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The Hottest Gadgets of 2014

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2014 has welcomed a slue of new and innovative gadgets, partially thanks to crowd funding sites. These sites help inventors bring their ideas to life. I took the opportunity to compile a small list of 2014’s top gadgets.



This gadget is a clever sleeping aid that has made Kickstarter history by attracting $1.8 Million in pledges, when their goal was set at $100,000. Its sensors track your movement, the dust particles in the air, humidity, sounds, and lighting variations during your sleep. Afterwards, it finds simple solutions to improve your sleep. Perhaps the best feature of this product is the smart alarm, which will wake you up at the best possible time (whilst your body is not in deep sleep). At last, I might wake up with a huge smile on my face.


The Coolest Cooler

The ultimate picnic cooler, set to revolutionise BBQs and picnics. The cooler sports an inbuilt battery, which powers a USB charging station and blender… yes, an inbuilt blender. It also comes with a battery powered, detachable Bluetooth compliant speaker—mind-blowing. The cooler has a hidden compartment to store plates and a ceramic knife, with its very own inbuilt cutting board. It sits on two wheels which easily travel through rough terrain, and comes with retractable bungee cables to strap onto your camping gear.


DJI S900

This year, drones are the most popular gadget amongst photography enthusiasts. They will surely love DJI’s new professional drone: the S900. Six 15” propellers power this drone. They are fitted on a folding carbon fibre structure, which is not only lighter, but sturdier and more stable. The rotors allow the drone to carry a 5 kg weight. That weight allowance is enough for photographers to use their SLR camera instead of an action camera.



Many of us dream of having our own robot. 2014 seems to be the year it might come true. Dubbed as the world’s first family robot, Jibo, brings personal assistant technology to a whole new level. With its array of HD cameras, microphones, and face detection technology, this bot is able to recognise family members, learn their routines, and adapt to their needs. Through voice command, users can interact with Jibo, and thanks to smart-phone synchronisation, they can basically operate their phone’s features through Jibo—stunning.


Google’s Self-Driving Car

The future of sustainable road safety is here, thanks to Google. The Internet giant has unveiled their much anticipated self-driving car. Steering wheels and pedals have been replaced with an intelligent on-board PC. Their software is capable of understanding road markings and obey road rules, whilst compensating for other vehicles and obstacles. Google have released the first beta versions of the vehicle for testing and aims at making the technology available by 2016 to drastically reduce road deaths.

These innovations amaze me. In this golden age of technology anything is possible and I cannot wait to see what the next year will bring.


More to Explore

Fostering Creativity and Community: The ART Connect Project at the University of Malta Library

The Library is, in many ways, the beating heart of the University of Malta (UM). The pulse of intellectual life can be felt most profoundly amongst the quiet shelves lined with books and the many students and academics lining the Library’s work desks with their noses deep in their projects. In this sense, the Library is also symbolic of the University’s overall health and vitality, so it is important to balance serious work with serious play.

The evolution of the ART Connect Project has been a journey of dedication and transformation. Inspired by the vision of new librarians and a desire to revamp the Library’s decor, what was once a seed of an idea has now matured into a vibrant platform for artistic expression, collaboration, and community building.

The ART Connect Project aims to connect people through creativity, foster collaboration, and transform spaces, inviting artists and art enthusiasts to celebrate the power of art.

Meeting Challenges Halfway at the Malta Book Festival 2023

Malta boasts 58 registered publishing entities, hosting hundreds of authors writing books across a wide swathe of genres and formats. These numbers emerge from an NSO survey into the book industry, conducted on the basis of the year 2021. Effectively, we could say that there are ‘more authors than churches’ in Malta, with over 700 authors populating the National Book Council’s database.

This hints at a varied industry, the stakeholders of which all fall under the remit of the National Book Council, which seeks to assist, support, and represent Maltese authors and publishers, as well as related industry stakeholders such as translators and illustrators. While the Maltese context does have its own particularities, neither is it immune to the industry’s wider, global realities, a case in point being the price hike on paper caused by the war in Ukraine, which continues to be felt across the board. Maltese publishers must also bear the brunt of this unfortunate phenomenon.

The National Book Council continues to advocate for increased governmental support to aid publishers, whether in this particular challenge or others, and it also offers direct financial aid through the Malta Book Fund, which last year issued a grand total of €120,000 to various industry stakeholders, targeting projects of high cultural value which may not have a straightforward route to market success.

But while some challenges may be met halfway through financial incentives, others require a systemic — or cultural — shift in attitude from all parties involved, which takes a certain degree of workshopping to be borne out. The slow uptake of ebooks bears pondering (the NSO survey saw 146 new ebooks issued in Malta in 2021, contrasted with printed counterparts of 418 in the same year), as does the worryingly high number of authors published without adequate contracts in place.

Maximising Solar Panel Efficiency: The DustPV Project

The DustPV project, led by Prof. Ing. Joseph Micallef, aims to determine the optimal timing for cleaning solar panels using innovative sensor technology and weather data analysis. By addressing the challenges of dust accumulation on photovoltaic panels, the project seeks to enhance solar panel performance and contribute to Malta’s renewable energy goals.

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