“You can stop your skin aging—this is not myth or magic, it’s validated science,” says Dr. Graeme Glass, a prominent British plastic, craniofacial, and aesthetic surgeon. “The breakthrough beauty product of the decade.”
He is speaking about the Lyma Laser, a new home-use device from a London start-up, which its makers say can improve the skin of anyone of any skin tone with acne, wrinkles, scarring, rosacea, or sagging. It has already been attracting many favorable reviews and has just gone on sale, F.D.A.-approved, in the U.S. (Lyma’s initial offering, a not-inexpensive dietary supplement that comes in beautiful copper packaging, is already a cult favorite.)
Dr. Glass—full disclosure—has plenty of skin in the game, you might say; he was involved in developing the products and is the company’s aesthetic director. But his standing in his professional field is such that it’s highly unlikely he would put his name to a treatment which wasn’t the real deal.
Lyma claims their laser is far more powerful than L.E.D. devices and can show results within 12 weeks. It’s certainly a lot more expensive than L.E.D. anti-aging wands, at $2,695 plus $149 a month for the necessary mist and serum, after the initial month’s supply.
Lyma is said to work by shining medical-grade laser light deep down into the skin, to the lowest layer of the dermis, where it stimulates the skin cells to recharge, regenerate, and repair rather than die off—as human skin cells have a habit of doing as early as when we’re in our 20s.
Is it safe? Lyma says it is, and the F.D.A. has given it a green light. Does it work? It seems to have its adherents in considerable numbers, but google around for long enough and you will soon find an argument that Botox is as effective or more so.
We will be trying a sample Lyma Laser over the next few months and reporting back. Or you could take the plunge ahead of our test. Searches on eBay for both the British and the U.S. versions show none being offered for resale—a sketch litmus test suggesting that pioneering Lyma owners are not desperate to unload them.
CANON ZOOM DIGITAL MONOCULAR
When smartphones first appeared in the large, flattened, oblong-ish shape they are now—we’re talking early BlackBerry through to pioneering Windows Mobile devices such as the Motorola Q and the Samsung BlackJack—the idea of putting such a cumbersome-looking object up to your ear was slightly ludicrous.
Once the iPhone came along, in 2007, voice calling was already starting to decline in favor of texting. Which was helpful, because early iPhones were not at all good at calls. So, at around the same time that we got more used to seeing people with big rectangles clamped to their ear, fewer people were doing it and were prodding touch screens instead.
The new, growing, and equally comical use of these oversize cell phones was to take photographs and videos. And to this day—even though we all do it—holding up a flat playback screen to film a scene isn’t only undignified and a little awkward, it’s a bit too conspicuous in public.
This tiny, handheld camcorder, which Canon first launched in Japan, then only later globally, is ergonomically far better than any smartphone. Hold it up to your eye; see what you’re capturing through its eyepiece; shoot.
Because almost a whole generation is unused to seeing people with a camera to their eye, it is minimally attention-attracting. The compact device looks more like some kind of miniature surveying instrument than a camcorder. Speaking of which, those are quite the rarity today for non-professional videographers, given the popularity of smartphones.
But the Canon Zoom Digital Monocular is made neither for political activism nor for TikTok. It is for videoing or photographing a distant scene in 1080p quality, or full high-definition. It could be action on a sports field, a rare bird or creature in the yard, or a performer at a concert. It is primarily a telephoto device, hence the “monocular” title.
Canon only recently rebranded it as a monocular to emphasize what it’s meant to be. As well as clarifying the purpose, they also seem to have upgraded the performance from the time of its launch, although they don’t say they have. But it’s really pretty good, even if you might not use it to make a movie, as some have done with iPhones.
Unique form factor and ergonomics aside, the Canon’s zoom ability is impressive, up to the equivalent of an 800-mm. camera lens—approximately 9.6-times magnification—and this from nearly five ounces nestled in one hand. Anyone who has tried a smartphone camera at any kind of telephoto length will know it’s seldom great.
The Canon also offers good image stabilization, face tracking, and the ability to synchronize with a smartphone to record as well as capture footage on its own microSD card.
We love this palm-size robot dog from Petoi, a company specializing in bionic robotic pets. Home robotics is one of those technologies that is permanently promised for a few years hence but never quite happens. Unless you regard a washing machine or a home-heating controller as a robot that just doesn’t happen to look like a humanoid or animal.
Bittle, as this servo-actuated quadruped is called, doesn’t do anything useful like fetch a cup of coffee. But it is fascinating to watch in action, performing some clever maneuvers, from walking to running to rolling around. It comes with a remote control pre-programmed with a wide variety of tricks, but if you’re into STEM-type coding—or, more likely, have access to a young person who is—you can program the robot with new tasks.
Users have posted YouTube clips of independently programmed Bittles performing backflips and synchronized-gymnastics routines.
Bittle comes either pre-assembled or as a kit. We chose the kit version to sample, and rather regretted it, as construction was fun until it came to the legs, which were extremely hard to build. Petoi has some good tips for doing so but has decided that all new kits leaving the factory will have the legs pre-assembled, leaving the more fun parts of the build to you.
Aside from those troublesome legs, Bittle snaps together easily and is remarkably tough. One user discovered that it is strong enough to stand on when it’s lying down.
Petoi’s founder and C.E.O., Rongzhong Li, could be a tech name to watch. A self-described “maker, photographer, poet, and interdisciplinary explorer,” he has a degree in physics from Nanjing University, in China, and a computer-science master’s and physics Ph.D. from Wake Forest University.
While spending a few weeks working on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, your columnist was seized by a very British desire for some Cheshire cheese: a crumbly, white variety from northern England. With some trepidation, he entered the nearby Zabar’s market to ask if they had ever heard of Cheshire. They had, indeed, and pointed to about six varieties, more than what is available at most U.K. supermarkets.
That experience led me to discover a new free app for the cheese-obsessed on either side of the Atlantic. Cheezus, created by a British developer living in France, aims to identify hundreds of types visually via your smartphone camera. It then uses cloud-based A.I. to steer the user toward information and, naturally, mongers. One of its best functions is to help users find cheeses similar to ones they can’t find in local stores.
Cheezus is also an interesting example of the burgeoning use of recognition technology and the way a database can grow in range and power, given the involvement of a community of the like-minded. At the moment, that is to say, Cheezus is good but is improving daily as more users contribute their knowledge.
How well does Cheezus work? We tested it using a variety of cheese inquiries with one trick, and were highly impressed with the results. It deftly distinguished between Brie and Camembert, something many casual cheese-lovers often fail at. Comté, a fairly boring-looking cheese with few distinguishing marks, was correctly recognized.
What, some may ask, is the logical case for a cheese-identifier app, when the food is typically labeled? Cheezus provides a fun activity for connoisseurs (turophiles, as we are known), and is also an information resource. But—and we admit that this is a little geeky—it also offers a fascinating insight into the power of A.I. and big data.
Based in London and New York, AIR MAIL’s tech columnist, Jonathan Margolis, spent more than two decades as a technology writer for the Financial Times. He is also the author of A Brief History of Tomorrow, a book on the history of futurology