24 super-cool gifts from the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor
Here in the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor, we’re renowned for our ingenuity and innovation. And, to prove it, we’ve compiled a guide containing 24 great gift ideas from innovative companies right here in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. From trendy stocking-fillers to world-leading electric hypercars and everything in between, there’s something here for every budget. We’d love to hear from you if you purchase any of the products featured here: let us know on Twitter using the hashtag #TechCorridorGifts
Company: Factor Bikes
Gift: ONE Israel Start-Up Nation Edition
Budget: £7,350 inc. VAT (plus optional extras)
It’s been quite a year for Hethel-based Factor Bikes. Their race bikes were used in all three of cycling’s ‘Grand Tours’ this year, and they notched their first WorldTour stage victory of 2020 in Italy as Alex Dowsett triumphed for the Israel Start-Up Nation team on Stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia. You can purchase the Factor ONE model which Alex rode to victory, but world-class speed and performance doesn’t come cheaply: prices start at around £7,350 inclusive of VAT, although it’s fully customisable to fit the exact body specifications and aesthetic needs of its rider.
Gift: Espresso machine
Budget: £295 (pre-order; delivery estimated January 2021)
If you’re fixated on your morning caffeine fix, deliver your morning espresso in style with this stylish and ground-breaking machine from 9Barista. Containing no electronics and only one moving part, the science is startlingly simple yet wonderfully effective. Just ask founder William Playford, who studied jet engineering at Cambridge University: “Top-quality espresso machines need three things to make perfect coffee: high pressures, perfectly controlled temperatures and precision-engineered components. These are the exact same things that a jet engine requires.” By keeping the pressure at exactly 9 bar (hence the name), you’ll get a perfect cup of crema-cloaked espresso every time. Ingenious.
Gift: Limpet smart alarm
Budget: £189.99 (complete bundle), £159.99 (motorbike bundle), £139.99 (cyclist bundle), plus £39.99 per year subscription
The Limpet from Norfolk-based Geotekk is a revolutionary smart alarm that clamps itself to a bike – whether that’s petrol-powered or pedal-powered – offering an immediate smartphone alert if it is moved without consent. When the alarm is activated it will unleash a piercing noise, a super-powerful strobe light, and automatic GPS tracking. Its remarkably tough construction means that a potential thief will have no way of removing the device, making them an easy target once the authorities are notified. For motorbikes, the additional throttle lock attachment disables both the throttle and brake lever for even more security. The Limpet is due to launch in March 2021 and can be pre-ordered now.
Budget: Free to try, membership from £5.25 per month
For those loved ones that don’t fancy outdoor pursuits during the chilly winter months, how about getting them immersed in an alternate reality full of legend and lore? RuneScape, from Cambridge-based Jagex, is one of the longest-established online role-playing games in the world. It’s set in a medieval fantasy land that’s full of gods, warring races, unexplored dungeons and glittering riches. Available for PC, Mac and mobile, you create a character and explore an ever-evolving living world where new challenges, skills and quests await. Compete, trade and collaborate with other human players from all over the world as you aim to build your fortune and become a hero!
Gift: DNA Transform kit
In the ongoing battle to manage our health, epigenetics is the latest buzzword. Our genetic makeup is programmed into our DNA, but we can affect our epigenetics through our lifestyle. Ipswich-based Muhdo uses custom technology to analyse a saliva sample and look at more than 1,000 genetic areas – more than any other DNA health profile. The profiling is being used by elite athletes such as 2017 World’s Strongest Man Eddie Hall and a host of Olympic medallists. Muhdo is the first company in the world to offer a regular epigenetics profiling programme direct to consumers, so if you want a cutting-edge wellness gift for someone special this Christmas, this is surely it.
Budget: Approx. £2m
If you get lucky on the lottery over Christmas, a Lotus Evija should definitely be at the top of your local shopping list. This stunning all-electric hypercar, hand-built in Hethel near Norwich, harnesses almost 2,000 horsepower; this makes it the most powerful production vehicle available anywhere in the world right now. An 80% recharge takes just 12 minutes and it has a range of 215 miles, so you’ll rarely be out of the driver’s seat. Only 130 of these astonishing vehicles will be made, so if you have a couple of million quid kicking around and want to own an electrifying part of automotive history, what are you waiting for?
Company: Raspberry Pi/ The Pi Hut
Budget: £165 (8-inch display), £225 (10-inch display), plus Raspberry Pi computer (£33.90-£73.50)
If you know someone who’s always pining for the button-bashing excitement of an old-fashioned amusement arcade, this mini arcade cabinet powered by Cambridge-based Raspberry Pi will fulfil all their nostalgic needs, without the need to keep pumping in coins when the ‘GAME OVER’ message appears. There’s a catch, though: before they can start their pixelated pilgrimage, they’ll need to build and program the machine. This is very much in line with the Raspberry Pi mission statement: to put the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world.
Gift: Sisu Reclaimed Wood Standing Desk
Budget: £1,020 including VAT (optional extras available)
A lot of newly created work-from-home routines involve slouching on the sofa with a laptop or sitting at the dinner table on a flat-backed dining chair. Norwich-based Flomotion may have an ideal solution: they’re specialists in standing desk technology. This sleek and sophisticated Sisu desk is made from reclaimed wood and features an award-winning height-control panel that can be operated via your smartphone. Optional extras include swivel-lock castors, an under-desk drawer, cable trays and monitor arms. Flomotion also offers a frame-only option if someone is looking to adapt an existing desk, plus a range of ergonomic, active seating solutions.
If you’re looking for a creative wellbeing gift for someone who plans to stay inside this winter, Cambridge-based lighting gurus Lumie have been creating lights to combat seasonal affective disorder – or SAD – for nearly 30 years. They invented the first ‘wake-up light’ in 1993, and their Bodyclock alarm clock is a best-seller. Other products include the Clear, which naturally removes mild-to-moderate acne, and the Bedbug, which uses LED technology to provide sleep-optimised lighting for the little ones. The newest addition to their stable is the gorgeous, ultra-minimalist Halo lamp. It simulates sunlight in Day Mode to improve mood, energy and focus, and to help banish the symptoms of winter blues. Its gentle, reduced-blue light content in Evening Mode promotes rest and relaxation.
Beccles-based Berry M&H manufactures an innovative wine bottle that has recently won multiple awards for innovation and sustainable packaging. The custom-moulded flat wine bottle that they’re producing, invented by and produced exclusively for London-based Garçon Wines, was specifically designed to fit through an average UK letterbox. It’s made from 100% recycled PET, thus contributing to circular economies, and the bottles are 87% lighter and 40% spatially smaller than traditional wine bottles. Empty bottles wouldn’t make a great present, so why not treat your friends and family to something from the Garçon Wines range, straight onto their doormat?
Company: dCS Audio
Gift: Vivaldi playback system
Cambridge company dCS has over 30 years’ experience in creating world-leading audio products. Their mission is to allow people to experience studio-quality sound at home, and the Vivaldi is their flagship system. It consists of four components: a DAC (digital-to-analogue converter), upsampler, master clock and CD transport. Encased in aerospace-grade aluminium, each model is assembled by hand and put through over 700 performance tests before it leaves the factory. For the serious audiophile, there’s simply no better sound; the Vivaldi earnt no less an accolade than the prestigious Queen’s Award for Innovation. If your pockets are deep enough, this is one gift that really will keep on giving.
Visit dcsltd.co.uk for list of stockists
Company: Chronicle Storytelling
Gift: Memory Box
In these times of social isolation, memories from the past can play a vital role in connecting us to the present. Suffolk-based Chronicle Storytelling has devised a beautiful way of bringing those memories to life: by adding an adhesive microchip to old photographs, you can simply touch them onto the box to trigger audio playback of an associated story through the inbuilt speaker. You can work with the company to create a unique Memory Box for your loved ones. It’s designed to be as simple as possible: as there are no apps to download, and no smartphones, PCs or iPads to navigate.
T560 Electric Scooter
Gift: Electric Scooter
Budget: £1,692 inc. VAT (optional extras available)
The electric scooter is probably the must-have gadget for the discerning urban techie in 2021. While the market is saturated with ‘cheap and cheerful’ imitations, Hethel-based Autokraft is building robust and reliable scooters right here in East Anglia; some 70% of the parts are manufactured in the region, too. The 24-volt, 350-watt DC motor packs enough punch to power the scooter to 25kph with a range of around 50km, and the 5-amp charger will fully recharge the scooter in under five hours. If you want to ‘pimp your ride’, there’s a raft of cool extras available, including lights, a speedometer, custom paint and decals, and even a higher-output battery.
The Autokraft electric scooter is due to launch in the UK in early 2021. Get your name on the waitlist or find out more details by emailing: email@example.com
Gift: ViewRanger app
Budget: Free (premium access £24.99 per year)
ViewRanger is a free GPS navigation app used by millions of people around the world to plan, navigate, record and share their outdoor adventures. Started as long ago as 2006 in the founders’ spare rooms in Cambridge, the app has grown into a thriving community that’s frequented by national parks, outdoor brands, and even search-and-rescue teams. Combining the world’s best offline maps with interactive route guides and advanced GPS navigation features, ViewRanger is the ultimate adventure tool for anyone exploring the great outdoors. The premium version contains full OS maps, as well as augmented reality, 3D fly-throughs and live tracking. Why not sign up your family and close friends to compare activities in 2021?
Gift: Dog Activity Monitor
Budget: £39 (optional £4 monthly subscription for additional benefits)
Many of us will already own a smartwatch that tracks our activity and reports its findings to an app on our phone. How many of us apply the same technological innovation to our four-legged friends, though? It’s easy to assume that your pooch is happy and healthy if their tail is wagging, but with Cambridge tech company Pitpat’s innovative dog tracker app you can truly keep tabs on the health of your hound. Set your dog’s optimum weight, then use the app to monitor their exercise, rest, calories and distance. With the optional subscription you’ll get additional perks, including the opportunity to collect points… and points mean prizes!
Company: New Chapter New Home
Gift: Wi-fi Coaster
Based at Snetterton Business Park in South Norfolk, New Chapter New Home have been seriously upscaling their 3D-printed homeware business in the past 12 months. One of the niftiest little gadgets in their catalogue is this smart wi-fi coaster. An ideal stocking-filler for family and friends, you’ll never again have to worry about finding that little piece of plastic with the long and indecipherable password on it. When you want to connect a handheld device to the network, just pop it on the coaster and click ‘connect’ in the box on your phone. The compact coaster is 10cm in diameter and only 3mm thick, and comes in a choice of five colours.
Company: Coral Eyewear
Gift: Vaquita Polarised Mirror Sunglasses
Do you know someone who’s effortlessly stylish, but still ecologically conscious? Fashion and sustainability aren’t always natural bedfellows, but Coral Eyewear is one company that’s seeking to put a change to that. George Bailey, a student at UEA in Norwich, had a vision to create a range of renewable glasses and sunglasses from a material called Econyl. It’s created by rescuing waste found at sea and in landfills, then sorting and cleaning the plastic to recover the nylon. The regenerated nylon goes on to form a strong frame for eyewear that you can trust to be as tough as virgin plastic – without damaging our planet.
Company: Avant Tecno
Gift: Avant e5 and e6 fully electric multifunctional loaders
Budget: Starting circa £30,000
Finnish-owned Avant Tecno produces world-leading loading solutions and has its UK headquarters in Bridgham near Thetford. The remarkable all-electric Avant loader series, models e5 and e6, are compatible with around 200 different attachments, providing a vast array of solutions for a range of settings from agriculture and equestrian to construction and sports facilities. Attachments are easy to switch between, and with no combustion engine it’s quiet, pollution-free and incredibly reliable. A bucket attachment and pallet forks are just the beginning. From lawnmowers to pressure washers, and hydraulic platforms to concrete mixers, Avant has it covered. Rumour has it that this is what Santa himself uses to move the gifts around in his Lapland HQ…
Company: Captain Fawcett
Gift: Shaving Brush, Razor and Shaving Soap Gift Set
Although the majority of the gifts in this guide are focused firmly on the future, Captain Fawcett’s range of delectable men’s grooming goods harks back to a bygone era of bushy moustaches, nautical exploration and dashing derring-do. From their base in King’s Lynn, they produce a cornucopia of oils, balms and shaving goods to satisfy even the most exacting of faces. Among the treasure trove of delights is this classy shaving set, to keep that stiff upper lip smooth and supple; alternatively, if the man in your life prefers to cultivate his facial hair, why not check out the shop on their website to find something that suits?
Gift: Rehook PLUS
Rehook is an ingenious tool to get your chain back on your bicycle. It was created by Norwich-based Wayne Taylor after his chain came off and he arrived late for a meeting with oil-stained hands and a soiled shirt. There was no effective solution on the market, so Wayne created Rehook. The tool’s patented design keeps your hands and clothes clean, while the adjustable silicon strap attaches to your bike frame for immediate accessibility. This year, the Rehook PLUS has been launched – it also includes a number of other bike essentials, including tyre levers, spoke keys, wrenches and hex keys. It’s an ideal stocking filler for your cyclist comrade!
Company: Bookbugs and Dragon Tales
Gift: Northern Lights by Sir Philip Pullman, Gift Edition
This spellbinding independent bookshop in the centre of Norwich developed a remarkable solution to its enforced shutdown during the coronavirus lockdown: it created a world-first fully interactive online version of the shop. Accessible through the shop’s website at bookbugsanddragontales.com, why not browse the store remotely? Although the shop specialises in books, classes and events for children, there’s no shortage of fiction and non-fiction for the grown-ups, too. For the best of both worlds, Norwich-born author Sir Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights is a timeless story for older children and adults alike. The first instalment of the His Dark Materials trilogy that’s currently being dramatised on BBC One is a remarkable adventure that will draw you into Lyra’s epic quest.
The smart Safe Distancing Assistant (SDA) is a collaboration between Norwich-based tech startup Pathfindr and Thetford-based manufacturing company Vanilla Electronics. It’s a light and discreet device that emits a short audible or vibrating alert when another wearer is detected within a safe distance. Staff are therefore kept safer, and businesses are less likely to close due to staff sickness. It lasts a whole working week on a single charge, and there’s also a contact tracing option. If you’re a business owner, this could be the most productive present you buy your employees this Christmas.
Gift: Organic fruit/vegetable boxes
Budget: From £9.50 with free delivery
The organic revolution is showing no signs of slowing down; sourcing ingredients locally has become even more popular during these difficult times. If you know someone who likes to eat healthily but doesn’t have the time to tend to an allotment, why not buy them a subscription to receive a regular box of farm-fresh Norfolk organic produce? As well as fresh fruit and veg, you can get other organic everyday essentials – such as wholefoods, beer and wine, coffee and even health and beauty products – delivered to your door by one of Goodery’s fleet of zero-emission vehicles. If you’re spoilt for choice, why not give a Goodery gift card as a stocking-stuffer?
Gift: One-year gift subscription
Budget: £6 – £60
If you’re looking for a gift for the runner in your life, look no further than a TrainAsONE gift subscription. The multi-award-winning, AI-powered training app constantly adjusts every training plan according to the individual’s data and goals. Whether they’re a complete newbie or a marathon maverick, the app will keep them fit and healthy in training for their goals, while targeting a significant reduction in injury risk. Complete the form at the link above and your lucky buddy will receive an email containing a gift token and instructions on how to redeem their subscription, along with a personalised message from you.