Everyone wants that hunk of metal they’re toting around to be the “next big thing.” But a really good gadget makes it so you can’t imagine life without it. With the holidays approaching, distinguishing between the two can mean the best gift ever—or a total bust. Here are six we guarantee won’t gather dust on that weird basement shelf. (And remember—you can get gifts for yourself, too!
Image source sxc.hu
1. The iKettle
It’s a familiar dilemma: you can’t get out of bed before you’ve had a cup of coffee, but making a cup of coffee requires getting out of bed. It’s a surprise any of us ever get anything done. But it’s 2013 now, and the world is in luck—where before there was grumbling and terrible scalding accidents, now there’s the iKettle. This cheerful water-boiling robot is controlled by an app on your iPhone, so you can wake up to a fresh cup without investing any labor into the process.
The kettle has two different heat settings for tea or coffee, and it also acts as an alarm to get your day underway. The cost is expected to be around $160—which seems steep, until you realize it’ll pay for itself in a couple of months if it helps you kick your Starbucks habit.
2. Netatmo Connected Weather Station
As much as humans love to complain about the weather, we sure take our indoor environment for granted—when’s the last time you thought about it beyond tweaking the thermostat? But this is a mistake—indoor heat, humidity and CO2 levels can actually affect our quality of life, and the wrong combo can leave us feeling sick and debilitated. Your home environment can hamper your cognitive behavior, too—a study in 2012 by the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University showed that moderately high levels of carbon dioxide can harm our reasoning and decision making.
The Netatmo system is powered by an iPhone or Android App, and sends alerts when there is an issue with the air quality. Helpful hints urge you to open a window and it will tell you to stop ventilating when it’s safe to do so. Expect to pay in the region of $200.00—but it’s worth it for your health, right?
3. Transparent TV
If you happen to look up “cool” in the dictionary this holiday season, a picture of this incredible transparent device will appear. When not in use, the TV appears to be a plain sheet of glass or Perspex, but thanks to current Oled technology, it has the capacity to broadcast solid, moving pictures just like any other television on the market.
The Oled system (which stands for Organic Light Emitting Diodes, for those that love their science) already promised to bring us better picture quality than ever before, but Michael Friebe has developed it a stage further with the Loewe Invisio—a transparent TV set that displays crystal clear images while blending perfectly with the décor inside any home. Now you just have to hope the football game matches the drapes.
4. Harvest Geek HarvestBot Sensor Station
It’s about time that dirt caught up with the digital age. Surely there has to be help at hand for those of us who endure back breaking work digging over soil, planting flowers and crops, and tending to them throughout the worst of the weather.
The bad news: Harvest Geek system won’t do the digging for you. But if you’rre an enthusiastic home gardener, this clever device will help you to get the best out of your yard. A small, waterproof gadget is placed in the soil and relays information back to the sensor in real time, telling you about humidity, air temperature, soil moisture and more.
The equipment was designed with farms in mind to help them maximise the harvest, but green-thumbed hobbyists have made the Harvestbot a familiar sight in small plots all over the US.
5. Frankenstein Labs Einstein’s Brain Desk Lamp
Some gadgets thrill you just by attracting attention. This Einstein’s Brain Lamp, which looks like a brain suspended in a jar, will make your work environment lighter AND more lighthearted—and might help you chat with that cute coworker, if they’re into that kind of thing.
Each of these lamps is handmade, so every product is unique. They come fitted with a red bulb for extra gore—but if you want to lighten the mood a little, then you can switch it out for any color of your choice. NB, Einstein’s real brain is not included, as it now resides in the National Museum of Health and Medicine.
6. SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security System
Some of these gadgets have niche appeal, but one gift that will prove useful for anyone who ever leaves their house is a wireless home security system from SimpliSafe. This unique system allows a homeowner to check in on their property in real time, 24 / 7 and from anywhere in the world. The equipment can even be armed and disarmed remotely, and comes with optional professional monitoring. At around fifty cents a day for complete peace of mind, it’s not a bad deal—and you’ll have something to protect your iKettle and brain desk lamp.
Are you a gadget geek? What do you want for the holidays?
This guest post was written by Cara Giaimo, a blogger for SimpliSafe. If anyone was wondering, she would like a robot frog for Christmas. SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security is making its way to the top of its industry.