It seems that year by year, society inches closer to becoming the techno-utopia characterized decades ago in the “Jetsons” cartoon series. No one could have known in the 1960s that Hanna-Barbera would so adeptly predict the future, but as long as inventors continue to roll out more and more advanced contraptions designed to make our lives easier and better, it could be no time at all when we’ll all be subject to George Jetson’s grueling work schedule of 3-hours-a-day, 3-days-a-week. Here are some of this year’s best and brightest techno gadgets.
Video Game Gadgets
- Nintendo Wii: Oh, didn’t Nintendo make the very day and life of every teenager in the world with the release of the Wii, an interactive gaming system that you control with your movements, rather than the quickness of your fingers. The Wii has the thinnest console of any gaming system and is so much fun to play that it even has a strong contingent of non-gamer adult fans, as well.
- PlayStation Portable: This super-slick, handheld game device puts those GameBoys of the 1990s to serious shame. With all the simple aesthetic beauty and the complex usability of an Apple device, the PSP can play over 350 games, 460 feature length films, MP3s, photos, and more.
- I-Vue K59 Video Eyeglasses: Talk about escapism, these glasses, meant as a replacement for a traditional digital monitor, strap on to your face and allow you to view 3D videos and games on a 922,000 pixel LCD screen. Dorky? Yes. But hardcore gamers are sure to appreciate the up-close-and-personal effect it delivers.
- Alienware Area 51 M15x: Video game enthusiasts can travel easily now with this ultimate gaming laptop. It’s been called the “most potent 15-inch laptop in the known universe” by Wired Magazine.
- Rock Band Video Game: Less a gadget than a complex video game, Rock Band is brought to you by the makers of Guitar Hero, and it combines real-time music making with gaming using all the instruments and elements found in a traditional band – guitars, bass, drums, and vocals.
- FPS Gaming Vest: This vest allows gamers to more closely live out the lives of the characters they control with simulated responses that create precise impacts on your person as they happen to your character. For example, if your character gets spayed with bullets, you, too, would feel the pounding sensations across your chest.
- Canon EOS Digital Rebel Xt: This highly-rated 8.0 megapixel camera is lightweight and offers all the quality and capability of an SLR camera at an affordable price.
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80: A camera that delivers more superior picture quality than most other point-and-shoots for a midrange price of $250.
- Canon DC 40: Featuring a functional and sleek design, this budget video camera has received high ratings from many tech enthusiasts for its quality and low-light capabilities.
- Panasonic AG-HVX200: Quite possibly the best handheld, high-definition camera ever produced, this product is loved by professional filmmakers and documentarians across the world.
- JVC DLA-RS2 Projector: A 1080p home theater projector that offers a 30,000:1 contrast ratio! Superb professional quality for your living room.
- Backyard Drive-In Projection Screens: Hook that new JVC projector up and point it out your window onto one of these awesome screens that give you a drive-in experience in your own yard.
- Leica M8 Camera: Leica enthusiasts will be thrilled by the introduction of this awesome little digital camera that has a retro design and is what the manufacturers are calling “future-proof,” since it has some of the highest resolution lenses available.
- Sony Wind-Up Camera: It appears to be a large plastic flower budding in a pot, but this contraption is actually a spy-camera that transfers images directly to a computer. When the battery needs recharging, simply wind it up by rolling over the charger wheel with your fingers.
- A 5.0 megapixel camera:that you strap to your head like a pair of goggles. It allows you to take digital pictures you can then transfer to your computer.
- iPhone: The coveted iPhone sparked an international frenzy that had people lined up out the door of Apple stores to get the initially-priced $600 smart phone. The touch screen and simple usability design make this phone one of a kind and one of the biggest news stories of the year.
- RIM Blackberry Pearl 8130: A smooth phone offered to Verizon customers, this blackberry has a built in GPS system and video-recording capabilities.
- Netgear SPH200W Wi-Fi Skype Phone: This cute little phone allows you to make phone calls to fellow Skype members wherever a wireless connection is available – you don’t even need your computer handy. There’s no monthly fee and one of the phone’s features is that it tells you who in your network is online and available to chat.
- Palm Centro: A simple smart phone, with hip rounded edges, it has full web capabilities, including instant messaging and email, and the best part is that it has a full keyboard so you don’t have to stumble around looking for the right letters. It’s available through AT&T.
- MBW-100 Bluetooth Watch: Feel like a total espionage professional with this cool watch that helps you discreetly keep tabs on your incoming calls and text messages from your cell phone.
- Power Monkey Charger: This portable charger is a must-have for individuals who travel frequently. Small enough to fit in your pocket, you just charge it up before you leave home and use it to re-power your cell phone, iPod, or PSP from any location without an outlet. A tiny gadget that can impressively retain its charge for a full year.
- StrapYa Solar Charger: StrapYa is a small, Japanese portable charger that gets its energy from the sun.
Music and Audio Gadgets
- Zune 30 GB Digital Media Player: The Zune device has an extraordinary amount of memory and can hold up to 7,500 songs, 25,000 pictures or 100 hours of video footage. The sleek design is reminiscent of the iPod and comes in five colors.
- XM Satellite Radio Express Series: Cute and simple, this great little, lightweight device lets you access satellite radio stations wherever you may be.
- Bose SoundDock Portable: Our generational predecessors had boom boxes; we have portable speakers for iPods. They may have had more style (it’s doubtful you’ll want to hoist this over your shoulder), but we have better sound quality. This portable music system delivers stereo sound no matter your location.
- Bonfire Skull Crusher Headphone Snowboard Beanie: Long name, but great design. Snowboarders who usually have to tuck their headphones up under their caps can now rest easy with this stylish beanie that has some serious headphones built in.
- The Tonium Pacemaker: No need for clunky turntables now that we have this handheld, portable DJ device that allows users to mix between two different audio tracks.
- Ultra-Thin Digital Voice Recorder: Reporters and private investigators of the world will want to take notice of this credit card-sized digital voice recorder that can store up to 69 hours worth of data, and it can also be used as an MP3 player and USB flash drive.
- Garmin GPS Units: Sleek GPS units for your car available in several different styles.
- Kindle: The Kindle, a wireless reading device that offers the full text of over 100,000 books, is the future of reading. Buy a book for way less than the cover price and you’ll get it digitally delivered to this thin machine that uses an advanced high-speed network. Take the contents of your bookshelf to the recycling bin and make your life completely paper-free.
- Mac Book Air: Mac Book Air from Apple is the world’s thinnest computer and the most anticipated release of 2008.
- SimpleDrive Portable Hard Drive: Take your entire computer with you in your pocket with these well-designed USB flash drives that can store your whole hard drive.
- Buffalo Keyboard with Skype Phone: If you are a Skype user, this keyboard is a must-have. A modern-looking silver and black keyboard with a small phone handset built into the side for easy communications over the Internet.
- Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet: These cute digital tablets feel just like a real pen and paper, but plug into your computer so you can communicate your quickly jotted ideas with others electronically.
TV and DVD Gadgets
- Samsung LN-T5781F Flat Screen LCD TV: One of the best flat screens on the market, this HD TV wins kudos for contrast ratio and picture quality, though bargain hunters may not want to view the temptation – it costs over $7,000.
- Sony BDP-S1 1080p Blu-Ray: This new Blu-Ray offers the highest-quality high definition output available and allows owners to develop several interactive applications.
- Pioneer Car DVD and Navigation System: An all-in-one must-have for your vehicle, this device has multimedia capabilities, including a DVD player and a full music library. It also has a great new mapping feature that will get you to your precise location on the fastest route possible.
- FlyTech Dragonfly: If you’re into tech toys for playing purposes only, check out the FlyTech Dragonfly, the world’s first radio-controlled flying insect that has been programmed to move like a real insect and can maneuver in very tight spaces. It’s available in both beginner and advanced models, depending on user skill level.
- Reactor Table: Fans of Bjork may recognize this crazy new music instrument that makes noises and sounds when musicians slide different shaped and sized glowing blocks around the perimeter. You truly have to see it to believe it (and then you still may not understand it.)
- eStarling Wi-Fi Photo Frame : This futuristic photo frame is email-enabled so you can send photos directly to the frame.
- iWave Portable Microwave: Maybe you’re on the road a lot or maybe you just love your Hot Pockets so much you can’t stand to be away from them for a second. Well, now you don’t have to, with the introduction of the iWave portable microwave, measuring the size of a cubed Kleenex box and weighing only 12 pounds.
- Prepara Herb: If you love your herb garden but just can’t seem to consume basil and cilantro at such a rapid rate, try the Prepara Herb, a small food storage system that will keep your herbs fresh for 3 weeks!
- Clocky Alarm Clock: Snoozers everywhere need a friend like Clocky. A cute alarm clock invented by an MIT student, Clocky will roll right off your table and around your room, buzzing away if you hit snooze more than once – a truly ingenious product that forces oversleepers to get out of bed.
- Waring Pro Electric Martini Maker: Let’s face it – we all love martinis, but who can stand the endless shaking? Give your arms a rest with this professional-looking and classy machine that does all the hard work for you. All you do is drink!
- 60-second Charcoal Starter: A terrific device that lights your charcoal grill in just one minute without lighter fluid or an unlimited amount of matches and finger burns.
- LCD Cat Flap: This product, designed by Elite, is an electronic door for your feline friends that can be programmed to recognize up to eight cats. Just check the LCD display to see which cats are in and which cats are out.
- Rovio Home Security Robot: Spy on your own house from anywhere in the world. This small three-wheeled robot has full video and audio capabilities and can be controlled through your computer to check up on any area of your house.
- Sportline Talking Pedometer: A pedometer that audibly reports to you the distance you’ve gone when out for a jog or walk.
- iRobot Looj: Hate cleaning out your gutters? You don’t have to anymore, thanks to this new robot that does that dirty job for you. Simply climb up, place the robot in your gutter and let it go. It reduces the need for you to keep climbing up and down the ladder and repositioning it along your house. An easy fix for a laborious chore.
- Meade MySky: This multimedia device guides you through the night sky like your own private astronomer. Audio and visual features guide you as you point it toward the sky and begin exploring.
Have a gadget lover in your life? Customize them a one of a kind piece! After all, dork is the new black.