Smartphones? Ho-hum. Televisions? Meh. PCs? Yawn.
If you're in the market for more unique tech toys, then you've come to the right place. In case you missed Y! Digital Crave’s previous round-up of odd electronics, the following are 10 more unusual gadgets and gear to spice things up in your life – or as a fun high-tech gift for those hard-to-buy types.
Bluetooth Handset Gloves
You know that international sign for "call me!," where you stick your forefinger in your ear and you extend your pinky to your mouth? Well, now there are Bluetooth-enabled Winter Gloves ($69.99) from Think Geek that lets you take a call like this, so you can keep your phone tucked away in your pocket or purse. In the left glove's thumb is a tiny speaker, and in the pinky is a small microphone. Extend them both and you can chat for up to 20 hours on a charge.
Sphero Robotic Ball
There's something about controlling things by wireless remote that excites those with a Y chromosome. As such, the 3-inch Sphero ($129.99) might be the Next Big Thing. This small robotic ball is controlled by an iPhone or Android – via Bluetooth – so you can manoeuver it around on the floor or ground in front of you. Depending on the games you're playing via free apps – and there now close to a dozen different solo and multiplayer ones – the ball turns into multiple colors and reaches speeds of up to 3 feet per second.
Metal Detecting Sandals
What’s that? You never heard of metal-detecting sandals? Believe it or not but Hammacher Schlemmer has a pair of $60 metal-detecting sandals that can scan the sand below your feet as you walk and emit a loud sound if it detects some metal below the surface. The battery pack, which also houses the speaker, straps to your calf or ankle, while the base has the detector to sniff out what’s under your feet while traipsing the Caribbean beach.
Now you can chat with your Chihuahua with the BowLingual ($99), a small device that claims to translate a dog’s bark into English. Owners must first select the correct breed on the walkie-talkie-like gadget. Then, a lightweight wireless microphone is attached to the dog’s collar, which analyzes its voiceprint when it barks, and shows one of 200 phrases on the LCD held by the owner. There’s also a free BowLingual app for iOS, too.
Aeroskull Skull Speaker
Whether you’re looking for a loud speaker dock or a creepy conversation piece – or a little of both -- the Aeroskull Skull from Jarre Technologies should do the trick for music lovers. Available in 11 colors, the premium $500 speaker dock works with iPhone and iPod touch (30-pin connector), and under the sunglasses are a pair of 15-watt speakers, while the back houses a 40 watt subwoofer. These speakers are also Bluetooth compatible, which means they work with any nearby smartphone or tablet.
How do you provide incentives for toddlers to sit down to do number one or two? Frustrated moms and dads might consider the iPotty, a small $40 toilet with an integrated iPad stand, so the little ones to play with apps or watch videos while doing their business; a washable “splash guard” protects the mounted tablet, which could be rotated between landscape and portrait view. iPotty maker CTA Digital confirms there’s also a seat cover included, so it can be used as a regular seat and pseudo desk for little ones.
Unveiled at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, the HAPIfork is a $100 “smart fork” that will count your bites and jolt your tongue and flash lights if you’re eating too fast. Yes, you read that correctly. From HAPIlabs, this fork is meant to monitor and track your eating habits, and condition you to slow down and take your time. The sensor records how long it took to eat your meal, the amount of "fork servings" taken per minute and intervals between "fork servings," and then all of this information is uploaded via USB to a password-protected website.
Cube 3D Printer
Why print in 2D when you can print in 3D? Cubify's Cube 3D printer ($1299) can create a one-color mold – measuring up to 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches of LEGO-like ABS plastic -- in about an hour or so (less time for smaller objects, like custom chess pieces). The printer itself is 14 x 14 x 18 inches and weighs about 9 pounds. Users have access to 50 printable designs out of the box, plus Cubify plans to provide a huge library of CAD files for downloading and editing. Available later this year is the Cube X, which offers three colors instead of one, faster speeds, and other features.
Targus Flexible Mobile Keyboard
Whether you like to travel light or are a clean freak, the Targus Flexible Mobile Keyboard ($29.99) might be for you as it’s a roll-up, silicone-covered USB-based keyboard that can be plugged into a laptop while on the go (or a desktop if on a stationary computer). Food particles and dust can't get wedged between the keys as with a traditional keyboard -- since it's completely covered by the silcone shell – but germophobes can wash this roll-up keyboard, if desired, which you can do with water or alcohol.
iBright Flying Alarm Clock
Have trouble waking up in the AM? The iBright Flying Alarm Clock ($14.99) has a propeller that spins and takes off into the air when the alarm is sounded – and doesn't stop until you find the propeller and place it back onto the top of the alarm clock. This product is clever and cruel at the same time, no? At least you won't be late for school or work because you hit the snooze button too many times.
Yahoo! readers, any other strange or quirky gadgets you're using? Feel free to give some suggestions below in the comments section.
- Technology & Electronics