By Jim Hill
Bonjour le smart tech!
Earlier this year, T3 travelled to Paris to sample the latest things to join the Internet Of Things at Connected Conference 2016.
The French are certainly keeping the smart tech innovation fires burning, with a plethora of typically idiosyncratic gadgets that have a certain je ne sais quoi.
Areas covered by these smart gadgets include such French obsessions as smoking, tennis, swimming pool cleanliness and the great smell of freshly-baked baguettes. There's also a great app and accessory for budding DJs keen to play the latest waxings from Daft Punk, Phoenix and, I dunno, Jean-Michel Jarre or whatever.
These devices are all either here now or coming soon, and even post-Brexit, Brits will be allowed to purchase them, albeit probably at something of a mark-up.
Possibly coming next: British IoT products for the weather, tea-making and having fights in metropolitan shopping areas on a Friday night.
Enovap connected e-cigarette
Smoking is not cool, kids, even if French cinema has largely existed, since its birth, to suggest the opposite.
What's for sure is that with all the crazy designs and fancy flavours you get with e-cigarettes, vaping is the very antithesis of cool. Until now.
The French have come up with this trés chic smartphone-shaped smart vape. It lets you precisely control the level of nicotine with a simple button which combines two separate vapourisers, only one of which contains liquid nicotine. We're not quite sure what the other one contains.
Enovap also features a clever companion app to record and control the level of nicotine being dispensed, and can even gradually reduce it automatically. You can study the data on your phone and set your own targets of course, but the system was developed with doctors to help us quit.
Perhaps, in that csase, they shouldn't have made the leather-clad device look so socially acceptable. You can even choose the colour and have the real leather emblazoned with a personal message. Available Jan 2017.
€139 | Available for pre-order
DJiT Mixfader wireless crossfader
Due to its uniquely tactile nature, the crossfader remains the one piece of hardware in the DJs arsenal that stubbornly refuses to be replaced by a tablet and app. This one, however, can be connected wirelessly to its companion app and two virtual turntables to create a part virtual, part physical DJing setup.
It's the first piece of hardware from music software specialists, DJiT and the first fully wireless fader. The Edjing Scratch app is pretty impressive, but what amazed us during our personal demo by DJ Ranek, was the lack of latency. A breakthrough with the Bluetooth technology used by DJiT made his virtual turntable scratching look and sound like real live turntabalism.
Incidentally, Mixfader also works with actual decks, so long as they're timecoded. However, the beauty of this innovation is that it allows DJs to travel with one pocket-sized bar of aluminium in their pocket. You'll soon be cutting, scratching and mixing like Grandmaster Flash, or Dr Fox.
€129 | Buy Mixfader
Sensorwake Scent Clock
Would you rather be woken by the sweet smell of freshly baked croissants, or manic beeping? Studies suggest, unsurprisingly, the former is both preferably and less stressful, which has given rise to the olfactory alarm clock.
The 19-year-old CEO and creator of Sensorwake from Nantes unveiled his prototype at a Google Science fair and will resume shipping the perfected scent clock in November, after the initial run all sold out.
The deceptively simple design has a digital clock display floating within a cube that gently wafts the aroma towards you at a preset time using a small fan.
The smell comes from a cartridge that slots into the top and you can choose from seven scents synthesized by another French company. We were treated to a demo scent called Seaside, which smelled more like ice cream to us than fish and seaweed and we were assured that Bacon is an option under development especially for les Anglos.
€109 | BuySensorwake Scent Clock
Riiot Labs Blue pool analyser
What could look more tempting than a côte d'azure swimming pool? But wait: who knows what horrors could lurk within those waters?
Rather than jump right in, we'll let the Blue sensor from Riiot Labs go first. Bobbing about in the 'eau', it analyses the chlorine content, salinity (or 'saltiness', if you prefer. Urine contains salt. Just sayin'), acidity/alkalinity and, more prosaically, the temperature.
Data is then whammed to your smartphone via Bluetooth. It also supports Sigfox connectivity; a low-energy alternative to overloading your home wi-fi network.
€390 | Pre-order Riiot Labs Blue pool analyser
Tikaway connected camera glasses
It's fun to share, as we know from Facebook, Katie Hopkins, ISIS, et al.
Now, with a camera built into your glasses and connected to a live streaming social app, you can share literally everything you see. Maybe don't leave the full HD camera ALL the time, but posting your POV while exploring and experiencing unique events has never been easier.
Thanks to the app, operation is hands-free and you can edit before you upload, while storing 16GB of data on the glasses themselves.
Google Glass was widely disliked for its 'invasive' built-in cam, but Tikaway's specs look much less threatening and more discreet. And surely even the angriest, privacy-obsessed stranger wouldn't punch a person in geek-chic glasses?
PIQ Babolat POP tennis training sensor
The French love a spot of 'le tennis' almost as much as they love connected tech. Et voila: here's a wearable sensor to hone your tennis skills this summer.
POP measures not just your swing speed, but the spin and style of your stroke too, using the same tech found in PIQ's golf swing analyser. In fact the idea is that you can buy one sensor and then add accessories for each sport, so the wristband here is made by tennis brand Babolat.
As well as showing your stroke statistics on the wristband display and your smartphone, POP adds another competitive and addictive element. By combining these figures, you get a single 'skill rating' to share and compare with other PIQ users. So even a practice rally can get competitive.
As well as tennis and golf, there are also PIQ accessories either available or imminent for skiiing and, er, kite boarding.
Oh, and as a final French touch, while they will ship to New Zealand, the USA and Reunion Island, they don't do the UK, so you'll have to go over to Calais to pick one up.
€149 | Browse PIQ products.
NodOn NIU smart button
Smart buttons are great. They give a simple wireless shortcut for an IoT action, making things happen with a single click.
Amazon Dash may have been the first, but where it simply re-orders a preset product from Amazon, the NIU can be programmed to perform any digital task for which you would otherwise need your phone. You can set it up to take a remote selfie, for example, or secretly press it to call your own phone for an excuse to get out of a boring conversation. With the integration of IFTTT, you can rope in other smart devices, such as your Philips Hue lighting.
Who would have thought that one small rubber button could potentially do so much?
€24.92 | Buy NodOn NIU
Hydrao eco-sensitive smart shower
This frugal showerhead gradually changes from a tranquil blue backlight to an angry flashing red as you waste more and more water. The aim is to make you aware of your water usage and hence help reduce your energy and water bills.
Sensors in the showerhead detect how much water has passed through and adjust the coloured LEDs as limits are passed. At 50 litres, it starts flashing to subtly suggest that perhaps it's time you finished your damn shower.
The shiny chrome showerhead simply screws onto your existing setup, while the free app allows you to choose your own colour scheme. It also keeps a tally of your daily ablutions so you can see how much of nature's precious resource you have squandered in an attractive graph.
Now simply insert a joke about Frenchmen and washing and this feature is done. Au revoir!