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Sean Bacher

Something on the Side: Robots, amps and treasure tags

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In this Something on the Side, SEAN BACHER highlights the MiP self balancing robot, McIntosh’s MXA70 2-Channel Integrated Audio System, an Everki Concept bag, the Nokia Treasure Tag and the Razer Junglecat iPhone game controller.

MiP self balancing robot

The MiP self balancing robot uses a mobile inverted pendulum (mip), similar to that found in the Segway range of human transporters, to keep it upright and on its two wheels. The robot’s eyes are sensors that allow it to navigate obstacles and they also sense hand movement, allowing a user to call or turn the robot by simply waving a hand in front of it. Rotating the right wheel will allow a user to switch the robot from mode to mode. For example, stack mode allows users to stack objects on the robot’s tray. Dance mode lets it dance around to internal techno-tracks while attack mode puts it in fight mode where it will locate and fight with a second MiP. Of course, there is an app for it , which lets you remote-control it and wirelessly switch which mode it is in.

Expect to pay: R1 800

Stockists: www.wowwee.com

McIntosh MXA70 2-Channel Integrated Audio System

The McIntosh MXA70 is a perfect example of McIntosh’s range of high-end audio products with neat lines, good looks and top-end features. The amplifier includes two 50-watt desktop speakers, able to produce enough sound to keep most parties going. The amp includes six inputs, ranging from the old fashioned auxiliary ones to the newer USB and HDMI ones. In addition to physical inputs, users can play music wirelessly from an iPad or iPhone through Airplay. Overall, the unit is really simple to use with well labelled volume controls, two analogue sound output displays and a power switch. It is the perfect balance between old-fashioned looks and top-of-the-range technology, making it one of the last audio systems many users will buy for a while.

Expect to pay: R88 000

Stockists: www.hfxsystems.co.za

Everki Concept bag

Airport check points are the bane of many travellers’ lives. They are a repeated hurry up and stop process that requires flyers to have eyes all over the place to make sure none of their equipment goes missing. The Everki line of bags is designed to make things easier. The bag features a checkpoint-friendly laptop section that quickly unzips for notebook inspection. Next to that is a secure section to stow a tablet or Kindle. A separate, waterproof section is available for toiletries and a hardened section lets users store their glasses. All sections of the bag are easily accessible and thanks to the padded straps, the Everki Concept is very comfortable to carry.

Expect to pay: R2 700

Stockists: www.kalahari.com

Nokia Treasure Tag

The Nokia Treasure Tag allows users to keep track of their valuables via their cellphones. It works in conjunction with Nokia Here maps by providing the GPS co-ordinates and the location on a map of the item it is attached to. The Treasure Tag also sounds an alarm and warns a user on their cellphone should they move out of range of the tag, meaning things don’t get left behind. Although not specifically designed for outdoor use, the tag also works well when attached to a dog’s collar. Locating your wandering K9 when it escapes is a simple matter of launching the app and finding the tag. Users don’t need to own a Nokia smartphone to use the tag, as Android and iOS apps are available, but with limited functionality.

Expect to pay: R500

Stockists: Vodacom stores across South Africa.

Razer Junglecat iPhone game controller

The Razer Junglecat game controller clips onto an iPhone 5 or 5S and features physical buttons that slide out from underneath the phone. The controller doesn’t add much bulk to the phone and will easily fit into a pocket. The Junglecat makes gaming on an iPhone much easier as the physical buttons are more responsive than tapping on the phone’s screen. The Razer Junglecat comes with an iOS app that lets users remap and define button functions, as well as adjust pressure sensitivity according to preference. Up to 20 personalised profiles can be stored on the app, allowing users to select a corresponding profile for their games.

Expect to pay: R1 050

Stockists: The Razer Junglecat is not yet available in South Africa but can be ordered online at www.razerzone.com

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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