W has ever produced. It features two speaker drivers and two bass radiators, and sees the first commercial outing for the company's Micro Matrix cabinet technology.  Read More

The Core wireless speaker system from Mass Fidelity

Standing out in the already overflowing Bluetooth speaker market is not an easy task. Toronto's Mass Fidelity reckons its wireless audio thrower manages to do just that. Rather than suffering from rather disappointing mono audio performance or wasting hours of trial and error to find your listening sweet spot with a two speaker setup, The Core throws out a high quality wide stereo image from one portable little box.  Read More

The K-Board USB MIDI keyboard can survive being run over by a tour van and a drop from a 2...

Virtual pianos and synths in mobile device apps are great fun but nothing really gets your creative juices flowing like a real keyboard. If you want to marry the virtual and real worlds and find devices like Ion Audio's Piano Apprentice just a little too traditional, the similarly-priced K-Board from Keith McMillen Instruments might just tick your boxes. The portable 13-inch USB MIDI keyboard is reported compatible with all USB tablets and laptops, as well as leading music creation software like GarageBand, Ableton Live, NI Komplete and Animoog, and has been built to survive life on the road.  Read More

The Ubi computer waking up to the phrase 'OK Ubi' (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)

A project to create an always-on connected computer that interacts with its user by voice first kicked off in August 2012. Following its successful crowdfunding bid, the still in prototype Ubi went up for pre-order 2 months later, but it wasn't until earlier this year that the first beta units were ready for early bird testers and developers. Gizmag managed to get on the beta program and found the hardware pretty much ready for prime time, but the user experience still needing some attention. Ubi's creators have been busying themselves ever since and have now announced that consumer-ready computers are available to buy.  Read More

Prizm searches cloud music services to deliver tunes based on tracked user tastes

A group of French hardware and software engineers who tired of having to spend precious time building streaming music playlists have created a new system that aims to serve up the perfect tune every time. Not only does Prizm learn to play music based on the individual tastes of whichever listener is in the room, but it can even decide which type of music is appropriate for what's going on in the room. The device can be used as a standalone connected music feeder or alongside a companion app.  Read More

Blue's Mo-Fi headphones (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)

Back in August, a company best known for its studio vocal and instrument microphones and USB mics for mobile devices announced its first foray into the headphones market with the launch of Mo-Fi. Blue's big and beautiful over-ear headphones promised mobile music lovers a high fidelity listening experience regardless of the source music device. I managed to snag a quick listen at a busy IFA 2014 in Berlin last month and came away wanting more. My ears have now spent more hours than I care to admit surrounded by soft Mo-Fi foam cushions and I find myself reluctant to remove these rather impressive retro beasts.  Read More

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