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Top tech: five of the coolest gadgets this week

By Henry Winchester

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Date Added: 14th May 2014

This week's top tech showcases the newest 3D-printing ingenuity, flying HD cameras for stunning visuals and new subscription-based software for the indie market.

When Adobe announced its Creative Cloud subscription plan last year, naysayers inevitably said 'nay'. It seemed like an annoying way of making yet more money, and this new way of doing business wasn't expected to catch on. Adobe appears to have got it right, though, and now just about everything comes with a subscription fee rather than asking for money up front. Indeed, two of this week's offerings have switched to a reasonable $10 a month fee.

We've also found a 3D printer which floats in mid-air, a 3D printer which is being funded with flowers, and a virtual reality-compatible drone. It's all very awesome and futuristic.

1. Red Giant Universe

© Red Giant

Digital video plug-ins company Red Giant Software is the latest to jump on the subscription bandwagon with its Red Giant Universe platform. The toolset includes all the filters, transitions and generators a filmmaker could ever need, with 31 effects available for free, and an additional 19 subscriber-only tools. Access costs $10 a month, or $99 a year, or $399 for a lifetime licence.

2. Mudbox 2015

© Autodesk

Autodesk is also offering subscription-based access to the latest version of Mudbox, its digital painting and 3D sculpting software. Aimed at indie game developers and low-budget artists, Autodesk reckons it's the perfect companion to its cheapo Maya LT 2015 3D animation software. A Mudbox subscription will set you back $10 a month.

3. Flying 3D Printer Drone

© Imperial College London

Boffiins at Imperial College London have combined 2 of the biggest technological phenomena of recent years with their flying drone 3D printer robot beast thing. The levitating bot orients itself using GPS and 16 infrared cameras, and then prints objects using two chemicals which combine to make a polyurethane foam. It's designed primarily for use in areas which are unsafe for humans – but we'd still love one.

4. Mazzo di Fiori

© Joshua Harker

Artist Joshua Harker is raising funds for his 3D printing technology in a rather innovative way: by selling intricate 3D-printed floral sculptures. A $40 pledge will get you a simple Lotus flower, or you can spend $10,000 to get a complete arrangement of 12 flowers and a vase. The printer he wishes to create sounds interesting too, with multi-material capabilities and full tonal colour. It doesn't fly, though.

5. Parrot Bebop

© Parrot

Flying technology is really starting to find its feet (or propellers), and Parrot's Bebop drone looks like the best implementation of the technology yet. The slightly scary-looking drone includes an HD camera so you can get aerial shots without hiring a pilot, and you can control it with an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which is the coolest thing ever. It'll set you back $300, which isn't bad for such a capable airborne gizmo.

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