Technology rules our lives. Whether it's the mobile phone gripped in our paws or an addictive iPad, most provide little more than mild entertainment. However, a number of gadgets have been developed that promise not only to get you in shape and have you looking your best in minimum time, but also improve your life.
Nike revolutionised the workout with its Nike+ shoes, a pair of trainers that connects with your iPhone to track performance. Last month, the sportswear brand releases its latest health creation, the Nike+ Sportwatch (1). Touted as the ultimate in fitness accessories for runners, the stylish watch can be used both indoors and out. Gym-goers keep track of time, pace, distance, calories burned and heart rate, while those who prefer to break a sweat on the city streets can ensure their ideal route using the watch's GPS technology. As with the brand's previous fitness gadgets, the watch connects to nikeplus.com and a team of medical experts will analyse your performance through various maps and charts, while constantly setting new goals. Think of it as a personal trainer attached to your wrist.
Hydration is crucial to any workout, but with the bottled water market robbing wallets and cramming landfills, eco- and cost-conscious fitness fans are left with little choice but to drink murky tap water. No more; the Bobble Bottle (above) is a water bottle that filters as you drink. Made from recycled plastic, the flask has an activated carbon filter built into its drinking lid; simply fill it up, screw on the top and the Bobble separates any pollutants. Each filter lasts about two months, and Bobble prices range from US$9-US$13.
Being healthy isn't all about breaking a sweat though. For those who spend hours typing away on a rigid piece of plastic, Smartfish Technologies has released the ErgoMotion Keyboard (2). Using its patented Dynamic Positioning Controller, this intelligent keyboard stands out from your regular typers through its pivot-motion design. The ErgoMotion can track every stroke, slowly changing its angle over time. The subtle movement of the keyboard increases blood flow in your hands and wrists, while reducing discomfort.
The company has also produced an ergonomic mouse with a swivel mechanism for designers and other habitual users who want to keep the dreaded carpal tunnel claw at bay. The keyboard sells for US$150, while the mouse retails for US$50.
Panasonic's latest camera is one gadget designed with women in mind. The Lumix FX77 (3) includes all the standard features from the point-and-shoot series - 12.1 megapixels, 3.5-inch touchscreen display, 5x optical zoom - but with the female-friendly addition of an onboard make-up studio. Never again will you have to indulge in a quick Photoshop touch-up before that all-important Facebook upload; simply take a photo sans product and the camera offers a variety of options to virtually paint your face, from rouge and mascara to lipstick. It retails for US$400.
Airbrushing is nothing new in the world of beauty, but most systems to date have been considered too bulky and expensive for consumer use. Temptu's Airbrush (4) is a lightweight system that offers professional make-up application in just a few minutes. Insert one of Temptu's make-up pods into the machine, hold the ray gun-like airbrush a few centimetres from your face and spray away. In minutes, you'll have flawless make-up that can be applied effortlessly every day. It retails for US$315.
Follow it up with Evolv's Sidekick (5), which claims to be the first heated, sunless airbrush tanning system.
Taking a short half-hour to apply, the Sidekick uses a two-step process: a flow of heat opens up the pores and prepares the skin for application, before a controlled mist of vitamin-enriched tanning liquid is sprayed evenly onto your skin. Price has yet to be determined, but expect it to be considerably more convenient than visiting a tanning salon.