5 crazy things you missed at Gadget Show Live 2013

There are loads of stands at the Gadget Show Live 2013, and while there's a lot of the same thing (seriously, there's only so many ways to clean a screen, people) we wanted to find the hidden gems.

From ways to gentrify felines to balls that create a new reality, we found five of the best things that we looked at and couldn't help but check the wallet to see if we could stretch to buying one or two.

Thankfully for the bank balance, we couldn't, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy the fruits of our intrepid Gadget Show sleuthing.

1. Cat Genie

Cost: Starting at £280

There are so many reasons to love this idea. Firstly, if you've ever owned cats then you'll know the hassle of the smell that signals defecation, then the ignominy of digging for it like a deranged gold-panner to throw it in the bin. For the third time that day.

The Cat Genie takes the hassle out of that, and saves money too by using reusable granules which are washed when the poo is scooped out automatically and flushed away. That's right, it's a toilet for cats.

The only downside is it needs to be plumbed in like a washing machine – easy, but not as good as a tray full of kitty litter.

Plus the fact you have to admit you're a person who has fallen so under the control of a feline houseguest that they bought their cat a flushing toilet. That's hard to come to terms with, no matter how much money you save.

2. Nao the Robot

Cost: Not available commercially

This little robot is brilliant for so many reasons: he can dance to Gangnam style pretty accurately, has a huge range of functionality and can teach children all about robotics.

The guys at Alderbarn Robotics have made Nao as a problem solving machine by chucking on loads of sensors and making it an easily-programmable little guy that encourages children to think about problem-solving in a way that will probably be pretty instrumental to their futures.

Did we mention the Gangnam Style dance? Activated by saying 'Gangnam Style' into Nao's ear? Sure, it fell over a couple of times, but we like that the machine has foibles. It means the uprising is still pretty far away.

3. Honda Miimo

Cost: Starting from £1990

What's better than the smell of freshly-cut grass? The same thing that's been done by a robot, that's what. Unless you have hayfever, in which case it's probably not that different.

Honda's Miimo device works like the Roomba vacuum cleaner by automatically trotting around a defined space and keeping it lovely and trimmed for you. It's neat to watch it trundling around, keeping things all a nice length, and even automatically shutting off if your dog accidentally flips it onto its back.

You do have to bury a boundary wire all around your garden, as well as around things like flower beds you don't want trimmed, which could be a bit of a hassle, and the thing isn't cheap either.

However, you can have your lawns mowed at night with Miimo. That's the future, people.

4. Sphero

Cost: £99


Probably our favourite gadget of the show of the same name – and yes, we've already reviewed Sphero. But that didn't stop it being one of the most popular stands there.

Imagine a ball that can roll around at the command of a smartphone in a similar way to a remote-controlled car; you're probably mentally adding it to the Christmas list for a partner or sibling as you read this.

But pick it up, and it becomes a handheld controller for apps on your iPad, Android tablet or smartphone. And on top of that, you can activate augmented reality mode and through your tablet's camera you can use the ball to attack zombies or turn into a beaver with a shark's fin attached.

OK, it's £99, which is a fair whack for a toy, but when you see the things this thing can do, you'll be picking it up 'for the kids' this year so you can secretly play with it all day long.

5. Canny Caps

Cost: £1.50

This is a simple one: how do you stop wasps getting into your can on a picnic? No, not put a piece of paper over the opening. This isn't 2008.

You get a Canny Cap, which turns your can into a bottle, keeps in the fizz, stops accidental spillage and makes you look BOSS.

Most importantly, it stops wasps. That's right: it's game over for wasps and picnics. Although it does mean you actually have to start having picnics. Oh, and don't drink Red Bull. Canny Caps doesn't fit on those cans.

But did we mention that you won't have to worry about wasps stinging your tongue any more? One of life's biggest problems terminated, right there.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.