Reviewed: Gadget Show Professional Live 2014

posted on Friday, 11th April 2014 by David Slater

Trade  Events 

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The Gadget Show Professional is something of a guilty pleasure. A trade only day before the main consumer-facing Gadget Show throws open its doors, it offers an early look at cool tech like the incredible VR headset Oculus Rift along with a mix of forward-looking audio-visual products. For custom installers, the event is probably only of peripheral interest, but if you want to satisfy your inner nerd, it's the place to be.

Fittingly, robotics attracted big crowds. Active Robots had its cute research and learning droid, the NAO (pictured above), doing stand duty. This little fella is packed full of technology, with an Intel Atom CPU for a heart and tactile sensors in its head, not to mention a Full HD camera, speakers and infra red sensors. On chatting to the people at Active Robots it's clear to see this is not a toy and is actively being used in universities and schools. Students are developing room navigation and object recognition applications; with a Visual Programming Software package the robot can also be programmed to do simple tasks. The NAO retails for £5,760.

Moving across the hall to sample some music, we came across Libratone, a Scandinavian outfit with some very designer speakers. One of our favorites in the range is the wireless streaming £399 Libratone Loop (below), which challenges design convention with its unique disc shape. Changeable wool covers mean you can funk up the Loop's look to match your décor, and it can be either free standing or wall mounted.

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UK hi-fi specialist Monitor Audio (above) had a comprehensive array of lifestyle and audiophile box speakers on display. The Platinum range of speakers looked particularly stunning in ebony real wood veneer, while the brand's room set was used to showcase the SoundFrame 1 speakers. Everything you need to produce a great sounding cinema room, infact.

Another product which (literally) caught our eye was an invention called Bike HUD from Bike Systems, shown above. This is a British designed and built device that offers all the information riders want, including satnav and safety camera alerts right where you need it, in the helmet. The Bike HUD (below) is the first head-up display available for bikers; the in-helmet display communicates speed, engine revs, gear selection and more, using clear graphics, colour and sound. Priced at £397 it's not a bad deal. We were told there will be options for a Sat-nav and safety camera adds on in the future.

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Inevitably, Heath and fitness preoduct were high up the gadget chart at the show and one company looking good was Fitbit, with a wide range of armbands and small devices (pictured above) which monitor activity and welfare. We love the Flex, which is like a Nike fuel band but around £50 cheaper. This slim, stylish device is with you all the time. During the day, it tracks steps, distance, and calories burned. A dashboard reveals how long you slept and the number of times you woke up! Flex also has a silent wake alarm that gently vibrates to wake you at your desired time, which is rather cool.

All things considered, the Gadget Show Professional seemed slightly smaller this year, but the madness factor was undiminished. Ultimately we rate it worth a visit.

For more on Monitor Audio's product portfolio, visit our partner page here.

Also read:
Reviewed: Sound & Vision Bristol Show 2014

ISE Amsterdam 2014: The installer's viewpoint

In-depth: Datasat Digital Entertainment tour

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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