We may not yet be able to buy the hoverboard we drooled over in Back to the Future or the gloves that Tom Cruise used in Minority Report, but there are a lot of gadgets on the market today that will still make you feel like a star in a Sci-Fi movie.
We’ve put together a holiday gift list of wearables, robots, 3D printers and other smart things that will make your inner geek squeal, or help you cross that hard-to-impress friend off your list this year.
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Quadricopter
Drones are getting a lot of attention lately. Amazon and even UPS are planning to use these robots to deliver packages in the near future. But you don’t have to wait five years to see these in the sky. Parrot’s AR.Drone 2.0 lets you fly this Wi-Fi enabled quadricopter with your smartphone and capture HD photos & 720p videos from the air. AR.Drone 2.0 can fly as far as 165 feet away and its onboard sensors allows it to keep a still position in the air in wind up to 15 m/h.
EZ-Robot Revolution JD DIY Robot
Based in Calgary, EZ-Robots sells DIY Robot kits to let you build and personalize your own robots. Robots are assembled using their Clip’n’Play technology called EZ-Bits which makes it dead easy to put a robot together. Revolution JD is a fully functional humanoid robot that has a camera for vision tracking, voice recognition and programmable LED’s for a variety of expressions.
Sphero 2.0 Robotic Gaming System for iOS & Android
At first glance Sphero could be mistaken for just another ball. But don’t be fooled by this waterproof and shock-resistant sphere. Sphero is actually an app-controlled Bluetooth connected gaming system for Android and iOS with over 25 apps to choose from. Sphero 2.0 can be controlled with your smartphone to reach speeds of up to seven feet per second. And with wireless charging, Sphero will always be ready for fun when you are.
Leap Motion Gesture Controller
It may not be the gloves from “Minority Report” but Leap Motion is the closest thing to it. Leap Motion plugs into your Mac or PC to let you control it with just your hands and fingers in the air. Swipe, pinch, wave and grab to browse the web, read articles, flip through photos and play games. Leap Motion has tons of supported apps in their AirSpace app store that takes advantage of the dead space above your laptop and gets you using your hands.
MakerBot Replicator 2 3D Printer
Nothing is a better gift for the ultimate Maker in your life than a 3D Printer. The creative possibilities with a 3D printer are endless. MakerBot Replicator 2 is a leader in the consumer 3D printer space known for ease-of-use while providing industrial-quality results. In addition, MakerBot’s Thingiverse 3D design community is a great resource to access thousands of free downloadable 3D designs. This means you can get start 3D printing right out of the box without needing to be an expert at graphic software programs.
Nimbus Smart Dashboard
Quirky gives the traditional timepiece an “internet of things” makeover with Nimbus. Nimbus is a 4-dial smart dashboard lets you monitor anything. From the number of unread emails to how many likes you are getting on Facebook, you can customize Nimbus to show you what you need. You can even connect your Fitbit data to keep track of your step goals. Once you’ve personalized your Nimbus through the Android or iOS app, the information will wirelessly sync in real-time over Wi-Fi.
Nest Protect Smart Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Detector
A smarter home is a safer home.
Nest has launched a new smart home system focused on keeping you safe. Nest Protect is an app-connected smoke and carbon monoxide detector. In addition to being able to monitor your home remotely, the smart detector also uses voice to notify those in the home where the problem is. It even has the ability to talk to your Nest Thermostat to shut off your gas furnace if it detects higher than usual carbon monoxide levels. And in true Nest-style, the detector is much more attractive — and more expensive — than the standard variety.
Snow2 Ski and Snowboarding Smart Goggles
Vancouver’s Recon Instruments are taking winter sports to the next level with Snow2. These smart goggles give you unobtrusive and effortless access to key information while on the slopes, including real-time stats, navigation, buddy tracking, and even music control. You can pair your Snow2 with your smartphone for SMS, call display and web connectivity. Snow2 can either be purchased pre-installed in goggles from Oakley or Zeal or purchased separately to be snapped into Recon-ready goggles from other well-known goggle manufacturers.
LUMOback Posture and Movement Sensor
2014 is the year you will stand up taller and sit up straighter and LUMOback is going to help you get there. LUMOback is a sensor-based waistband that vibrates when you are out of alignment. The wearable device also pairs with your smartphone to monitor and report your posture and activity progress throughout the day in real-time. It even has an avatar that mirrors your posture and movement to motivate you to stand up straight.
Pebble has come a long way since its days on Kickstarter, making it one of the best smartwatches on the market. If you or someone you know is addicted to checking their smartphone, this is the gift. Pebble lets you check emails, view text messages and even get calendar reminders right from your wrist. You can personalize your Pebble by installing one of the many available watchfaces or download apps to play games. Pebble’s long battery life, water-resistant design and e-paper display make it both functional and smart, which is what you need for a reliable watch that does more than just tell the time.