Waking up is never my strong point and even more so than when it’s 6 am! (things I do for FV:R!) I’m travelling to Birmingham’s NEC to visit the Gadget Show Live.

First thing I’m presented with is a 4 hour journey upon a bus which as we all know deep vein thrombosis is a serial killer so remember your exercises. Small jaunt on the Birmingham Airport sky bus (mono rail to normal folk) and what seemed like the longest collection of skywalks known to man inside the mini city that is the NEC.


Travelling aside the venue is great and like I said it’s a city in itself With plenty of restaurants, bars and shops to accommodate tens of thousands of people you never far away from every commodity you’ll need.

Gadget Show Live is a fantastic spectacle to behold for fans of the long running tv show with a live episode of the Gadget Show acted out in their super theatre for the public to enjoy. The Trade & Press day is very different this is an opportunity for new start ups and industry veterans to peddle their wares to each other and numerous online and retail outlets. Everything is at it’s “best price” and people approach you much like the markets in Turkey and Egypt, once they notice your press they tend to switch their ‘sales guy’ for the token ‘PR guy’ who then reels of facts and figures about the item in hand. The problem with this facts and figure approach is they need to realise I might never need, want or use this item in the way they think. Sticking the blinkers on and running at me with information I don’t need if you will.

The perfect example is HP (Hewlett-packard) on show was their new HP Sprout.

Basically a desktop computer but with a DLP projector / downward facing 3D/2D camera and 20 point touch mat all for the reasonable price of £1899. Now the lady I spoke to originally came at me with these are the specs it will do this allow me to put the world in your hands etc as soon as I asked “What’s the sensitivity of the pen and will this entire workstation work with Creative Cloud?” another gentleman was called over. I asked again would this workstation allow an artist used to using a standard pen tablet the creative freedom to draw directly to the pad and thus offer an almost affordable graphic artist tablet….

His answer was…”maybe”

This made no sense as they had told me of the greatness of this product and how amazing it is….at doing what THEY want to do with it but it’s not them that are buying it. The HP Sprout could have done wonders but including a touch sensitive mat means you cannot rest your hand on it to draw anything as that is considered an input. Maybe allow for the mat to be interchangeable with a true drawing tablet? A pow wow ensued and I was assured they’d look into it (steal the idea).

What’s the sensitivity of the pen and will this entire workstation work with Creative Cloud?

Don’t let that example put you off the Gadget Show Live that’s merely me ranting at ridiculous companies that are drafted in to represent these people at great cost, when all they need are the people that designed and built their product to be there field the questions.

Main Exhibition Hall

One word – Impressive. The main hall had everything from cooking to drones (cooking drones….maybe next year) you can walk around this place for hours and not truly see every little thing that is on show. First stop was the toy section as something had caught my eye and I’m huge fan of scaletrix but this was different.

Real FX

Real FX is the next generation of racing for the home where not one screen is in sight. The track is made of a reflective material that allows the infra red sensors of the cars to detect and stay on track. The real beauty of this racing game is the fact there isn’t a set of grooves that your stuck to. You have the freedom to overtake and smash your opponents out of the way all while trying to get that illustrious fast lap.

In championship mode you even have pit stops to virtually change tires as the cars will become sluggish and difficult to steer after x amount of laps. My favourite feature is if a player is out lapping you consistently you have the option of using a weapon of sorts (think Mario kart) you can simulate a tyre blowout / engine trouble that will send them spinning off the track allowing you to gain valuable seconds and making the race even more interesting. Out June/July 2015 and priced around £99.99 this could be a table top racing game changer.


As you carry on your tour of the giant immense space that the Gadget Show presides over you’ll notice more and more innovative little ideas that you suddenly wish you’d thought of – step in Packed Pixels®

Every true geek has a desktop PC system that has at least 2 monitors (I am in the process of designing mine…) and the creative professionals among us use them everyday. The ability to have reference material placed on a second screen to glance at is ideal and even more so for studio engineers who can run a whole array of effect racks and pre amps on one screen with their timeline on another. The issue is to carry a spare monitor around with you to connect to your laptop…this is where Packed Pixels saw a gap in the market.

Introducing a small add on screen for your laptop that is mobile enough to carry with you where ever you go

The possibilities for this product going forward are huge and with no latency on the extra screens their application is lagless. Different configurations offer the user portrait or landscape and will connect to 11″/13″/15″/17″ laptops. Corporate branding can be added to the rear to offer companies the chance to show they’re branding as they work on the move.

More importantly they are ideal as added gaming monitors!

Price is reasonable and you can check out their online shop @ http://dovetail-technology.myshopify.com

For the hard-core Gadget Show fans there is an exhibition of all the show’s inventions from the Jason Bradbury robot to the motivational drone and of course the super theatre.

I’d recommend anyone to get tickets for Gadget Show Live, I just wish they’d done some sort of show @ the super theatre for us press nuts! 




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