This Week in Tech: Nike’s trainers that lace themselves
We've rounded up all the biggest tech stories of the week, just for you. From self-tightening trainers to the mother of all computer mice, it’s all here.
21 Jan 2019
In the future, there are no laces. Nike’s self-tightening trainers are coming…
At a launch event last week, Nike unveiled some incredibly futuristic footwear - self-tightening basketball trainers that fit around the shape of your foot, and can be controlled with your smartphone.
Self-lacing trainers made their first appearance in Back to the Future Part II, with Marty McFly sporting a pair. Nike made them a reality in 2016 with the launch of its HyperAdapt shoes, complete with electronically adjustable lacing. But now, the laces have been ditched for something even smarter…
The new Nike Adapt basketball trainers can tighten and loosen to fit the shape of your foot, with no laces in sight. You can adjust the settings by pressing a button on the sole of the shoe, or if that seems like too much effort, you can do it all on a smartphone app.
These smart trainers are no mere gimmick, either. Eric Avar, Nike's creative director of innovation, explains: "During a normal basketball game the athlete's foot changes, and the ability to quickly change your fit by loosening your shoe to increase blood flow, and then tighten again for performance, is a key element that we believe will improve the athlete's experience."
If you’d like to travel forward in time and try a pair of Nike’s self-tightening basketball shoes, they’re expected to be on sale some time in February 2019.
Microsoft’s Hololens 2 headset could be on its way
Microsoft’s hotly anticipated mixed reality headset, Hololens 2, could be revealed next month, according to Engadget. Microsoft has sent out invites to a pre-conference press reception at MWC (Mobile World Congress) 2019, which runs from 25 to 28 February. It’s the world’s biggest mobile tech show, and with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hosting the 24 February press event, it’s expected that some very big news indeed will be announced.
Mixed reality combines virtual objects with your real-life surroundings (Pokemon Go is probably the best known example of this in action), and the possibilities for this tech are incredibly exciting. We’ll know more for sure on 24 February 2019.
Sony's speedy new camera has a selfie-screen for budding vloggers
Sony has taken the wraps off a new, tech-packed, mirrorless camera – the Alpha A6400. It boasts the world’s fastest autofocus, along with AI-based subject recognition which automatically produces incredibly accurate shots.
The Alpha A6400 also comes with a stack of features aimed at all you budding vloggers and future YouTubers out there.
It can record video in super-sharp 4K, and has a microphone jack if you want to make sure you sound like a pro. Our pick of the bunch is the touchscreen that flips right round, so you can see exactly what you look like as you’re shooting your latest masterpiece. The A6400 is expected to be on sale in February.
Take control of your smart speakers with teachable fungus
Are you worried that your smart speaker might be eavesdropping on you? Then this weird looking piece of tech called Project Alias could be what you need. The fungus-inspired shell has been designed to fit over your smart speaker, and acts as a middleman between you and the device.
Rather than having your smart speaker listening to your every word, Project Alias puts it into a light sleep by constantly feeding it with static noise. Your smart speaker will only wake up and start listening when Alias tells it to.
You can trigger Alias itself with any wake word, so instead of saying “Alexa” or “OK Google”, you’ll be able to shout out anything you want. You can even create shortcuts - so for example, simply saying “weather”, will tell Alias to activate the smart speaker and ask it for today’s weather forecast.
Project Alias isn’t available to buy, but you can build your own if you’ve got a 3D printer and lots of time on your hands.
The computer mouse that’s also a computer
And finally for this week in tech, we can reveal that a YouTuber called Electronic Grenade has built the mother of all computer mice. It’s much more than a mouse actually. Unbelievable as it may seem, it’s also a fully functioning computer complete with built-in screen and keyboard.
It’s not the biggest display we’ve ever seen on a computer (it’s a dinky 1.5-inch OLED display) and the tiny pop-out Bluetooth keyboard needs extremely nimble fingers, but we’re still impressed with what Electronic Grenade has created. If it’s the kind of thing you’re interested in, they’ve promised to reveal the exact details of how it was made in a future video release.