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

6. Huetunes


Painting music sounds like synaesthesia, but it's addictively fun in practice. You pick an instrument from the HueTunes "keyboard" and draw lines and shapes with it. When the "tracker" dots bouncing across the screen hit what you've drawn, the instrument plays.

You can draw in multiple instruments and create your own tracks across the picture to play the instruments in the right order at the right time.

Do we want it?

Fun music for people who can't play an instrument (though perhaps not enough control for those who can). The first five instruments are free - and enough to get you hooked.

7. Magisto


Turn all those photos and videos you've taken into a stylish short video with music and fun transitions that you can share with friends.

There are dozens of editing tools but the nice thing about Magisto is that it uses some clever artificial intelligence to find the interesting bits and skip the boring stuff.

It runs in the cloud so you can do it from your phone: just pick some content and a style, and wait about five minutes. By the end of 2013, the Magisto apps for iOS and Android will automatically create video clips for all your content.

Do we want it?

You can't tweak the results but Magisto is pretty good at picking the good bits and turning your content into something your friends will want to watch without much effort on your part. You take all those photos and videos on your phone, so why not do something with them?

8. BedScales

If you don't like wearing a sleep tracker on your wrist and you hate weighing yourself, but you'd like to sleep better and maybe lose a few pounds, BedTracker is a gadget from the UK that will be on Kickstarter soon for $250.

You put the four pads under the legs of your bed and it weighs you every night (deducting the weight of the bed) and keeps track of your sleep patterns. Eventually it will be able to track two people at once and mail you advice like "you sleep better when the room isn't too warm and you've been for a long walk."

Do we want it?

This is a clever two-in-one idea that will work best when you hook up other information like your FitBit data, your food diary and a NetAtmo sensor that checks temperature and air quality - so it's quite a commitment.

9. Signtologin


Forget about hard-to-remember, easy-to-hack passwords. How about signing in to your email or Amazon account with something you can't forget, that's uniquely yours - and that no one is going to threaten to chop off?

You sign your name pretty much the same way every time, but it's never exactly the same, so it's both unique and hard to copy (because a too-perfect copy is likely to be a fake).

Signtologin is building a system to let you log in to your accounts with your real-world signature, which would be a very familiar balance of convenience and security.

Do we want it?

Nice idea, if they can get enough sites to sign on

10. Ve-Go hotel check-in


Instead of waiting in a queue at the hotel reception, how about being able to check in from your phone while you're still in the taxi from the airport - and picking your own room from what's available? And then checking out from your phone when you leave?

Ve-Go is building an iOS app that will work with hotel chains like Marriot and Four Seasons to check in, check out, see your hotel bill and book your next stay.

Do we want it?

Ve-Go only works with hotels that use the right property management system and until hotels switch to NFC (and Apple puts NFC in the iPhone) you'll still need to pick up your room key. It will take a while to happen, but hotel check-in by phone will get you enjoying your holiday faster by skipping the queue.


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.