Stand out from the crowd

A crowdfunded gift means you can get away with last-minute shopping as late as 11pm on Christmas Eve. Lucy Hedges picks her top five projects sure to raise a smile this Yuletide


There have been many attempts to produce a Minority Report-style laser-projected keyboard but none have quite hit the nail on the head when it comes to seamless usability. iKeybo claims to be the most advanced on the planet, transforming any flat surface into a virtual keyboard that can be used with any Bluetooth or USB device. As well as throwing up a portable keyboard, it also wants you to tickle the digital ivories of its projected piano via its dedicated music app. Considering keyboards rank among bacteria’s top holiday destinations, it’s hygienic too. Unless you project its keys on to a dustbin lid.

From £63.84, (due May 2017)


Looking like the result of an ill-advised night between a SNES and a Gameboy, the Raspi Pi handheld game console provides you with everything you need to build your very own retro emulation and rediscover a few vintage game classics. Don’t let the DIY element put you off, its creators say the Raspberry Pi Zero-based kit can be put together in five minutes like a puzzle, minus the soldering, with an easy tutorial PDF and video. The kind of games you install is completely up to you as there are several bits of emulation station software to choose from.

From £58.15, (due March 2017)


The Vinci 3D smart headphones are a clever pair of do-it-all cans that play music, act as an activity tracker with an optical heart-rate monitor, give directions and read text messages via wi-fi or a 3G connection, all without a smartphone connection. That means they can stream music from Spotify, you can talk to their Siri-style voice assistant and AI will make suggestions on what to listen to as well as learn your behaviours. You also can’t see the 3.2in touchscreen but everyone else can — it displays your music tastes, an audio visualiser and more. Given this is also how you control them, it’s almost like having a smartphone on your head.

From £120.36, (due March 2017)


You’ve probably seen a few of these smart-paper-and-pen combos before but the Everlast notebook obviates the necessity of restocking proprietary paper by allowing you to wipe its pages clean with a damp towel. Just to be clear, this isn’t a mini whiteboard; instead, the pages are a waterproof synthetic poly blend that, when written on with a pen from the Pilot Frixion line, can be wiped off and endlessly reused. Using the companion app you can capture images of your scribbles, which are then cropped and sent to the cloud platform of your choice, like Google Drive. It’s not quite magic but it’s close.

From £27.53, (due April 2017)


Selfie sticks are about to be confined to the trash heap once the AirSelfie arrives. Smaller than a smartphone, this flying pocket-sized paparazzi is about to take the selfie obsession to new heights thanks to the four powerful propellers that give it enough oomph to soar to a height of 20 metres and snap endless aerial images of its owner at the optimum selfie angle. All you need is an iPhone or Android device to control it, coupled with the desire to take pictures of yourself over and over and over again.

From £188.77, (due April 2017)