The world of smart gadgets: weird, wonderful and really useful

From robotic balls and smart tennis rackets to gadgets designed to cook the perfect steak - the era of the smart gadget has landed

20 Jun 2014


The age of the smart gadget is upon us.

A new generation of weird and wonderful tech has arrived to help you with everything from playing tennis and cooking meat to having a little harmless fun.

Here we round up 3 of our favourite smart gadgets of the year.

1) Sphero robotic ball

Great for:

  • Livening up a dull afternoon by racing it around your living room 
  • Showing the kids basic programming
  • Showing off to workmates at lunch in the park  
  • Using as a controller to play app games 
  • Rave reviews from everyone from TechRadar to Wired 


The Sphero from Orbotix is a super clever robotic ball that you can control with your smartphone.

'Why would I want such a thing?' You may ask.

Because it's really good fun.

Sure, it may not be the most useful smart gadget going, but that's to miss the point. The Sphero is all about keeping you and yours entertained.

Dull work coffee breaks, rainy afternoons in with the kids, and parties that just don't seem to be getting started can all be livened up with some Sphero action.

The tough polycarbonate ball conceals a multi-axis gyro and a series of motors capable of propelling it in any direction at speeds of up to 6ft per second.

Control it via your smartphone or tablet - set up is simple.

It comes with ramps so you can set up a mini trick-course in your living room, perfect Saturday afternoon fodder.  

It's waterproof, so impress workmates on a lunchtime stroll in the park by steering it through puddles and along winding paths.

It's pet proof, so make a dull afternoon fun by watching your cat engage it in a high-speed chase around the kitchen. 

There is also a series of gaming apps you can use, where the Sphero becomes a motion controller for a game on your smartphone screen.

Check out games such as Space Party, a shoot 'em up that'll have you waving your arms and spinning around the room as you chase down the bad guys. 

Great fun. 


2) Zepp Tennis 3D motion sensor 

Great for

  • Improving your tennis by tracking the types of shots you play in a practice or match
  • Using a smartphone app to compare past performances 

Zepp Tennis Motion Sensor


Football fever has been replaced by tennis fever for many Britons as Wimbledon 2014 gets under way next week.

Want to take your tennis game to the next level after watching the pros on the box, or just tired of getting smoked by friends and family on the courts?

The Zepp tennis 3D motion sensor can help you claw back some credibility. It clips onto the bottom of your racket and records valuable data to help you better understand your game.

With it you can begin to piece together where you've been going wrong. It will record the type of shots you play during a match or practice, telling you the number of forehands, backhands, serves and smashes you hit.

You can then amend your game accordingly. And because all this data is stored on the corresponding smartphone app, you can see how you're improving and whether those targets are being hit.


3)   iDevices mini meat thermometer

Great for

  • Knowing when your meat is properly cooked rather than second-guessing
  • Cooking your meat just how you like it - your own perfect steak
  • Alerting you when it's ready via your smartphone 

I Devices Meat Thermometer

When cooked properly a steak or joint of beef can take some beating. However, getting it right can be difficult. Cook it for too long and it's tough and chewy, cook it for too little and it's a dinner-party quashing danger to eat.
The iDevices mini meat thermometer is here to come to the rescue of anyone who's ever struggled to get their meat just so.

With it you can probe your meat to check it's at a safe temperature inside to eat - no more umming and ahhing with the oven door open and shouting to your partner 'love, do you think this is ready?'

A sucker for a perfect steak, or have unforgiving guests who like their steak a certain way? Choose one of the thermometer's preset menus to cook your meat just how you - or they - like it.

Get bored hanging around waiting for your steak to cook, or want to pop out while a joint is cooking? Have alerts delivered to your smartphone to tell you when it's ready.


The qurky gadgets of CES 2014

At the International CES in Las Vegas we checked out several groovy smart gadgets, including jumping sumo robots on wheels to a printer that prints 3D sweets. Check out the video below:

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View our range of Smart gadgets by clicking here

What's your favourite smart gadget from out list of 3? Let us know in the comments below…