10 brilliant new gadgets and apps you've never heard of

10 cool new technologies coming soon
A bike helmet with a heads-up display? Sign us up!

Think you know all the cool gadgets that are coming out soon? Think again. Thanks to crowd-funding, 3D printing and cheap manufacturing in China, we're seeing a lot more hardware start-ups coming up with interesting new devices.

Several of our favourite products at the DEMO conference in Silicon Valley this month were the kind of hardware you used to need to be an established company to tackle, only coming from tiny new companies.

The hardware will take a few months to make it to the market, but some of these intriguing apps and services should be available much sooner.

1. NuRoast


The freshest coffee is made with the beans you roast yourself. But that's tricky to do right - and anyway, where do you get good green coffee beans?

NuRoast is going to make an induction coffee roaster that you pop a sealed can of selected coffee beans into. The can has internal fins that heat and stir the beans in the digitally-controlled roaster.

Each can comes with a list of flavour profiles to get different styles of roast: just tap in the one you like the sound of and the same beans will come out with a different flavor.

Do we want it?

We taste-tested the prototype and you can taste the difference between profiles, but $175 on Indiegogo makes this one for coffee afficionados

2. Picrition


Need some encouragement to eat more healthily? Snap a photo of everything you eat and let this social network rate you (anonymously) as a junk food junkie or a smart snacker.

Do we want it?

Food diaries are a great tool, but unless you pay extra, the people looking at your photos won't be nutrition experts (and a photo doesn't give you a calorie count). You'll have to do most of the work yourself, but Pictrition could still give you a boost.

3. Skully


This Android-powered motorcycle helmet has a rear-view camera that you see in a transparent heads-up display courtesy of the prism in the helmet. It can also show you a navigation and let you answer the phone or choose music to play using voice control.

Do we want it?

Yes! Getting approval for something potentially distracting might be tricky but one of the team used to design heads-up displays for fighter pilots, so there's experience of dealing with safety concerns.

4. SnoopWall


There are plenty of antivirus tools for Android, but SnoopWall aims to protect your devices from the threats you let in yourself.

When it launches, SnoopWall will tell you whether the app you've downloaded and given permissions to really needs to have access to your camera, microphone and address book when it's just a flashlight. (Yes, we know you know you should check permissions every time, but who really does that?)

Do we want it?

With so much malware about for Android, SnoopWall could be a quick way of getting better protection. We don't think you'll need the iOS or Windows Phone versions as much.

5. Proximity Platform

Proximity Platform

The easiest way of sharing a file with someone sitting next to you is still sticking it on a USB drive. The NewAer Share app will let you share a file from Android, iOS, Mac OS and Windows so anyone in the same place can grab it.

NewAer built Share and its Android ToothTag app (which saves your location when the Bluetooth in your car turns off, because that usually means you've parked it) to demonstrate their Proximity Platform, which uses Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC to find devices in the same place as you but it's still useful.

Do we want it?

There's no security but for getting a file to a friend, Share will be easier than uploading to a cloud service and having to remember to delete it later.


Mary (Twitter, Google+, website) started her career at Future Publishing, saw the AOL meltdown first hand the first time around when she ran the AOL UK computing channel, and she's been a freelance tech writer for over a decade. She's used every version of Windows and Office released, and every smartphone too, but she's still looking for the perfect tablet. Yes, she really does have USB earrings.