The coolest, newest, most revolutionary pieces of tech are often the most expensive – too expensive for you or I to buy. However, companies are constantly working to make affordable versions of such gadgets. They may not have all the capabilities but you can still get it on the action. Here are several pieces of tech that may not be as expensive as you previously thought.
Virtual reality gadgets such as the Oculus Rift are still averaging £500, but these are high-end models. Models such as the Homido VR headset now sell for under £60. This headset fits most smartphones, has a 100 degree field of view and has lots of settings so that is comfortable to wear. Even cheaper models exist – some under twenty pounds such as the Pasonomi VR glasses – but don’t expect the same level of responsiveness or focus. High-end models will give you a much clearer field of vision and feel more responsive, but if you simply want to give VR a go and aren’t too snobby about perfect mechanics, there are a plethora of cheaper models available.
The ability to print 3D objects has found many applications, with hospitals using the technology to produce false limbs, car manufacturers using it to produce complex parts and entrepreneurs using it to make their own unique products. Most the machinery used by these people costs thousands. However, if you’re simply interested by the capabilities of a 3D printer and want one as a toy, there are now budget printers that you can get hold of. The MakiBox sells for less than $300 – although it’s small dimension of 150 x 110 x 90mm makes it only applicable for tiny things. However, models such as the Phoenix 3D printer (which costs a little more at $500) can produce bigger printings.
The flashiest drones used by professionals can cost thousands of pounds. But those wanting to take aerial photos or simply own one as a toy needn’t take out loans simply to get their hands on one. Modern variants are now going for hundreds – many still with luxury features such as auto-pilot ‘go home’ settings. There are also a number of small drones on the market for those that don’t have the car space for a full-size drone. Whilst these may not be able to take as high quality photographs or deal with as hostile weather conditions, they are great alternatives for hobbyists.
Many are put off renewable energy due to its price, but solar energy is becoming constantly cheaper to produce. Solar farms are constantly expanding making installation of solar plug sockets less costly. For home use, you can now get solar panels installed for less than £200 (a decade ago solar panels were going for over a grand in most places). Embracing solar power and saying goodbye to your energy bill is now a more worthwhile investment. You can even charge your car battery on solar power.