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Introducing the cat tormenter and other quirky gadgets from the future

Aurel Stevens
Zurich, on 24.02.2016

One thing’s for sure. The focus of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) was on the latest mobile flagships by Samsung, LG and the likes but on the sidelines of the congress, there were plenty of concept devices and all sorts of, erm, curiosities from faraway lands waiting to be discovered. Here’s a small selection of all the weird and wonderful gadgets and exciting new technologies.

The Oral B App toothbrush

After the smartphone, smart TV and the smartwatch, toothbrushes have now become smart, too. At least in the world of the toothbrush manufacturer Oral B. Here’s the lowdown: According to the latest Oral B studies, we’ve got it all wrong when it comes to brushing our choppers. We finish too soon or don’t clean the right bits. This is where the smart toothbrush “Genius” steps in.

This is how it works: Install the App on a smartphone (Android or iOS) and connect to your brush via Bluetooth. The respective brusher is kept in full view by means of a camera that is attached in close proximity (e.g. the bathroom mirror) – as nicely demonstrated by the dreamy model. Motion sensors and the camera keep track of the toothbrush 2.0 and tell you how long you’ve been scrubbing for and provide feedback and tips.

Available from July, price unknown

Pro: Finally I’ve got an excuse to use my smartphone on the loo! My partner keeps trying to stop me from doing so for “hygienic reasons”.

Con: I just can’t be bothered.

LG Rolling Bot

All of you who fell in love with the sweet BB-8 droid in Star Wars, may like this LG sidekick – the Rolling Bot. Its watchful eye (aka mediocre camera) is supposed to keep your home in check when you’re not in. This robot sphere is connected to your home wi-fi and sends live images from its current location. The robot is remotely controllable via app.

But it doesn’t end there. The Rolling bot also features an infrared sensor – allowing you to remotely control devices like your TV or sound system. Why you’d want to do that when you’re not home frankly remains a bit of a mystery; as does the feature that allows you to switch on your TV via the bot when you could simply push the button yourself. Whatever!

One of the major features is the pet mode in which the Rolling Bot takes off and torments... did I say torment? I meant ENTERTAINS your cat with a built-in laser pointer. The integrated intercom system allows you to talk to your pet or hear its desperate cries for help.

Release date: summer to autumn 2016.

Pro: I’d love to witness an encounter between the Rolling Bot and my colleague Sina’s French Bulldog. My bets are on Nala.

Con: I don’t have pets so I’d rather go for the real BB-8.

Samsung Gear 360

What if a gold rush breaks out? Plan A: Mine for gold. Plan B: Sell spades. This is what Samsung must have been thinking in view of the VR hype and didn’t miss the chance to present the Gear 360, an all-round camera with two fisheye lenses. Together with Galaxy S7 and Gear VR, it gives you the power to capture and watch virtual reality recordings.

The Gear 360 weighs 153 grams and is the size of a tennis ball. A small tripod is included. The dual cam reaches up to 3840x1920 pixels at 30 fps. Stills and videos are stored on a MicroSD card (max. 128GB). The data is transferred via wi-fi, Bluetooth or USB 2.0. Live view mode is available for your smartphone.

All recordings can be directly edited with the Galaxy S7 and the respective app. Dive into the world of 360° recordings with the Gear VR.

Release date: Second quarter of 2016 for 429.– Euros.

Pro: Samsung has not only jumped on the VR bandwagon but also put together a comprehensive package with the Gear VR – I’m impressed. I’d love to try this gadget out myself.

Con: Unfortunately, the App for the Gear 360 is said to be available for the S7 and S6 series only. The massive price tag is also likely to put you off impulse buying.


On-the-go charging is what MyFC by JAQ promises. The mobile charger doesn’t have a battery but instead features fuel cell technology. These exchangeable cartridges deliver a complete charge (1800 mAh). The advantage: Regular mobile chargers are dependent on a power socket at some stage. The fuel cell charger only needs a change of cartridge. These will soon be available from MyFC – if the rumours are true, they’re priced at around 2 dollars apiece and are sold in multipacks.

MyFC is portraying itself in a good light by stressing the ecological advantages of fuel cell technology. In my humble opinion, that’s a bit of a contradiction to the disposable cartridges that are chucked in the rubbish after being used. It’s a pity there’s no way of recharging the cartridges at your local petrol station. I’m a bit sceptical about this system’s environmental credentials.

Pre-order from

Pro: Say goodbye to battery charging. Insert a new cartridge and the charger’s good to go.

Con: Unless you’re planning on spending a month in the forests of the socketless back of beyond, I cannot think of a scenario that calls for a Jaq. Especially when back-up batteries that deliver several complete charges are already available.

  • Promotion

    Battery dead?

Oppo Super VOCC

Fully charge your smartphone in 15 minutes. That’s what Oppo promises to deliver with its improved “Super VOCC” technology. A 2500 mAh battery is supposedly 45% charged after just five minutes.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble but this will not work on your mobile. The technology not only requires a special charger but also a special battery that – surprise, surprise – is currently only used in the company’s own mobile phones.

Pro: Oppo is at the forefront of what’s happening in the field of battery technology. That’s a killer feature they’ve got going. I’m hoping the big providers will take Oppo as an example.

Con: I don’t want an Oppo smartphone.

Sony concept study: Ear, eye, agent and projector

At the MWC, Sony presented the future of communication: The (Xperia) smartphone is the centrepiece that is complemented with the gadgets Ear, Eye, Agent and Projector. Ear is a Bluetooth earphone that should last all day. With your help and in combination with your smartphone, it’s goodbye to inconvenient typing of text messages and hello to speech recognition. Ear is the only product from the four that has a release date: It is scheduled for summer 2016.

Eye is a clip-on camera that takes pictures and movies via speech recognition when your hands aren’t free. (If anyone remembers Google Glass and the “Glasshole”, all hail the “eye-diot”).

Not even Sony really knows what the Agent is good for. The device is supposed to say hi to you, when you’re in close proximity. (What nonsense. That’s why I had children.) Maybe it’s supposed to be a kind of central hub that controls the Smart Home. Like cranking up the thermostat whenever you’re close by. Or playing music at your beck and call or reading out the news like Amazon’s “Echo”.

Personally I like the Projector best. It projects a picture at short distance onto a table or the wall. The main attraction is that the picture is interactive. You can swipe a photo with your hand or paint with your fingers. Instantly, I can think of loads of things you could do with this. Dear Sony: Please produce it, provide an SDK and be astounded.

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I'm the master tamer at the flea circus that is the editorial team, a nine-to-five writer and 24/7 dad. Technology, computers and hi-fi make me tick. On top of that, I’m a rain-or-shine cyclist and generally in a good mood.

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