5 Mini-Gadgets That Will Change Your Life

Published on November 18, 2022

Here’s our run-through of five incredible tiny gadgets with super powers that will blow your mind!

It has been 10 years since Microsoft demonstrated a real-time translation of English into Mandarin Chinese live on stage in China. It was an astonishing scene, a remarkable demonstration of how technology might overcome language difficulties. At the time, it felt like Douglas Adams’ mythical Babel Fish (a universal translator from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) would become a reality in just a couple of years. We’d be able to comprehend distant countries’ languages just by putting something into our ears.

NewYes Scan Reader Pen 3 PRO

The NewYes Scan Reader Pen 3 PRO is priced at £157.80

Even though we still have a long way to go, we are taking baby steps toward that dream. For a while now, Skype has been translating conversations in real-time, and there are a few devices that translate spoken words on the fly. One of those devices is the Scan Reader Pen 3 PRO marker pen. From Arabic to Vietnamese, pick a spoken and translated language from a list of 112, say a few words, and in a few seconds, you’ll hear the translation spoken and see it on the screen.

It is a scanner and a translator, as its name implies. Swipe a line of printed text in 55 languages (including Japanese, vertical swiping permitted) and listen to them read back, have them translated into a different language, or save them in text format for a computer or mobile device import. You may swipe at a fast pace (up to 3,000 characters per minute with 98 percent accuracy, if true), and it will provide Chinese and English definitions for words if you need them.

Although it has just four language pairs, this pen can translate between English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean – so long as you connect it to your smartphone, which will instantly give you access to all languages. The NewYes Scan Reader Pen 3 PRO is an exceptionally effective little gadget. It raised more than £157,000 on crowdfunding earlier this year, no doubt as a result of its excellent performance.

Positive Grid Spark MINI

The MINI by Positive Grid is $199. Image: PositiveGrid

My first guitar amp, a 10W Yamaha device that my parents bought for me in 1988, sounded awful. It was recorded when I was embarrassed by it. The 10W Spark MINI sounds lovely in contrast. You can connect it with a smartphone, select any style or effect you desire, and adjust it to your preference. With the app, you may also pick any song from your streaming library (Spotify or Apple Music), read the chords as they play (not always accurate, but close), and display them for you to see.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4

The Samsung Galaxy Z is a £999 flip phone. Image: Galaxy

The Galaxy Z Flip4 is proof that foldable phones have improved tremendously over the decades, as the first models had substandard performance, bad design, or would simply break down. It resembles the clamshell phones of yesteryear, with a fast Snapdragon chip, a 6.7-inch OLED screen, wide and ultra-wide 12-megapixel cameras, and a whole range of shooting options, but it’s a lot better than those old phones. Sure, the screen has a “crease,” but the on-screen image is barely affected. It’s also twice as thick when folded, so it is rather bulky in the pocket, but that’s what happens when you fold things in half. Cute, cutting-end, capable. It’s the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 for £999.

QuietOn 3.1 Sleep Buds

£249 is the price for QuietOn 3.1 sleep buds. Image: QuietOn

With hundreds of wireless earbuds to choose from at every price point, QuietOn is one of the few that doesn’t play music. It’s a whisper-quiet experience, and with a little push and a turn they weigh just 1.8g and fit unobtrusively into your ear. These earplugs are cushioned with foam, and the built-in Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) handles unwanted noise. When you remove the ANC gently activates after about 20 seconds. Put QuietOn 3.1 sleep buds, £249 to bed and you will feel like you’re approaching serenity after only 20 seconds or so.

Ticktime Cube

At $32, Ticktime Cube is fantastic value for money. Image: Ticktime/Kickstarter

In April 2020, Ticktime, a timer that beeped when a preset amount of time had elapsed, raised $500,000 on a crowdfunding platform. The original Ticktime, which was well-liked, was an easy-to-use timer that sat on the table, facing upwards (3, 15, 10, 15, 25 or 30 minutes), and bleeped when the time had elapsed.

The Cube is a successor of the original, retaining the simple nature that made it a favorite, but incorporating a variety of improvements, including a timer for the Pomodoro time management technique (work for 25 minutes, rest for five minutes). An excellent kitchen or desk accessory, the Ticktime Cube is also a pocket-sized reminder not to waste your life away.



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