HOT 100
T3 Magazine|April 2021
Get a glimpse into the future, as we count down all the most thrilling pieces of tech and new trends coming your way in 2021
Alex Cox



Given we spend a third of our lives in bed, sleep tech is a huge deal. We’ve got eyes on Kikoo, which promises to employ super oriented graphite in the foam core of its (as yet unshown) mattress to wick heat away from the body. And if Eight Sleep’s actively climate-controlled Pod mattress – which splits its temperature tech into two halves for each sleeper – makes it across the pond, we’ll sleep very easy indeed.



An intriguing thing which, while it may not change the very future of mobile devices, certainly offers something new – it’s basically a twistable 2x2 Rubik’s Cube with a tiny screen on each of its faces. When you’re not playing games you can use its individual panels to monitor different aspects of your smart home or just use it as an art piece. $249 (around £180),



This USB-powered water purifier fits into a rucksack, using solar energy to recharge itself when you’re deep in whatever wilds you’re in, and is capable of killing off 99.99% of all waterborne pathogens into the bargain. The pump is good for 100 gallons on a full battery, but even if it’s all out of juice you can pull out the filter and suck up fresh water like a straw. £145,



Yes, it’s still early days for this tech, but all that body heat you’re wastefully radiating could soon be used to generate power for your watch or fitness tracker. University of Colorado Boulder researchers have developed a teeny wrist- or finger-wearable generator that could even do away with batteries for wearables entirely.



‘Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot’ is the backronym here, and Hyundai’s concept vehicle could provide a glimpse into the automotive platforms of the future. This is an unmanned drive train, which can be built upon for a huge number of purposes, transporting goods across rough terrain or even extra-terrestrially – and it can be dropped into action from a UAV.



As a fuss-free automated indoor garden, this is pretty lovely, cramming plenty of plants into a useful vertical space, but the Respira is about more than the zen personal enrichment of being surrounded by greenery; it’s soil-free, and aims to remove VOCs from the air by leaving roots exposed and letting their microbial bacteria and biofilm do a bit of natural purification. Around £450,



Satellite internet has long been niche, but Starlink might change that: there are over 1,000 low-earth orbit satellites currently circling the Earth, offering low-latency high-speed internet wherever – and the Starlink hardware can move itself to automatically lock on for the best signal. Super-cool, and if SpaceX manages to launch its planned 42,000 satellites, potentially game-changing. £439 plus subscription,



AI knows nothing of art. It doesn’t know much at all. But generously fed a database of real-world work, given a few choice parameters and set off on its own, it’s able to create credible and absolutely unique art that can move you just as much as the old masters. Check out sites like and if you fancy a one-off droid devised artwork for your own home.



Klipsch’s revisited T5s are true wireless buds that excel in their unique looks, their gorgeous Zippo-like case, and the range and reliability boost offered to them by Bluetooth 5 – not to mention 24-bit/96kHz hi-res audio support. The booming bass of the T5 II’s new drivers is also a plus if you like it loud, though they can get subtle when they need to. £209,



Though we can see no reason a MoonBike wouldn’t work on the Moon, you’ll probably have more fun chucking one around the slopes; they’re three times lighter than a snowmobile, offer 170NM of immediate torque, can fling you up a 30-degree incline at up to 26mph – and are entirely electric. With three hours’ life if you opt for the dual battery, that’s quite a slope session. £TBC,



POC’s self-powered helmet never needs charging, thanks to its use of Exeger Powerfoyle, a new kind of flexible solar cell that can harvest light from any source. You just need to put it on your head for its built-in light to power up automatically – and Powerfoyle’s ability to be totally discreet means there’s no massive solar panel cramping your style. £TBC,



Could the future of live performance be virtual? Live experiences in games like Fortnite have been growing with a certain audience for a while, but recent efforts – like MelodyVR’s 3D footage VR concerts, or Madison Beer’s Unreal-Engine-powered mixed reality gig – hint that many more artists might make a world tour stop in your living room in the future.



Fine-tuned in collaboration with F1 engineers and weighing in at just 8.5kg all-in, this could be the lightest ebike ever built. All of its electronics are integrated, the battery is cunningly disguised as a water bottle, and the whole power package is designed to feel invisible under the feet – the perfect stealth wheels for keeping up with fast friends or hitting extreme hills. From €12,000 (around £10,385),



Shower speakers are progressively more popular – and more specialised devices like Kohler’s Moxie let you put a speaker right inside the shower head. Ampere’s 360-degree solution, though, never needs to leave your bathroom: it fits onto any shower, and powers itself entirely from the pressure of your water. From $79 (around £58),



Looking almost like a Transformer poorly attempting to go incognito, Bodyfriend’s new take on its full-on luxury massage chair packs in a voice AI so you can specify which bits of you it should pummel, a B&O sound system (which we have to presume is going to be involved in the tinnitus massage it offers) and even a builtin UPS so you can lean back even in a blackout. $6,000 (around £4,320),



Does your workout routine need a little extra pep? Xenoma claims its electrostimulating suit can cut exercise time drastically by stimulating your muscles with its internal grid of EMS nodes. It’s like a slightly crazy full-body ab belt, yet Xenoma says it’ll happily take 100 washes – smart clothing is here, and it’s only just begun. ¥99,000 (around £685),



E-ink’s inexorable transition from monochrome to full colour is progressing fast; Swiss company PocketBook is pushing the tech hardest with its InkPad Color, which can currently replicate 4,000 shades and looks great for kicking back and indulging in a little comic reading. There’s a way to go, but the tech is definitely on the way up – could full-colour, low-power laptop and phone screens be next?



Due in 2022 and, let’s face it, totally badass, Vanderhall’s all-electric ATV will provide some serious thrills on the hills and dunes. It powers and steers each wheel individually, packing in more than 300 horsepower and over 677.9Nm of torque, so you’ll be able to escape any scrape – and that suspension looks like serious stuff. £TBC,



Ever wondered how your dog is feeling? We’ll admit to being sceptical of Petpuls’ claims to be able to sense five emotional states in your pup – happy, anxious, angry, sad and relaxed – but if it can pull it off it’ll be a revolution in petcare. Even if that’s just a gimmick, this 25g collar is a neat canine activity and sleep tracker. $150 (around £110),



An interesting item from South Korea here, one with serious potential if it were to arrive here: the CLOVA Lamp aims to replace smartphones and tablets as kids’ independent entertainment activity of choice. Not so much by being a lamp, but by reading aloud the books placed beneath it. Clever. £TBC,



Samsung’s robotics department is nothing if not ambitious: the Bot Handy, the latest in its series of home helper bots, can use its arm to pour you a glass of wine, it can put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and presumably it can give your cat a nice pat on the head – not that we’d imagine any animals wanting to go anywhere near it. £TBC,



The Scout is a highly versatile thing: it’s a weather-resistant autonomous camera vehicle, using its Tensorflow-based AI room mapping and Omni-directional wheels to scoot around inside (and outside) of your home to keep an eye on your pets and belongings by day; by night, it’s a programmable, hackable platform for STEM experimentation. £TBC,



Delicious frozen goodies are never a bad thing, and while the ColdSnap’s podto-treat chilling mechanism might seem wasteful at first glance, it’s actually an environmental boon: your ice cream, yoghurt, smoothies or what have you save energy by sitting at ambient temperature until you want them cold, and its aluminium ingredient pods are completely recyclable. £TBC,



DJ controllers can lack the tactility that putting your fingers on wax provides, but that isn’t the case with the Rane One controller for Serato DJ, which is of cracking quality. Its 7-inch motorised platters offer immediate visual and physical feedback, and it pulls all of the key features from Rane’s higher-end pro controllers down to a price low enough to justify putting one in your bedroom. £1,299,



What if – hear us out here – Portal’s sentry turrets chose to show you the universe instead of blasting you to bits? This would seem to be the answer. Vaonis’ gorgeous, compact and backpack-ready new stargazer is part telescope and part camera, with a self-calibrating auto-pointing system that can find the stellar objects you want to see and track them through the sky. €1,499 (around £1,314),



You could mix up a matcha with a pre-ground powder but the Cuzen Matcha’s leaf-to-powder mechanism, with its 20-cup leaf chamber, precision ceramic mill and automatic magnetic whisk, does it far fresher. Hell, we’d put one of these on display even if we weren’t fans of Japanese leaf tea: this is a future design icon. $369 (around £266),



We may soon be nearing the point where smart glasses are effective enough, small enough and, yes, smart enough to be a thing people actually want to wear. Bosch’s super-compact Smartglasses Light Drive, using a microscopic MEMS projector, looks set to bring a personal HUD to virtually any glasses, prescription or not. Better smartglasses are in sight.



If you’re plagued by skin issues the Lumini PM might just be able to lend a helping hand; it’ll analyse your complexion in six different categories and, using a mix of AI and expertise fed to it by the skincare industry, suggest products and tinctures that might help. Maker Lululab also suggests a community aspect is coming that will connect you with the similar skinned, which is neat. £TBC,



Making home cinema audio easier to set up and less constrained by wires is a solid goal, and the WiSA association’s wireless tech seems to have kicked it into the back of the net. Plug a WiSA module into your TV’s eARC port and it’ll throw 24bit, 96kHz audio at a long list of compatible sound systems, with a tenth the latency of Bluetooth. This will be big news.



IBM’s AI Captain and the Mayflower Autonomous Ship it’s set to pilot might be on more of an exploration and environmental research mission to begin with, but once it’s taken an AI-driven trip across the Atlantic this year, there’s enormous potential for crewless vessels to innovate in the supply chain and personal transport sectors.



The Snoo Smart Sleeper, the Cradlewise Smart Crib, the 4Moms mamaRoo Sleep Bassinet – there are now numerous examples of smart tech making its way into your baby’s cot. This is intended both to help soothe them off to a peaceful sleep and track their slumber in intricate detail, leaving you with a precious extra few minutes to sit still and take a much-earned breather.



Kohler’s high-end spa bath, inspired by Japanese forest bathing, is designed as an experience first and foremost. Go for the top of the line version and you get a bottom-filling infinity bath surrounded by a Hinoki wood base, with an aromatherapy ‘experience tower’, full-spectrum lighting, and even fog rolling over the water’s surface. Glorious. £TBC,



Keep your eyes on the road without missing the turn. That’s the idea behind the new generation of in-car heads-up displays; Taiwan’s FIC has a daylight-visible laser-powered number on the way, but it’s Panasonic’s next-gen augmented reality HUD that really shines. It’s a 4K projection, overlaying your route on the road ahead and bringing hazards into focus. Stay safer while not missing the sights.



Good for everything from putting mic control at your fingertips to pumping instruments into your favourite DAW, the Symphony Desktop is a deceptively powerful device. It essentially packs the advanced audio guts of Apogee’s rack mount hardware, high-end ADC/DACs and all, into a tiny, tactile device which can plug into everything from a PC to an iPad Pro. £1,299,



L’Oreal’s Perso looks like it’s now ready for its closeup with the YSL Rouge Sur Mesure. You can pick from four colour packs, then design your own custom lipstick shades using YSL’s nifty app. When you’re happy, the device precisely dispenses the relevant colour combination into its removable compact. $299 (around £217),



Chess is back in a big way. While the biggest grandmasters are turning the online game into a worldwide sensation, there’s still time for over-the-board play; seeing as you can’t exactly sit and breathe on your friends at the moment, Square Off’s newly cheapened version of its web-connected automated board tech could be exactly the thing if you’re crying out to touch the pieces. $199 (around £145),



The days of brewing up accidental paint stripper are over, with smart brewing systems making the process easy, foolproof, and tastier than ever. INTHEKEG has just released a more compact (though, no doubt, still pricey) Home version of its all-in-one brewer/keg/tap, and if the LG HomeBrew ever goes from concept to product, we’ll be chuffed.



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