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The most interesting tech you didn’t know existed – part one

Posted by Samantha Browning on 18th August 2020

Every year, technology surprises us with an incredible announcement or another new and useful device that speeds up an everyday task, makes our lives better or generally just makes us go WOW.  

However, with the headlines currently focused on another, more pressing situation and in an arguably over-saturated market, it can be easy to miss the really game-changing tech announcements that are worth understanding, investing in or just generally hearing about.

So, here’s my roundup of the most interesting and unusual tech you probably didn’t know existed:

Mind-altering wearables

Kicking off with something straight out of Sci-Fi is a wearable device called Thync. The venture-backed startup has developed a non-invasive, neurostimulation technology that targets the autonomic nervous system.

The wearable uses electrical impulses to alter brain function — reducing stress, improving concentration and even creating a state of euphoria. But this isn’t some evil shock therapy or even a weird Professor Xavier-style mind control. Instead, you wear a triangle-shaped module that you adhere to one side of your forehead, and attach two discreet wires to the skin.

While it does not look particularly stylish, this ‘mind-altering tech’ is capable of mitigating a range of problems from depression, inability to sleep and lack of focus to more complex issues such as strokes.

Developed over three years, the module applies pulsed electrical currents to the electrodes, targeting nerves on the face and neck that modulate those pesky ‘fight or flight’ hormones responsible for our behaviour when under duress.  

Despite some initial hype, placing it in the same category as Oculus Rift, the tech has had mixed reviews. However, it’s hard to deny that this ‘brain wearable’, if perfected, could revolutionise mental health, eradicate sleepless nights and even take on medical applications.  

A smart mailbox

In the current situation, I’m pretty much on first-name terms with my postman and I haven’t had a ‘Sorry we missed you!’ note for months, despite purchasing half of Amazon. However, when things do go back to normal, it’s likely that we will, once again experience the annoyance that is missing a delivery. Or, if you’re really unlucky, you might even be one of the hundreds of people in the U.K who have their mail stolen every year.

Almost everything is smart nowadays, so why not a mailbox?

The Danby Parcel Guard comes with a Wi-Fi connection, tamper alarm, weight monitor, live-stream camera and a locker to stash the package until you can collect it.

Unlike smart doorbells, which require you to tell the person delivering the package where to place or hide it, this device adds an extra layer of security. You can even bolt it to the floor for extra security. However, let’s face it, that wouldn’t look quite as bonkers as this device does. While I can’t see myself investing in one (it’s 99cm tall… where would I put it?!), it’s good to know there’s an alternative.

Laser weapons

So, we’re not talking actual lightsabres here, but hear me out. While we might not be seeing (or hearing) those iconic weapons any time soon, lasers are already being tested as a defence method.

Highly accurate and fast, these weapons are not affected by human error, wind resistance or barrel length. Plus, it’s less expensive than other ammunition — as long as there is electricity to power the weapon, it can theoretically fire an endless number of shots.

Last year, the U.S Army reportedly began working on a powerful laser weapon capable of destroying incoming cruise missiles. Once perfected, these would then be installed in ground vehicles, ships and aircraft across the services.

And it seems they have made progress. Earlier this year, a US Navy warship successfully disabled and destroyed an aerial drone aircraft mid-flight with a high-energy class solid-state laser. Suggested to be 150-kilowatts, the weapon works by directing massive amounts of protons at an incoming threat, engaging the target at the speed of light.

And if you’re wondering why you didn’t hear about this one, the news was published at the height of lockdown in May when, understandably, the world had other concerns to deal with…

A tablet on your arm

And last but not least, how about an incredible wearable that turns your own arm into a tablet? The Circet Bracelet is a thin plastic band capable of projecting a smartphone screen directly onto your skin via eight proximity sensors along the wrist.

Available in two storage sizes (16GB and 32GB), as well as 10 different colours, you can safely use the device while biking, riding transit, or even in the bath to respond to calls, watch videos or browse the web for a new pair of shoes. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, I’m sorry to tell you that, on this occasion, it is. This futuristic tech is not yet a reality, the snazzy video is the work of post-production special effects and, despite the claims, no prototype exists… yet…

In an interview with the Paris-based co-founder, it was revealed that the partners are trying to raise donations to fund further development. However, considering the hype surrounding the product ended in around 2014, it’s safe to say that this incredible feat of technology will not be coming soon to a store near you.

When it comes to technology, I’m always interested to hear about the latest and greatest inventions that are changing the world, but even the biggest tech fan can sometimes miss out on some of the weirder or wilder gadgets and breakthroughs.

From smart nappies to a dodecahedron that controls your smart home (it’s literally lit), I came across some pretty bizarre gadgets and very interesting tech when researching for this blog, so watch this space for another instalment coming soon.

Samantha Browning

With two and a half years of experience in technology PR gained at a London-based agency, Sammy joined Wildfire in November 2016 and brings with her invaluable knowledge of the consumer and B2B tech landscape and the wider media industry. Whilst gaining her degree from The University of Kent in English & American Literature and French, Sammy spent a year abroad living and studying in France. She continues her love of writing, books and the French language in both her professional and personal life. Sammy is a big fan of food, films, travelling and dogs. She loves planning holidays and would be very happy to hear of any recommendations!