By James O'Malley Last updated
Miniaturisation is a key part of the march of progress. Only by managing to cram more and more tiny transistors onto microchips will processing power increase, and only by making components more portable will we ever be able to squeeze them into phones. And one upshot of this continuous march is that lots of other gadgets are getting smaller too. Perhaps almost too small, in fact. Here's our pick of ten ridiculously small gadgets, to demonstrate.
The headphone socket on your phone is more versatile than you might think - it can also be a temperature sensor. Thermodo is a tiny lump of plastic with a 3.5mm jack on the end, that when plugged in will make your phone look a little like an old-school phone with antenna poking out. Simply plug it in and load the Thermodo app (which is available for both iOS and Android) and it'll start monitoring the temperature.
The app will even keep a log of your recordings, and will visualise the heat on screen. When not in use, you can simply clip it on to your keychain, ready to plug into your phone whenever you need a reading.
SanDisk Ultra 200 GB microSDXC Memory Card
Technology is amazing. We all know that computers used to be the size of rooms, but it isn't quite so long ago that to store 200GB of data, you'd still need something the size of a small hard disc. Amazingly, SanDisk have managed to miniaturise even more and have now managed to squeeze 200GB of storage onto a single MicroSD card. That's big enough to store the entirety of the text of Wikipedia more than twice… on storage the side of a fingernail.
If you fancy yourself as the ultimate high-tech spy, or perhaps just want something cool to show off, then how about a tiny drone? And we mean seriously small: the Axis Vidius is just 4.3cm by 4.3cm by 2.5cm and is a tiny quadcopter that comes with a built in camera.
Like larger drones, it can record or stream video up to 100 feet away. It can even perform 360 degree flips if you want to get into aerobatics. The best bit? All it needs is 20 minutes USB charging to get 5-7 minutes of flight - much faster than a big drone!
Have you ever wished that you could print stuff directly from your phone onto a tiny printer that you can carry around in your bag? Us neither, but we can't help but be impressed by DroPrinter. Perhaps the spiritual successor to Nintendo's Game Boy Printer, it connects to your phone via bluetooth and uses thermal printing - the same technology used in printing till receipts. So no need to change ink cartridges, and it can be loaded with thermal paper bought from any normal big-box store.
GoPro Hero4 Session
GoPro cameras are already an ultra-portable way of ensuring that you capture every moment - but the company has recently taken thing a step further and shaved off even more millimeters in creating the Hero4 Session.
50% smaller and 40% lighter than the Hero4 Black, the Session is in itself waterproof - eliminating the need for any waterproof housing, and can shoot in 1080p at 60fps, as well as 720p at 120fps. It can also shoot 8MP still photos individually, on a timelapse, or in burst mode too.
Unlike other cheaper GoPros, it also retains Wi-Fi and bluetooth, making it easy to transfer footage to your phone or other devices. Not bad at all.
While no one has quite managed to invent Google for real life just yet, Tile at least takes us a step closer towards answering the question “where did I leave my keys?”. Simply attach this tiny bluetooth slab to your keychain, your wallet or your dog and when they go missing, you can use the app on your phone to hunt them down by triggering it to play a tune. It even works in reverse - so if you lose your phone, but have your tile on your keyring, you can make your phone shout instead.
What's also clever is that if Tile becomes ubiquitous, it will work even better as when you run the Tile app it will also pick up other Tile devices within range, even if they don't belong to you - and will securely report their position back to the rightful owner (without revealing any of your details).
Innoo QY11 Bluetooth Earbuds
There's no need to worry about getting tangled up with these bluetooth earbuds from Innoo. Compatible with any modern phone that supports bluetooth headphones, perhaps most brilliantly they support connecting to two devices at once - so no need to re-pair if you want to switch from listening on your phone to, say, listening to the TV. There's a built in 90mAh battery, which should give 7-8 hours of listening time, and around 180 hours of stand-by time.
MicroUSB to lightning adapter
As much as we love Apple, it sure is annoying that iPhone and iPad use a lightning adapter rather than a more standard MicroUSB. But luckily, this is where this tiny ultra-useful gadget comes in handy. For less than a quid it is possible to buy a little adapter that will easily fit in your wallet, that can plug between your iPhone and a MicroUSB lead, ensuring that you can always get connected.
If you spend a lot of time in water, then this device could mean that you never lose anything at sea ever again. Waterbuoy is a USB-stick sized device that clips to your keychain (or whatever it is you need to not lose). When it detects that it is sinking - boom - like an airbag, it will pop-out and inflate a balloon, to lift your stuff back to the surface. It'll work on anything under 1KG, though sadly won't revive your newly waterlogged iPhone.
Smart IR Remote
It turns out that your iPhone isn't just a temperature sensor (see above), but can also be transformed into a TV remote. Another dongle built for your headphone socket, this will enable you to transmit infrared signals from your phone, essentially transforming it into a universal remote.
It sits almost flat against the top of your phone so will be completely unobtrusive - and will work up to 12m too. No more reaching down the back of the sofa to fish out the remote.