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23 February 2024

Gadgets this week: Robots deliver grocery to Samsung car

By Joseph George

Among the gadgets that have made it to the list this week is a stylish new robot - the starship robot, which can deliver groceries and could be the next big thing on Dubai's pavements. There is also an attempt to bring back the typewriter - especially to those distracted writers, as well as Samsung's attempt to push 4G LTE into your two-decade-old car.

Starship Robot

This is a robot that travels on the ground and will deliver anything including local groceries to your doorstep. Part of the EU Smartcity project, this was first announced by the cofounders of Skype Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis last November. “Our vision revolves around three zeroes – zero cost, zero waiting time and zero environmental impact.

We want to do to local deliveries what Skype did to telecommunications,” said Heinla, who is now the CEO at Starship Technologies. These robotic delivery vehicles can travel at around 4-5km per hour and move along the pavement, making it convenient and practical for online shopping.

To date it has already undergone about 3,000 hours of testing and could be deployed before the end of the year in parts of Europe. Connected with a GPS, a camera, etc., the vehicle is constantly connected to the internet and can alert the cops in case of an attempt to steal it. The location of the robots are tracked while on journey. The robot is also locked throughout the delivery and can be opened only by the recipient via the mobile phone.

The Calendar Watch

Yes it’s a calendar and a watch combined into one. The device syncs your everyday schedule from multiple calendars be it Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, etc., and displays it on the analog watch screen, greying out the busy schedules. The watch has no buttons and users can schedule it to show appointments for the next 12 hours in 15 minute segments.

The watch features a fixed and flexible mode allowing users to switch between using an accompanying App. While the fixed mode enables the display to be updated every 12 hours the flexible mode will refresh every 15 minutes and can even work when your smartphone is switched off.

The battery lasts for several weeks. Currently, being promoted on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, it has already managed to raise €122,957, with 20 more days to go and already exceeding its target by €27,000. Users can choose between polar white, aqua blue and a special edition black models. The special price of €180 is over, however, you can still choose to buy a polar white or aqua blue editions for €240 and a special black edition for €260.


The phones are growing bigger in size, the radio is growing in prominence and the typewriters are getting back into prominence. To be precise, the phones are also getting smarter, the radio has since long become digital and is streaming live through to our smartphones and now the typewriters have gone paperless. Formerly known as Hemingwrite, the product has been renamed as Freewrite and what the developers are calling as, "Your distraction-free writing tool." 

You could well call it a minimalist PC and an e-ink reader fitted with typewriter like keyboard and all you can do is just write.  And yes it also has a storage space where you can save one million pages. Among other modern-day features are cloud sync where the documents get automatically synced on Dropbox and other cloud services.

The $549 device, which is currently on sale for $499 is, however, a bit bulky weighting about 1.2kgs. It also has a pretty poor backup of about 12 to 14 hours or three to four weeks provided you use it for about 30 minutes a day. It currently supports English, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Danish, Swedish, and Dutch.

Samsung Car

Samsung is on its way to equip itself with the capabilities of being a smart player in the connected car ecosystem and it is starting off with a very simple strategy - equipping your decade-old automobile and connecting it to the outside world.

At the recently concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the South Korean tech giant announced the Samsung Connect Auto, a device that plugs directly into the OBD II port underneath the steering wheel (compatible with any vehicle made since 1996).

It is basically a dongle that enabled 4G LTE connectivity to everyone in the car and also connects the car to the internet apart from using real-time alerts to help users improve their driving behaviour, including increased fuel efficiency.

A virtual mechanic intelligently checks your car status from the on-board diagnostic port to recommend maintenance and repair services offered by a specialized network. It even alerts police in case of an accident. The solution is kept secure using Samsung KNOX.

Sony Xperia Ear

Sony joined the Bluetooth headset race with its own next-generation device ‘Xperia Ear’. It not only connects your calls but also allows you to listen to weather and news alerts and connects to voice commands. It even checks your schedule and alerts you to all incoming messages, thereby acting as a replacement device to a smartwatch.  The device is powered by Sony's voice technology and lets users carry on communicating while on the go. Sony has designed it in a comfortable ear-fit with a sleek, stylish look. It is IPX2 waterproof and has an all-day battery life. It also comes with a stylish case that doubles as a charger.