Gadget Show Live 2014 had a lot to live up to. In 2013 the show floor was packed full of fantastic stuff, not least of all was dancing robots! And I would love to show you a video of those dancing robots (dancing to Gangnam Style no less) but unfortunately it is on my old phone. Which died. And apparently I never uploaded it anywhere.
Anyway, back on topic! The live show was also pretty spectacular. So this year it had to try and one up that. On the whole, it did just that.
Starting with the live show, everyone in attendance could very well be world record holders come Monday morning which is pretty neat. The record? The largest interactive game of Tetris. The whole arena had to wave their hands around and clap in order to move the tetronimos around and clear one line. Just the one. The time recorded was 18.13 seconds. It is something that they are doing for each live show over the weekend, so fingers crossed that they do not get a better time! The theme of the show was based around the fact that The Gadget Show is ten this year, so they had a retrospective of the biggest tech/innovations each year over the last ten years. It was amazing to see, for instance, how excited they were getting over wi-fi being this amazing, futuristic thing, and now it is something that we take for granted!
The highlight was quite possibly a performace by a group they announced as ‘Dance Mob’. They performed in LED suits in a pitch black room, something that was very effective. Particularly effective was when one would turn their lights off, move across the stage and the relight themselves. Because the room was practically pitch black it gave the impression that they just teleported from one place to another. As an idea of what this was like, watch this YouTube video of a similar group …
On second thoughts, maybe it was a fantastic demonstration of Occulus Rift. They pulled a lady out of the audience and put the Occulus Rift on them. They started in a grotty looking room but when they opened the door it turned out they were at the top of a very high building and they had a small plank to walk to cross a gap. Now either the lady chosen gave an Oscar worthy performance, or she was genuinely petrified of the fall. I rather think it was the latter. It shows how incredibly immersive a virtual reality experience Occulus Rift can provide. I would like to say I had a chance to experience this on the show floor, but the queue was unsurprisingly huge and I just didn’t have the patience. I may be British, but I hate to queue.
So, the show floor itself. It was incredibly busy. Maybe too busy. Definitely a step up in popularity since last year and a fantastic demonstration of just how important technology has become to everyone and how something that on the outside seems quite geeky is being embraced by people from every demographic. As mentioned, because of this the queue to try the Occulus Rift was enourmous, as were the queues for all the more interesting things, particularly the video games on offer, with the largest being for Titanfall and anything Xbox One related. Owing, presumably, to the fact that Microsoft were a headline sponsor Playstation didn’t really have any presence which is a major coup for Microsoft given the sheer voloume of people who will have visited the show by the time it’s run has come to a close. They also had a huge presence with Windows 8 and Surface. It really is a fantastic little tablet, it always seems so much nicer to use than an iPad; though as a Windows Phone user it could simply be that I am more at home with the Windows 8 interface than iOS.
I think one of the nicest little gadgets that I found was something from a company called Ownfone. It is a mobile that is small and very simple. It has just four or five large buttons that you label with specific people and they are the only people you can call. There is no number pad, no screen, nothing complex; it is just a small box with a direct line to five or six people. On their website one of their targets are parents, so that their kids can have a mobile for safety without giving them an expensive smartphone to run up huge data bills, or lose, or, more likely, break. Given the proliferation of smart phones among younger children (something that is insane, but something to discuss another day) this effort is to be applauded. If I was a parent, which, thankfully, I am not, this would be the phone I would buy.
As a little coda to my day, there was an antiques event happening in the next hall down from the gadget show. I had a ticket so I went in. It could not have been more different. From noise and crowds to silence and peace. From the future to the past. I think that I stood out like a sore thumb, in jeans and t-shirt. The Gadget Show had a Subway stand and a pick and mix. The antiques show had a champagne bar. Really. There were some really neat things there, particularly a couple of the Japanese stores. But the prices. Oh my the prices. They had the armour from a Samurai warrior coming in at a cool £4000. If only I had that kind of money burning a hole in my pocket.
Anyway, the moral of the story is, next time The Gadget Show Live visits your corner of the world, go. Go and have a blast.
UPDATE 14/04/2014: So it turns out that another group beat 18.13 seconds with a time of 5.11 seconds. It is a fix I tell ya, a fix! It would have been quite fun to be part of a world record too!