Technology: a Selection of New and High-Tech Gizmos, Computer Gear, and Gadgets
Presenting the latest and greatest in hi-tech gizmos, gear, and gadgetry
be in control like potus
During a visit to Colorado this spring, the President took a quick sidewalk spin with Sphero, a baseball-sized, self-propelled, robotic plastic ball from Boulder start-up firm Orbotix that responds to touch from an iPod screen. “How cool is that?” Barack Obama is heard saying on the much-watched YouTube video of the encounter. Now, you can play like the Prez. The peppy Bluetooth-connected, multi-color, illuminated rolling bot is being touted as a platform for innovative apps; so far, you can play self-putting golf from your iOS or Android phone or sync your phone’s camera to capture Sphero’s antic effects on your cat or dog. There’s plenty more to come, thanks to its recently offered developers’ kit. Available from amazon.com and thinkgeek.com, $129. gosphero.com.
see ahead of google glasses
Google’s see-through glasses will probably be on sale by the end of the year. In the meantime, you can experience the possibilities of cool computerized eye gear with Moverio BT-100 shades from Epson. Though devoid of onboard camera and position sensors expected from Google, this WiFi-equipped personal video display can project crisp images equivalent to an 80-inch screen onto the inside of its see-through lenses, so you can browse the Web or interact with 3D content privately, while still being able to view your surroundings. With the imminent development of Android apps, this lightweight display could also find its way into the workplace as an innovative training or visualization device. Available from amazon.com and epsonstore.com, $699. epson.com.
nix noise best in business class
You know the drill: On any given flight, someone in your row will smugly don pricey silver-and-black Bose headphones or glossy Beats by Dr. Dre with a bright red “b” on both sides as if just boosted from Bloomie’s. To stand out from the flock, consider Klipsch Mode M40 headphones, the first noise-cancelling over-ear “cans” by Indianapolis-based classic audio-speaker maker Klipsch. Molded from high-strength nylon for extra durability, the dark russet-colored headset with copper highlighting whispers distinctiveness. It squeezes 45 hours of noise-canceling from a single AAA battery—at least a third more than competitors’ units. Available from barnesandnoble.com and jr.com, $349. klipsch.com.
unleash your inner inventor
Ever have a great idea for a new gadget or fashion accessory, but couldn’t get beyond a rough sketch on the back of a napkin? The Cube is the first personal 3D prototyper, turning brainstorms into solid reality. In an hour or so, this full-volume desktop printer can extrude layer-by-layer a Lego-quality plastic replica (up to 5.5” x 5.5” x 5.5”) created from your imagination. The stereo lithography technology already produces bespoke car parts, customized prosthetics, and made-to-order orthodontics. The just-launched PC-compatible (and soon-to-be released Mac-compatible) Cube comes with easy design software to create print files and 25 free downloads from the Cubify online store, where digital craftspeople sell their 3D print-on-demand original designs. Available from cubify.com, $1,299. cubify.com.
get the skinny on the slimmest pc
Bragging rights for the most razor-thin, energy-sipping computer ideal for business travel are in keen contention these days. Apple kicked off the competition with its svelte MacBook Air line of laptops. Chipmaker Intel has upped the ante with the newly released third generation of its Ultrabook specification, featuring the latest incarnation of its incredible shrinking technology. Dubbed Ivy Bridge, it's the first micro architecture to build high-rise silicon towers on a processor chip, for even more efficient performance in less space. Among the top picks for the sharpest new Ultrabook is the Dell XPS 14, packing a well-crafted, touch-responsive, backlit keyboard in an anorectic aluminum folding case. It boasts a screen with twice the brightness of standard laptop displays, yet can run continuously for more than 11 hours on one battery charge. Available from Best Buy and dell.com, $1,000. dell.com.