Travel tech news: May 9, 2012

Every two weeks we bring you the latest news in travel technology from around the world. Here are our latest picks.


No trip to IKEA is complete without a flatpack … camera?

ikea cameraIKEA has announced what is supposedly the ‘world’s cheapest digital camera’, made from cardboard and (of course) requiring a little assembly to make it work.

While it looks as if it may not actually be available to purchase by the general public, the idea of a semi-disposable digital camera that only costs a few bucks to produce is compelling.

Sure the photo quality might suck and it’s unlikely to be much use while you’re snorkelling in the Bahamas, but we can think of a lot of fun to be had with one at parties, on the beach or anywhere else that you don’t want to take your usual camera.

If they were cheap enough, I’d even love to have a few to hand out as gifts to people I meet who can’t afford a camera of their own…


Charge your stuff on the go – without even taking it out of your bag

PowerbagI’ve tried all sorts of ways to keep my electronics charged up when I’m out of reach of a power supply, but … well … they’ve all kind of sucked.  From solar chargers that didn’t work through to batteries that took forever to charge and quickly broke, I’ve never found anything that I was happy to travel with long term.

Trying a new approach, Powerbag – as the name suggests – produces a range of different bags and cases (available on Amazon and elsewhere) with integrated charging mechanisms.  Anything that can charged via USB can be connected, and the bags have enough grunt to charge a normal smartphone 2-4 times.

If you’re looking for something to transport your tech gear in anyway, why not charge it at the same time?  It’s a cool idea.


And speaking of charging things…

DreamTravelerI always carry a little double plug from home around with me so I can charge two devices from one socket.  That’s good as far as it goes, but not much help when I only have an hour or two to charge as many things as possible.

Every other solution I’ve seen has been far too bulky, but I came across something the other day that finally looks like it hits the mark – for people with Apple devices at least.

The recently-announced DreamTraveler, despite the somewhat odd name, lets you simultaneously charge three devices with standard (US) plugs, two USB devices and an iPhone/iPod via the slide-out dock.  Most importantly, it looks small and light enough to actually justify carrying the thing.  If it works as advertised, this little gadget could be a lifesaver.  More info and pricing at Amazon.


Smarter bag tags?  Yes.  But no.

Q bag tagWhen I first saw the headline, I got excited.  Qantas is rolling out smart RFID bag tags that are coded with your booking details at check-in, and can be scanned – and therefore tracked – no matter where your bag ends up.  Maybe, just maybe, this could be the end of permanently misplaced luggage, I thought.

Well, yes … but mostly no.  Not yet, anyway.  This technology is currently only available on Qantas domestic flights, although the company will undoubtedly be looking to roll it out internationally over time.  Still, it’s not really that much use until it’s a global standard amongst airlines.  The idea of having a single tag that works at any check-in is a pretty awesome one.

We can but wait.


Images via IKEA, Powerbag, DreamTraveler, Qantas

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