The Volocopter is one of the world’s first passenger drones to take to the skies and can be operated by a pilot or fly on its own. The unique-looking aircraft has a joystick and runs entirely on electricity. The immediate benefits of the Volocopter are striking: bye-bye turbulence, annoying fellow flyers and airport queues; hello to a whole new way of travelling. To explain it, Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter says they’ve pretty much traded in the entire mechanical complexity of today’s helicopters for electronic complexity, which is more lightweight and cost-effective. The Volocopter has undergone many test flights in Duba, where it’s hoped to become part of a commercial pilot programme in the early 2020s. The downside? So far it’s able to fly for only half an hour at a time, or for 27km, at a speed of 50km/h – so it’s only for short trips for now.
If sensational sound quality is a priority for you, these Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones are worth an audition. The design is strikingly industrial. Its layered metal-and-plastic headband construction attenuates vibrations to the ear cups while the handmade microfibre ear pads offer real comfort for long periods of listening. What’s more, Sennheiser’s absorber technology prevents any unwanted peaks and allows all frequency components – even the finest nuances – in the music material to become audible.
Apple everything – we know, we know… But, in fact, the Google Pixelbook is a pretty slick four-in-one design (laptop, tablet, tent and entertainment modes) notebook with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage, and up to 10 hours’ battery life. At just 10,3mm thin, it’s a MacBook Air rival, and has Google Assistant built in. The Assistant can be accessed talking, typing or circling with your Pixelbook Pen. Which brings us to the smart, responsive pen: with virtually no lag, tilt-support and pressure sensitivity, it feels natural, like a pen on paper. The Pixelbook runs on Chrome OS, so it’s browser-based and cloud-powered, and boots up in seconds – all very good things. Not yet in South Africa, so get online to place your order.
Audio for outside? What if there’s no Wi-Fi? Build it in. What if it gets wet? Make sure it’s water-resistant. No power source? Design it so it offers 50 hours of playing time. That’s what the Kube designers – they call themselves audiophiles – did. They devised a portable speaker to play sound beautifully in large outdoor spaces. It delivers an astounding 122dB output.
Developments in 3-D printing continue to change the world, and the potential seems to be limitless. Businesses with large budgets were once the only ones able to benefit from 3-D printing, but now the technology has brought easy-to-use, consumer-friendly models to market. Not sure if you need one? Google it –you’ll be surprised how much they can do. Once you know you do want one, pick the BeeVeryCreative by BeeTheFirst. It’s a model with both print quality and actual design in mind – a machine that really wouldn’t look out of place in a modern living room.
If you’re not yet done with innovation, read about the latest in watchmaking from the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH) show floor.