Herdl At The Gadget Show Live!

Herdl recently spent the day at the Gadget Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham – for research purposes, you understand.

The Gadget Show Live is the UK’s biggest consumer tech event and provides technology fans with the opportunity to glimpse into the ultra high definition future, as well as the chance to buy some of the newest and coolest tech on the market. The National Exhibition Centre was entirely transformed for the 6-day event, with five enormous halls connected as one to create a giant tech-junkie’s mega-paradise! With our official show guide in hand (including promotional batteries free of charge – there’s a pun in there somewhere) we were well-equipped to explore.

We also enjoyed the Gadget Show’s Live Show, an hour and a half long show celebrating the Gadget Show’s 10th Anniversary. This saw the presenters, Jason, Rachel, Otis and Jon alongside some really impressive guests to showcase the technological milestones since the show started in 2004. Of course, the show wouldn’t be the same without audience participation – read: selfies, a £3,500 prize draw (which we sadly didn’t win) and impressive high-octane stunts performed by the team, with the exception of Jon who’s stunt appeared to be sitting in a hot tub.

We left feeling thoroughly impressed with the multitude of gadgets on offer, whilst some are sure to add value to our lives, others left us questioning our sanity! Here’s a roundup of the team’s experiences from the day.


Name one idea you wish you’d come up with that you have seen at the Gadget Show:

For me, this has to be Shapify. These guys have come up with some really clever software which allows you to 3D scan and then 3D print yourself using an Xbox Connect. It’s no secret that 3D printing is a particular tech interest for me anyway after I studied lots of different additive manufacturing methods during my Masters. However, you may not know that in 2011 I won the Prospect IP Award for a very similar business idea to Shapify. I think these guys have got a great application using technology that is growing and growing in popularity. I can’t wait for the day when we all have 3D printers in our homes!

Favourite moment from the day:

The boys face when he won the £3,500 prize at the end of the Gadget Show Live Show. The prize consisted of all the latest and coolest gadgets and even once he had had time to come down from the audience and join the presenters on stage, he still hadn’t closed his mouth from the sheer disbelief!

What is your biggest tech regret?

This is an easy one! I went to the show wanting to take a look at some of the wearable fitness gadgets on offer such as JawBone, Fitbit and Nike+ Fuelband. I was hugely impressed by the Fitbit in terms of look, ease of use and functionality. The key elements for me were:

– It’s completely waterproof, so can be worn in the shower or taken swimming
– Auto syncs with your phone via Bluetooth
– Beautiful looking dashboard with plenty of information to track my health from diet to sleep pattern.

I bought the gadget at the show and eagerly went through the set up steps when I got home that evening. However, within the space of 48 hours the Fitbit was no longer connecting properly with my phone and seemed to have ran out of battery (it should have had a 5 day battery life). After going through the reset procedure and after much testing I was disappointed to find that my Fitbit had completely broken. To top it all off, Fitbit doesn’t seem to have a very straight forward support or returns policy.

I’m genuinely disappointed as I really thought that the Fitbit was a great bit of tech – big regrets!


What was your favourite gadget from this year’s 2014 show?

I think in terms of it’s capabilities and how popular this was at the gadget show, I’d have to say the virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift. In the live show, a lady was brought up onto the stage to try out the Oculus Rift. The virtual reality headset allows you to seamlessly look around in your virtual world as though it is real life – unfortunately for the lady, her virtual world consisted of her having to walk the plank over a huge drop. She was terrified, I felt so sorry for her! However, it was also hilarious and this gadget seemed to represent the type of technology that we all want to see in the future.

What is the top technological product that you never thought you’d see?

I think one thing I didn’t expect to see was Sam sitting on a tiny, tiny chair that was basically indestructible. It seemed a bit pointless at first, but it highlighted just how powerful materials that we mostly take for granted can be. For example, I really appreciated the work that Move-it (an award-winning company) were doing at the Gadget Show. They are the company inventing immensely strong pieces of cardboard furniture and successfully proving that mass manufacturing can both be stylish, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable.

Name a gadget you saw at the gadget show that you wish you’d invented:

This is a tough question! I think most of the gadgets there anyone would wish they’d invented, they’re all so cool! I know for sure I wouldn’t be able to invent this, but I loved the Volkswagen hybrids/electric cars that were featured there. My brother’s looking at getting one, and so it was cool to see them in person. They’re the future of cars (before we all start teleporting everywhere) so I guess I wish i’d invented that, they’re trying to help the planet! Why wouldn’t you want to invent them?


From the Gadget Show, what is the gadget that caught your attention as something with the most potential for the future?

Oculus Rift is a game changer (literally!). Playing the game, Ether One was a totally immersive experience far beyond my expectation.

Have you got a favourite British invention from the Gadget Show?

Like Ellis, I would have to say I was really impressed with Move-It Products. I loved their reinvention of cardboard as a super-strong waterproof material. This has tons of potential applications, which the inventor has barely touched on. They have already won so many awards and their products are catching the attention of some of the most influential people in retail and design.

What’s your biggest tech regret?

Never thought I’d hear myself say this, as it was the object of ridicule by me and everyone else back in the 1980s, but the Sinclair C5 was a groundbreaking concept that’s been completely undervalued. Unfortunately, it was way too far ahead of it’s time, which was why it was so bad – the technology just wasn’t available to deliver on Sir Clive Sinclair’s vision of eco-friendly personal transport.


What is your favourite highlight from the day?

My highlight would definitely be Robot Wars! As a kid, I was obsessed with it, so getting to see it for real was amazing. I’m not going to complain, but if Kill-a-lot and Hypnodisc had been there, that would’ve been the cherry on top.

Which gadget did you think was the most ground-breaking for the future?

I’m interested in gaming and virtual reality so the Oculus Rift was definitely the most mind blowing. I was already excited about this, but it works even better than I’d imagined. The second you put the headset on you’re totally immersed in the game in a way that seems totally natural. Coming out of it was the weirdest part, it was really disorientating, a bit like waking up mid dream. You can tell that the technology’s not been perfected yet, but with Facebook’s backing It’s safe to assume that this is the future of gaming.

Have you got a favourite British invention from the Gadget Show?

There was a lot to choose from but as everyone at Herdl knows I do have a penchant for a good rubber glove. So I’d have to say that the Sq-easy glove would have to be my fave. A rubber glove is one of those everyday items that nobody (except me) really gets excited about and for that reason, they are rarely developed. Like most people, I thought the rubber glove had probably reached it’s peak in evolution but the guys behind Sq-easy have proved us all wrong! They’ve spotted a gap in the market and developed a product that makes washing up easier… by pumping the liquid through the glove. Genius. Compared to the Oculus Rift it’s not really revolutionary, but if it makes washing up feel hi-tech, I’m onboard!


Which gadget did you think was the most ground-breaking for the future?

For me, the gadget that caught my attention as an outstanding innovation had to be De Montfort University and Renfrew’s artificial pancreas. This invention actually won the 2014 British Inventors Project, so before we arrived I was already eager to learn more about the invention at the show. The device is currently going through medical trials, but has been successfully tested on animals and could mean the end of multiple insulin injections for Diabetes type 1 sufferers. This is truly ground-breaking, a technology that highlights the incredible work that humans can achieve, and will undoubtedly help make life easier for many people in the not-so-distant future.

What is the top technological product that you never thought you’d see?

No ground-breaking technology, but a complete game changer for umbrella etiquette. With the Rainshader umbrella, gone are the days of being pulled down the road by your inside out umbrella, or having to prioritise dry hair over dry clothes. It’s my top technological product because I don’t understand why nobody had ever thought about it before – an umbrella that covers your shoulders! It’s an innovative concept, but surely part of our British appeal are the numerous weather-related stories – so i’ll stick with my umbrella for now.

What is your favourite highlight from the day?

Not tech orientated, but I did have an amazing massage – a professional one, may I add.

It was a great day out, and it’s safe to say the future of technology looks mostly to be wearable – checking our fitbits whilst we relax on our wifi integrated beds and studying at our cardboard desks. That is of course, if we’re not all immersed in our own virtual gaming realities with Oculus Rift!

Have you got a favourite gadget that we haven’t mentioned here?

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