5 things we love: Drone sidekick to a DNA scarf

5 things we love: Drone sidekick to a DNA scarf

5 things we love: Drone sidekick to a DNA scarf

Ever wanted to go to a nightclub in a sound-sensitive animal mask? Ever wanted to decorate your bedroom with your own genome? These and more in this month’s roundup by Kit Buchan

Fleye Robot

Remember when Enrique Iglesias was injured by a drone on stage last May, and required reconstructive hand surgery? The Spanish heartthrob will be delighted by the Fleye Robot, a non-threatening drone which has just reached its Kickstarter goal, and is designed to follow you around, take aerial photographs and footage or be piloted like a remote control aircraft. The size and near-shape of a football, Fleye has only one propeller, which is hidden behind its plastic housing, and its onboard computer allows it to be buoyant, autonomous and even rather endearing.

Digital megaphone shouts a translation
This unwieldy invention looks like it might be a joke, but it isn’t. Developed by Panasonic in the wake of catastrophic Japanese snowfall in 2014, Megaphoneyaku is a digital megaphone with a built-in computer that translates and regurgitates whatever speech is bellowed into it. This will purportedly allow personnel at Narita airport in Tokyo to distribute travel information more accurately (and loudly), especially at times of crisis. The gadget currently translates from Japanese into Chinese, Korean and English, and features fairly rudimentary voice-recognition technology. Fortunately, British tourists will already be accustomed to incomprehensible transport announcements.

DNA test wraps your life up
Swab your cheek with a cotton bud, send it off in a tube and for £139 London-based company Dot One will get back to you with a personalised poster of your DNA profile, rendered as a unique patchwork of coloured squares. It costs £139, but the science behind the design is compelling: because all humans have 99.9% identical DNA, it is possible to represent a unique genetic signature by looking at only a small number of differences across an individual’s chromosomes. The resulting design – a graphic visualisation of this genetic individuality – resembles an unusually glamorous barcode, and is also available as a woollen scarf – for the intelligent and modish narcissist.

Sensory mask keeps you tuned in
This Canadian accessory, currently up for funding on Kickstarter, was created to enhance the experience of listening to dance music, by turning the wearer into part of the scenery. Called the “Jaguar Mask” (although it more resembles an embittered cow), it’s made from a spongy foam and comprises luminous, electronic strips, which flash according to the music. The result is slightly terrifying, but you’ll be noticed in your benighted electro-dungeon of choice. Masks are on sale for about £15.

Solar strip to power your phone
Portable smartphone batteries are 10-a-penny, but this Dutch gadget (recently funded on Kickstarter) is an outlier. It can double or even treble the life of your smartphone, and it can recharge itself through a 70cm-long solar panel, which rolls up inside the gadget’s tiny body like a scroll. The technology depends on organic solar cells, which are unusually flexible and only two micrometres thick. In direct sunlight, the HeLi-on can fully charge an iPhone 6 in two to three hours, and when rolled up, it’s about the size of a large marker pen.