Espresso of Innovation: The Gift Guide

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Hello and welcome to this week’s Espresso of Innovation; the hottest news and strongest stories from the world of creativity and technology filtered into a quick shot of inspiration. ‘Tis the season to come together, so have yourself a high tech holiday with our gift guide.

Forget good will to all men, the holidays are all about the presents. So here are some thoughts for what might wait under the tree, by the Menorah, or alongside the Kinara that will suit all tastes and budgets.
 
Telly addict
It’s a wonderful life with theNOW TV Box at the stocking-filler friendly price of £9.99. This little device brings on-demand services, sports and movies to your big screen, so you’re not stuck with sit-com reruns after dinner.

A song and dance
Creative types can toll the ancient yuletide carol in 21st century style with the touchboard, a device that makes anything interactive. Built on Arduino technology, you can connect anything conductive to one of its 12 electrodes and trigger a sound via its onboard MP3 player. For just £45 you can get jiggy after your figgy pudding.

Play time
For kids, both big and little, top of the tech toys is the Hex helicopter. Using 3D printing for personalisation as well as a camera for recording or a live-feed, you can have a truly immersive experience all controlled from your smartphone. From $49, it’s perfect for spying on Santa.

Snoop dog
Speaking of spying, have you ever wondered what your pooch gets up to while you’re rocking around the Christmas tree? The Whistle device ($99) allows life-logging animal lovers to track their furry friend’s activities and so look after them better (e.g. sending vets valuable health information). It’s one of a number of recently launched “pet tech” devices, because after all, dogs aren’t just for Christmas.
 
Wake up happy
If for a loved one the best way to start their day is with a cup of coffee, then they’ll love the Bonaverde, a roast-grind-brew machine (from $300). The Berlin based company is looking to change the coffee industry by allowing people to buy coffee straight from the farmers, making sure it’s as fresh and ethical as possible.

Control freak
If you’re buying for the tech-head who has everything, why not get them a hub so they can control everything at the touch of a button? SmartThings ($299) is looking to own the connected home space by letting you control all aspects – from informing you when the mail arrives to turning on the coffee machine when you wake up. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Having written this list, I’m now wondering if it really is better to give than to receive…