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YouTube Microwaves, Vibrating Dumbells and iMacs for your Dolls House ... all blessed by your local vicar?

Funny Gadgets

>> Cast Oven have released their latest kitchen gadget - the YouTube microwave oven. The concept model has won two awards at the Mashup awards ceremony. It has an LCD screen instead of a window and when the user punches in the amount of time the food will cook for, it automatically launches the internet and shows a YouTube clip of the same length.

>> An online music store aimed at Google Android users has been launched as a direct competitor to iTunes. Amazon MP3 has been available to Android based phone users in the US since 2008, but has only just become available to UK users. The new Android 2.1 software update will giver users access to more than 9m tracks. Those with a Nexus One Google phone are already able to use the store, buying tracks in UK pounds rather than dollars. The launch has been described as powerful weapon for Google in their fight against Apple, allowing people to impulse buy music while they are away from their computers.

>> is the first UK property website to introduce an iPhone app with GPS to offer users a list of available properties in their area. Users are able to view a slideshow of the home, call the agent and forward the details to friends or their email address. All this greatly improves the chances of increased enquiries for the agent. Richard Mathews from Lettingweb commented that home-hunters using the app will have an advantage over others, being able get details more quickly.

>> The possible jobs of the future have been outlined by a study titled The Shape of Jobs to Come. The Science and Innovation Minister (no, really!), Lord Drayson, commented on the study saying that today's school children could the first to take on many of the challenges of the future. The jobs included a body-part maker, a genetically engineered farmer, old age wellness consultants, memory surgeons, space pilots and tour guides, vertical farmers, quarantine guards, weather modification police, virtual lawyers and virtual declutterers.

>> With the Government investing £55bn into the Building Schools For the Future scheme, the hope is that the face of teaching and learning will be changed by a vast array of gadgets which schools can take advantage of. Over the next 20 years every state school in the country will be rebuilt or remodelled under the scheme, with an emphasis on modern information and communication technology. School gadgetry supplier RM has been showcasing it's new products this week, such as their touch screen whiteboard, digital graffiti wall and general virtual learning environments. RM education development manager Emma Brown commented that schools need to reassess their resources with a view to emerging technology.

>> Research released by Debenhams has shown that women's handbags are getting significantly lighter due to the use of smartphones. In 2006 the average handbag weighed 3.5kg and it now weighs just 1.5kg. This is a reduction of 57%. The use of smartphones such as the iPhone and Blackberry have meant that women only need one device for all their needs. The MP3 player, laptop, PDA, mobile phone and filofaxes can now be left at home. Debenhams say that the trend for smaller handbags is increasing each year as a result, however the weight of make-up, accessories, books, magazines and hair products still make up the bulk of the weight in handbags.

>> A vicar at St Lawrence Jewry in London carried out an unusual Plough Monday ceremony this week when he blessed the congregation's gadgets. Plough Monday is the day when farmers would traditionally bring their farm machinery to church to be blessed. Canon David Parrott explained that he wished to bring the ceremony up to date by blessing the tools of trade of the people of London. During the ceremony the congregation were asked to hold up their gadgets such as laptops, mobile phones and MP3 players. He hoped that the ceremony made the church a little more relevant, without becoming gimicky.

>> With many people starting a fitness regime for the new year, it seems that now is the time to release a number of new fitness gadgets. Slendertone have released their bottom toner. The device, which looks like a suspender belt, stimulates the sciatic nerve and claims to reshape a saggy bottom. However experts have said that walking up and down stairs will give better results. The Kifit is an armband which users wear 24 hours a day. It keeps track of calories burnt, exercise taken, heart rate and the amount of sleep the user manages. An online diary helps to keep track of food consumption and gives individual advice. The Shakeweight is a dumb-bell which vibrates and claims to be 300% more effective than weights alone. Once again experts have said that the weight is too light and that the user needs to invest more time and effort for good results.

>> Designer Elaine Shaw has designed the ultimate child's toy. A modern dolls house complete with every imaginable gadget and working accessories. The three storey house has an iMac, X-Box, flat screen tv and Art Deco paintings. She hopes that the houses will revolutionise the sector and give children and adults a more contemporary toy, compared to the traditional Victorian dolls house. She claims to use materials which are as close as possible to the real thing, including all the gadgets in the house. In some cases the gadgets work in a limited way.

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