Sometimes gadgets go beyond simple necessity and actually inspire the imagination with their creativity, practicality or cleverness. After all, what is great technology if not the truest example of human ingenuity?
Here are some of this year’s coolest gadgets:
Starts at $6,100
Remember all that talk years ago about being able to control things like the stove and air conditioner in all parts of your home remotely? Well, it looks like that reality is finally more than hot air — behold the Savant, a unified console that can link to your wireless Apple device and lets you control all the important stuff in your home from one place, or even anywhere in the world. Yes, you can whip out your iPhone in Paris to turn down the heating in your empty Canadian condo. Pull up a picture of a particular room in your home and control things in that specific room like lights, security systems and even your stereo system remotely. It’s not cheap, but for the people drooling over it, price will probably be no obstacle to getting this thing.
uCorder wearable camcorder
Tiny and convenient, the uCorder is a nifty little video camera small enough to actually carry around with you so you’ll be ready to tape your next lecture, whale sighting or hilarious karaoke moment instead of just wishing you had brought your large clunker along. Measuring 3.5-inches tall, 1-inch wide and 0.5-inch thick, it’s definitely one of the smallest video cameras around. It easily fits into a shirt pocket or clips to a lanyard and can even be pinned to clothing for your next bungee jump. Records in standard AVI or audio-only WAV file formats and available with 1 or 2 GB of memory.
Escort Entourage CIS powered by Blackline GPS
$399.95 + $14.95 monthly subscription fee
For the true car lover (and worrier-abouter), the Escort Entourage CIS is a satellite-capable tracking device that lets you get a handle on where your car is at all times, track it remotely online or on your smartphone, and eventually send the authorities out to recover it. Tamper-sensing technology will alert you by email and text message if your car gets broken into or stolen, and you can then track its location in real time on Google Maps or Microsoft Earth. Pretty nifty for also keeping tabs on where your teenage son is actually taking the car when he says he’s heading to the movies — and you can even tell how fast the car is being driven. Turn it on or off using your own wireless key.
IlaDusk women’s personal safety alarm
Named after the Sanskrit goddess of speech, this alarm emits a high-decibel, piercing female scream when activated that is loud enough to disorient an attacker and command the attention of anyone nearby, to help prevent a sexual assault. Unlike other alarms, this one is stylish and sleek when it attaches neatly to a keyring or clipped to the outside of a handbag, meaning women will be far more likely to have it at hand when needed — which can make all the difference.
Panasonic Pro-Curve 4-blade men’s shaver
For the guy who wants to pamper his face (and has the cash to do so), the Pro-Curve has four nano-technology shaped blades and can be used for wet or dry shaves with its wicked-fast 14,000 rpm motor. A built-in sonic vibration cleaning mode, pop-up trimmer, illuminated LCD screen, 45-minute continuous charge and ready for universal voltage (100-240V) no matter where you travel, despite the expense, it’s hard to find a more capable and satisfying shaver.