October 30, 2008 / 8:36 AM / 12 years ago

Rise above economic woes with the hover chair

LONDON (Reuters) - A “Star Wars” inspired hover chair, a speedy electric motorbike and stereo speakers that cost as much as a small house are among the attractions at Britain’s biggest gadget show in London this weekend.

The Lounger, a chair that uses powerful magnets to float in the air, in an undated photo. The "Star Wars" inspired hover chair, a 125 mph electric motorbike and hi-fi speakers that cost as much as a small house are among the attractions at Britain's biggest gadget show in London this weekend. REUTERS/Stuff magazine/ Handout

Organizers of Stuff Live hope thousands of visitors will forget their financial worries for a few hours and dream instead about the latest high tech toys.

Scores of exhibitors will show off everything from a pocket-sized DJ mixing desk, a solar-powered mobile phone charger and a “robot guitar” that uses tiny motors to tune its own strings.

Among the more unusual items on show is the British-designed Lounger, a chair that uses powerful magnets to float in the air.

Inventor Keith Dixon, of Sussex-based Hoverit Ltd, said he was inspired as a child by the anti-gravity Landspeeder vehicles in the “Star Wars” films.

“The sensation you feel as you lie back and close your eyes is totally different — like floating on a cloud,” said a Stuff Live spokesman. Its 6,000 pound ($9,620) price tag may bring visitors back down to earth with a bump, however.

For those after something less sedate, U.S. company Vectrix has a prototype of a high performance motorbike powered by an electric motor.

The sporty aluminum bike has a top speed of 125 mph, a range of 44 miles and costs nearly 40,000 pounds.

That’s cheap compared to another star attraction: a pair of limited edition curvy metal loudspeakers worth 70,000 pounds.

The Muon speakers, made by Kent-based company KEF, are well over six feet tall and have a thick shell of aluminum to minimize vibrations from the four-way speaker system.

KEF describes them as “a truly contemporary art form appropriate for 21st century living.”

Computer maker Asus will show off a laptop covered in laminated strips of fast-growing bamboo rather than plastic in an attempt to make it more environmentally sustainable.

* Stuff Live 2008 (www.stufflive.co.uk), organized by the technology and gadget magazine Stuff, runs from Friday to Sunday at the ExCeL center in London’s Docklands.

Editing by Steve Addison and Paul Casciato

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