February. A perfectly great month plagued by the one event every year that ironically makes every single man and woman feel more dispiritingly lonely than sandra bullock in space, or indeed anybody that inevitably spent two hours alone watching gravity in cinemas.
However, it would be too easy for me to project my hatred of others’ happiness onto these pages through scathing reviews of gadgets designed specifically for couples; I have instead chosen a different path this month, one of peace and, in the embers of the lingering Christmas spirit, love to all. After spending arduous hours rifling through what you can imagine was a diverse and intriguingly thought-provoking range of the internet’s suggestions for “gadgets for couples”, I have managed to compile a short list of family-friendly technology that can aid your marital situations, only toying with the idea of sex very briefly (the least subtly veiled side steps of all time). Whilst the relationship-healing qualities of these gadgets cannot be vouched for, they are more than capable of providing small sparks that might just bring you closer together. Hell, if any of them help you and your loved one to have a more exciting, amorous and altogether close Valentine’s day, I’ve done my job.
So, settle down by the fire with your spouse, girlfriend or pet that is substituting as a human partner for the night and enjoy the revolutionary Hug Shirt, send ‘cute’ messages with the Digital Fountain Pen or even leave a love note on their toast with the Note Toaster. God, I’ve sunk low this month.
Yanko Design Note Toaster
It’s a worldwide, undisputable fact. There is nothing better than breakfast in bed. Waking up to a plateful of bacon, eggs, sausages and toast, held by your partner who waits anxiously for you to open your eyes and give him/her the gratitude that they slaved away to achieve. There’s no way that this can get better, right? Wrong. Imagine that same scene again, only this time, through some sort of wizardry, the toast that was so lazily slapped on the side of the plate, covered in running ketchup and whatever sauce it is that beans come in, is now engraved with a personalized message! Yes, you read that right, this toaster has the ability to ‘toast’ in whatever words you want, whether it’s the morning after an argument and you want to berate, or you just feel like making their day. Keep in mind, however, that when I say ‘toast in the words’, what I really mean is that your toast will essentially be burnt wherever you draw. This really makes you question whether the extra effort to write the message is really worth the utter effrontery that is providing burnt toast. Really, this isn’t a gift. It’s more of an underhanded insult.
We are once again dealing with a concept here, so it is not available to the general public. Designed by Sasha Tseng, this one may only be available if you can present a truly compelling argument to Tseng herself in which this toaster could genuinely save your marriage. Although if you think toast can really do that, you need to question either your partner’s or your own priorities.
D:Scribe Digital Fountain Pen
We are in the heart of the digital age. It’s undeniable that it controls our lives, from the laptop I’m writing this on to the phone that you’ll inevitably tweet #gallerygadgets on later (optimistic I know, but a boy can dream). The question is often then raised as to what role technology can play in a relationship. Even minus the obvious responses to said question, the resounding answer remains that technology and gadgetry can always help. Regardless of technology, nobody can deny that a message between lovers, a declaration of love, will always provide a great way of bonding for couples. The lovers of literature and those with some indescribable need to cling on to the vintage will argue that there is nothing more romantic than a hand-written love letter, whilst the techies among us will argue that a simple text message with some evidence of conscious thought will more than suffice. There is now a way, however, to bring peace to the raging war between these ideologies. Welcome to the D:Scribe Digital Fountain Pen. This magical writing implement will, using what seems to be the deepest dark magic that even Sauron couldn’t offer, transfer whatever you write using the pen into a text message and send it to your partner’s phone. Genius? Obviously. An abomination? Absolutely. A tool for salvaging marriages and relationships? At a very long stretch, even if the angered party is one of the rare few that believe technology is ‘sexy’
This product is again a concept piece, designed for the Dyson Student Award in Australia by Reuben Png. Png makes up for a distinct lack of vowels in his last name with a remarkable knowledge of design in technology, however he clearly falls flat on his face when it comes to marketing, because this could be an absolute goldmine. Who wouldn’t want the ability to write out their texts by hand. Oh…
The Hug Shirt
During my extensive time on the web researching the ever-expanding world of gadgets, so that I can provide you with up-to-the-minute commentary and observations, I sometimes come across something that is truly, indescribably, even painstakingly, pathetic. The Hug Shirt is one of those things. Never in my life have I seen something that symbolizes and announces someone’s loneliness and desperation for human contact so loudly and distinctly. This shirt (that’s actually a hoodie) connects with an app on your iPhone that registers, through sensors in the garment, the touch, strength and duration of a hug, and sends it to another person that is wearing the fashion abomination. Cute in so few ways, terrifying in so many more. An unexpected hug from a hoodie may well spark images of constriction, and falling into the hands of the wrong user, this could genuinely be used as a weapon for what Nacho Libre called the “Anaconda Squeeze”. It is fair to say that, whilst aiming for cute and coupley, CuteCircuit designs have shot and hit the target labeled potentially dangerous and definitely creepy.
Amazingly, out of all the gadgets in this issue, this is the one you can actually buy. Head to www.cutecircuit.com and have a browse, where I’m sure you’ll find other innovations that will ‘revolutionize’ the fashion/technology world. Maybe a glove that can be controlled remotely to slap people in the face?