Concepts represent the very cutting edge future of technology and product design. Every gadget that defines the tech world now started off as a simple drawing on a piece of paper. Here we take a look at some of the hottest tech that started life as a futuristic concept, only to go on to be realised in 2015.
Touted as the most affordable e-bike ever, the Sondors is fully electric, so it doesn’t require any pedalling to get it started. The 350W motor offers speeds up to 20mph and it can travel up to 50 miles on a single charge.
Under $500 | Sondors
Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1
Set to be a hit with digital musicians, INSTRUMENT 1 is a single device that be used to mimic a variety of different instruments. It’ll hook up to any MIDI-compatible software and can be used with apps like Garageband.
$449 | Artiphon
Pebble Time & Pebble Time Steel
Pebble is back with not one, but two next-gen smart wearables and it has used Kickstarter as a foundation to launch them. It did pretty well, racking up $20 million in funding and becoming the most successful project ever on the crowdfunding site, ever. But what sets this watch apart from the competition? Well, a new Timeline features lets you easily see what you've got coming up and apps integrate better with the system, so you're not endlessly scrolling through menus. It's compatible with all of the existing apps built for Pebble, should last around a week on a single charge and it's water-resistant too.
From $249 | Pebble Time
This award-winning bag is “the world’s smartest backpack” according to its makers, thanks to its integrated chargers and a USB port in every pocket. Charging can be controlled from your smartphone, without having to open the bag and it also features shock absorbers and a water-resistant coating.
$249 | Ampl Labs
AKOLYT is a key that simply plugs into the diagnostics socket of any car built after 2001 and gives it a check-up. It also gives tips on eco-friendly driving techniques which could save you money on fuel.
99 Euros | AKOLYT
One for water goers with cash to burn, this jaw-droopingly expensive eco-friendly electric watercraft features a silent motor and zero emissions meaning that it can be used on lakes and rivers where boats are not allowed. Oh, and it’s unsinkable. Although we don’t suggest you test that too extensively.
€15,000 (approx £11, 500) | Quadrofoil
This LED-embedded skipping rope syncs up to your smartphone to count ‘jumps’ and calculate the number of calories burned thanks to sensor technology housed in the handles.
$89.99 | Smart Rope
Senz Stormproof Umbrella
An incredibly simple, yet effective, design innovation that ought to be particularly popular with us rain-soaked Brits - the Senz umbrella sports an asymmetric design that will keep its shape in heavy winds, rather than blowing inside out. Finally.
£47.95 | Senz
With the smart home actually becoming a ‘thing’, the next problem we’ll no doubt face is how to control all our separate components, without juggling a 100 different apps. While Works with Nest and Apple’s HomeKit are working on the solution, the NEEO is actually much simpler and has the ability to work with anything. The futuristic looking, aluminium and glass clad remote wouldn’t look out of place on the Enterprise and has the design chops to make even Apple stand up and take note. Along with the remote, is the ‘Brain’ which connects to your home network and learns everything you’ve got hooked up, from your TV, to your Sonos and even your Hue bulbs and Nest Thermostat, you can then control everything with one device.
£329 | NEEO
Coolbox - Advanced toolbox
If you though there would be little to reinvent on the toolbox, you’d be wrong. The Coolbox is the toolbox of the 21st century, packed to bursting with tech. There’s an integrated battery that powers dual USB ports for charging, a Bluetooth speaker for pumping out some tunes while you’re working and sockets for all your power tools. Carrying is made easy thanks to wheels and durable handles, while an LED flood light on the front lets you get stuff done after dark. There’s even a whiteboard for jotting down notes and a magnetic panel for catching screws.
$199 | Coolbox - Advanced toolbox
Moment iPhone case
The iPhone is one of, if not the best, phone to take pictures with, thanks to a sharp sensor, awesome low light performance and plenty of editing features. But it’s still a long way off feeling like a dedicated camera. Moment is looking to change that with its Case, a cover for the iPhone 6 that adds in a bunch of features photo junkies will love. First off there’s the improved grip, which juts out out just like a typical CSC or DSLR. There’s also a strap clasp, so you can keep your phone out at all times, in the hope of catching the perfect shot. There’s a two stage shutter button on the top that works with the Moment app, giving you more control and a clever lens interface that makes it easy to clip on one of Moment’s lenses.
$69.99 | Moment
Now, these look ridiculously awesome. While we’ve seen a few attempts to add tech into skiing and snowboarding goggles, the results have been mixed. We took Oakley’s Airwaves 1.5, for example, out for a ride, but found them unreliable and bulky. The RideOn though does things a bit different, adding augmented reality layers to your vision and it looks very impressive. It’ll connect up to your smartphone and beam maps, challenges and more right into your eyeballs and you control everything just by looking at it. The goggles will even calculate how long you’re going to be waiting to board a ski lift. Up front there’s an HD camera, while the panel you see has a 3x larger viewable space than Google Glass, so plenty of room for lots of information.
$599 | RideOn
While Polaroid was once a thing, recent attempts to bring back on-the-go printing haven’t been all that successful. But, Pyrnt might just be the product to turn that around. The case works with any iOS or Android device, which is a a great boast to kick things off with, and lets you print shots off instantly, whether it’s a picture you’ve just taken or one you’ve got saved.
$139 | Prynt
This clever device uses the energy of your motion to recharge any device with a USB port. It's a bit like those watches that turn your wrist movement into kinetic energy. Walk 10,000 steps, cycle for an hour or run for 30 minutes and it will recharge three hours worth of battery life on a smartphone. Cheapest Kickstarter bid is US$75 so not too bad for the pocketable device.
$99 | AMPY
Commuting can be a miserable experience, especially when it comes to getting a bike on a train. Luckily there is the Ion SmartScooter, an easy to carry device (weighs 26lbs) for gliding around the city on two wheels. It can manage 17 miles on a single charge of the lithium ion battery at speeds up to 15mph.
$679 | Glion Electric Scooter
Salt ─ Keyless entry for your phone
For anyone who wants a little extra security but without having to enter in a pin code every time they want to use their phone, Salt's keyless entry card is the answer. It basically unlocks your device when you are within 10-feet, saving you the hassle. Walk away and your phone locks as usual. It is the size and shape of a credit card so you can just put it in your wallet and works with an easy to use app.
$20 | SALT
One of the worst bits of working away from home is you end up losing the dual or sometimes triple-screen experience and the productivity it provides. Fortunately the Packed Pixels Kickstarter attaches to a laptop, giving you two extra 9.7-inch screens in total. As it only weighs 340g total, it's light enough to go into a laptop bag or your luggage. Plugs into any Thunderbolt, DisplayPort or MiniDisplayPort laptop.
£160 | Packed Pixels
Atlas calls itself 'the first fitness tracker' which isn't strictly true. But its maker believes that it deserves this moniker as it identifies what workout you are doing, evaluates your form and will even count your reps for you. It's like having a personal trainer without the massive inferiority complex that inevitably goes along with this. Oh, and it will also measure heart rate as well as working with many a fitness app that's out there too. And, looks wise, it definitely gets our vote.
$249 | Atlas
While Oculus Rift has the VR headset market all sewn up before it is even launched, there is still plenty of space for headsets that offer an experience that strips out the virtual and focuses much more on the reality. This is what the Avegant Glyph is promising. It's a personal movie theatre that immerses you in the film, offering a 45-degree image to bathe your eyes in. The Glyph is packed with DLP (digital light processing) technology and while it may look like your headphones have slipped from your head over your eyes the results, according to those who have tried it at CES 2013, are incredible.
$599 | AVEGANT
When you name your product Ninja Sphere, it better be something to shout about. This future-styled gadget offers a way into the internet of things that is actually cool. It allows you to control your home's environment by monitoring things like temperature, lighting and energy usage. Hook it up to your home via a smart plug and it will tell you through an app if you have forgotten to turn off a light or if someone has been rummaging in your fridge.
$249 | Ninja Blocks