Six pioneering products set to transform how we live

Six super-smart innovations set to raise the bar next year in travel, electronics, cosmetics and home appliances

A prototype of the Platypus Blue Ocean in action | Video: Platypus Craft

A semi-submersible boat

Nine years ago, inventor and diving enthusiast François-Alexandre Bertrand took out a patent for a semi-submersible craft for exploring shallow waters that offers an experience he likens to “flying under the water”. After innumerable prototypes, the first fully operational Platypus Blue Ocean will be delivered in 2019. The vessel enables passengers to sit 2m below the surface for a snorkelling-cum-diving experience that requires a simple air mask rather than an oxygen tank (our video depicts the two-seater prototype, but the version on sale will fit four). Underwater piloting is via a digital periscope and there’s also an in-built communication system for underwater conversation. Perfect for bays, lagoons and calm, clear seas, it enables relaxed exploration of the marine world. It also opens up opportunities for underwater experiences for those with disabilities. Depending on the the model, the Blue Ocean can travel at up to 20 knots above water or at three knots below, with prices ranging from €125,000 to €147,500. platypus-submarine.com. CAMILLA APCAR

Platypus Blue Ocean semisubmersible boat, from €125,000
Platypus Blue Ocean semisubmersible boat, from €125,000
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A lipstick for life

Nicolas Gerlier spent 10 years working for L’Oréal, Armani and Lancôme before launching La Bouche Rouge, the world’s first refillable luxury lipstick. Having witnessed the disposable and polluting nature of the cosmetic industry – which produces around 1bn lipsticks a year – Gerlier wanted to create a desirable and lasting objet with a pure make-up formula containing no microplastics. Aided by LVMH’s cosmetology research division, he has achieved his goal. The 25 shades of lipstick come in stainless-steel tubes encased in double-tanned calfskin. For each lipstick sold, the company supplies 100 litres of safe drinking water to the charitable association Eau Vive Internationale. La Bouche Rouge arrives in the UK, exclusively at Harrods, in early summer 2019. laboucherougeparis.com. KATE FINNIGAN

La Bouche Rouge refillable lipsticks
La Bouche Rouge refillable lipsticks
SensePro sensor-control induction hob, from £1,299
SensePro sensor-control induction hob, from £1,299

The smart probe hob

In April 2019, AEG will launch a sensor-control induction hob, which is equipped with what it says is the world’s first wireless and battery-less food probe, capable of measuring the core temperature of food to within 1˚C. When the probe is placed in food, it wirelessly feeds back the temperature to the hob, which adjusts itself accordingly. Users can pre-select dishes to cook using the touch-control display to set the temperature for simmering a sauce, boiling liquids or pan-frying steak to rare, medium or well-done preferences – the temperature control is so precise that it is even possible to sous‑vide on the surface. The SensePro hob will be priced at £1,299, for a 60cm hob, and £1,599 for an 80cm model. aeg.co.uk. JACKIE DALY

Samsung foldable tablet
Samsung foldable tablet
Muraka two-storey semi-submerged villa at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, around $50,000 per night
Muraka two-storey semi-submerged villa at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, around $50,000 per night | Image: Justin Nicholas

A foldable tablet

Every year or so, we are told ’90s-style flip phones are back. They are not; it usually means a bunch of millennials have been tweeting about the compactness of vintage tech. But there’s a good chance 2019 will see a kind of giant flip phone – a mini tablet that folds to make it more-or-less pocketable. There is still cause for scepticism, but leading the charge is Samsung, whose Infinity Flex-screen model is rumoured to be called the Samsung F – or the Galaxy X. Expect a 4.58in screen like a book cover, opening out to a whopping 7.3in when unfolded. Samsung says it is ready for production and forecasts a run of 1m units. Motorola, Huawei, LG, Apple and boutique Californian company Royole may also have contenders in development. samsung.com. JONATHAN MARGOLIS 

Voice-activated LED Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, from $1,665
Voice-activated LED Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, from $1,665
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The subaquatic villa

Last month, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island opened the doors to a $15m two-storey hotel villa, professed to be the world’s first semi-submerged residence, creating what promises to be one of 2019’s most unique holiday getaways. Named the Muraka, or coral, it seeks to provide guests with an “intimate and immersive experience of one of the world’s most breathtaking marine environments”. Uniquely, the entire lower floor is a transparent dome that sits 5m below the surface of the Indian Ocean. The 600-ton structure was built in Singapore and hoisted by crane onto a special ship for transportation to the Maldives, where it was secured under the ocean by 10 legs concreted into steel piles. The floor above the water accommodates an integrated living-kitchen-dining space with an entertainment deck, king-size bedroom and bathroom, powder room, gym, infinity pool and butler’s quarters. A spiral staircase leads down to the underwater floor, which comprises a second king-size bedroom and bathroom in addition to a living area. The villa costs around $50,000 per night, depending on how guests customise their experience. conradmaldives.com. JACKIE DALY

High-tech wellness bathrooms

Kohler’s Konnect collection – an app-controlled digital shower system, bathtub filler, toilet and mirror – enables users to interact using voice commands and to set personalised programmes, such as a post-sports massaging shower. The LED Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror – launched last month in the US and priced from $1,665 – claims to be the first bathroom mirror on the market with built-in Amazon Alexa. The mirror will act as a hub controlling other voice-activated fittings when they become available next year: the DTV+ Shower System (on sale early 2019) sets water, steam, light and sound, while the Numi Intelligent toilet (which senses the user to provide hands‑free flushing and seat heating) will launch by the end of 2019, alongside a voice-activated kitchen faucet. Kohler plans to launch the Verdera Voice mirror in other markets around the world in the coming year. kohler.com. JACKIE DALY

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