Productive Gadgets

Belkin SuperSpeed USB 3.0 4-port Hub:

At 10 times faster than USB 2.0, USB 3.0 is excellent for data transfers from external storage drives or USB flash drives. Unfortunately, many laptops and PCs still don’t offer as many USB 3.0 ports as we would like, forcing users to compromise. As its name suggests, the Belkin SuperSpeed USB 3.0 4-Port Hub plugs into an existing USB 3.0 port to increase the number of USB 3.0 ports that are available. While not all devices can run at the full speed simultaneously, having the hub around certainly eliminates the hassle of insufficient USB ports.

Price: $49.99


Doxie One:

The Doxie One is a scanner designed to scan all your paper, photos and receipts without the need for a computer. Its compact form factor allows the scanner to be stowed away in a drawer, and setup is quick: You just plug it into a wall socket. Unlike a bulky traditional flatbed scanner, an automatic feeder starts automatically and pulls the sheet through in seconds. Captured images are saved on an included SD memory card, much like in a digital camera. This can then be loaded onto a Mac or PC through a standard flash memory card reader, or to an iPad tablet with Apple’s iPad SD Card Reader.

Price: $149


Google Chromecast:

The Google Chromecast is a media streamer that plugs into any HDTV with an HDMI port. Similar to the Apple TV, the Chromecast connects to a Wi-Fi network for wireless streaming. At just $35, the Chromecast is both easy to set up and inexpensive. To be clear, support for the Chromecast must be specifically built into apps, though this shouldn’t be an issue as Google has already released the API for the device. For now, various apps are available on Android and iOS devices, as well as Windows and OS X.

Price: $35


IDAPT i4 Universal Charger:

The IDAPT i4 is an innovative universal charger designed to charge up to four mobile devices simultaneously. This docking station comes with three receptacles that accept various charging tips ranging from mini USB, micro USB, Lightning, the old Apple Universal Dock, and other tips for various digital cameras and even rechargeable AA or AAA batteries. A separate USB port offers the ability to plug in a standard USB cable for charging tablets or other devices that may be heavy or bulky. Several common tips are provided in the package, and additional tips can be purchased directly from IDAPT and range from $10 to $20 each.

Price: $64.99


LX Desk Mount LCD Arm:

The Ergotron LX Desk Mount LCD Arm sets the gold standard for monitor arms on the desktop. Perfect for both single monitor users and those who use multiple monitors on their desktop, the Ergotron monitor arm offers unparalleled flexibility in the positioning of your LCD monitors. Moreover, it frees up space on the desktop as it mounts onto the edge of the desk, and can be pushed out of the way. Ergotron says its arms are tested to 10 times the expected lifecycle of other competitive brands, and monitors can be quickly positioned up, down, left, right, forward, backward or even rotated with a mere touch.

Price: $169


Logitech Bluetooth Speakers Z600:

The Logitech Bluetooth Speakers Z600 are an eye-catching pair of wireless speakers that come with a great-looking fabric finish. Despite its relatively small size, the Z600 is capable of delivering room-filling sound through the three discrete drivers found in each speaker. To adjust the volume, simply run a finger along the touch control located on the top panel of the right speaker. The Z600 pairs with up to three devices via Bluetooth at the same time, though an included USB transceiver allows the speaker to work with non-Bluetooth devices, too.

Price: $149.99


Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse:

Looking for a portable mouse that helps you get things done? The Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse is a wireless Bluetooth mouse equipped with BlueTrack technology that allows it to track well on virtually every type of surface. A four-way touch strip on the mouse offers the ability to easily swipe up and down, left and right, with just the swipe of a finger – it also offers tactile feedback by vibrating the touch strip gently. Finally, the Sculpt Touch Mouse has side grips that are easy to hold, while Microsoft’s legendary contoured shape allows comfortable use in either hand.

Price: $49.95


Wearable Computing

Sony Smart Wig:

According to The Engineer and other sites, Sony has filed a patent application for a smart wig. The patent application is reported to indicate that the device will contain sensors, communications functionality and “an actuator for tactile feedback.” The wig could be used as a navigation tool, a potential boon to the sight-impaired. The device will accomplish this by sending out ultrasound signals to detect objects and subsequently alert the wearer via vibrations or small electric shocks. Other functionality, including video cameras and body monitors, also will be housed in the wig.


Throat Tattoos:

Sony may be planning its wig, but Google has a trick up its sleeve that is even harder to swallow: According to GMA News, its Motorola Mobility business unit has applied for a patent that links skin tattoos to mobile devices. The abstract at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says that the tattoo would be in the “the throat region of a body.” Possible functionality includes a microphone, a transceiver for wireless communications and an energy supply.


Google Glass:

Google seems to be releasing small updates to Google Glass on an ongoing basis, despite the fact that the device has not been released to the general public. For instance, in November, the Bristol Post reported that Google Glass introduced an ear bud “instead of the strange bone-induction sound system that came on the first devices and was generally poorly received.” This month, according to Android Community, Google has incorporated Google Play Music.


UP 3.0:

Jawbone’s UP24 wristband is aimed at helping users understand their eating, moving and sleeping habits. Last month, Jawbone announced upgrades to the device. The UP 3.0 app now offers the “Today I Will” feature. According to the company, Today I Will, which is available from the UP 3.0 App Insights Engine, does such things as remind users to drink a suggested number of glasses of water or to go to bed at a certain time. It offers commemoration of both long- and short-term achievements.


FitBit Force:

Fitbit Force is an activity monitoring wristband that tracks steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, stairs climbed and other movements during a normal day. The device tracks sleep and offers a silent vibrating alarm. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 to link to a PC, Apple and/or Android device. Charts and graphs illustrate a user’s progress.


Nissan 3E:

The Nissan Motor Company may seem like an unlikely maker of wearable computing devices, but at the Tokyo Motor Show last month, the company displayed the Nissan 3E. The single-eye, monocle-style device shoots video and adds augmented reality information. It was made available to reporters at the show. The idea, according to a video accompanying a press release, is to expand the ways in which people shop for automobiles by providing the additional information and extending the shopper’s experience to people in remote locations.


Skully P1:

Skully Helmets’ Skully P1 is a motorcycle helmet with a camera on the back to provide riders with a 180-degree view. The ability to see what is behind them can reduce accidents. The helmets feature the Heads-Up Display (HUD), which the company says provides “an advanced situational awareness system” showing navigation and illuminating blind spots. The helmets offer GPS mapping and Bluetooth smartphone integration.


Vuzix M100:

Android-based Vuzix M100 smart glasses are monocular augmented reality devices featuring a display, video recording capabilities and wireless connectivity. Pre-installed apps can record and playback high-definition images and video. The device features Bluetooth 4.0, which enables pairing with other Bluetooth devices. Situational awareness is created by a combination of GPS and integrated head-tracking capabilities.



WOWee One Slim


The WOWee ONE SLIM is a compact portable speaker unit which provides a full range frequency response. It is intended for use as both a fixed and portable solution for all iPod, iPad, mp3, mp4, mobile phone and computer applications. It uses the same hybrid technology as the WOWee ONE and produces an incredible bass sound with a 40Hz – 20kHz sound range.

The unit is powered by an internal rechargeable battery and can deliver up to 10 hours of playtime per charge. It can be recharged via computer USB or a 5V USB power adapter using a plug. There is also a built in LED low battery indicator.


The iFusion is an integrated communications docking station for the Apple iPhone. Combining the capabilities of many top-selling iPhone accessories into a single device, the iFusion utilizes built-in Bluetooth technology, a full duplex speaker phone and a patented ergonomic design to deliver superior voice quality that meets the requirements of today’s home and business consumer.

The cradle design of the iFusion supports the iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4, providing a means to securely dock the phone while supplying power, battery charging and data synchronization via an integrated USB cable. With support for A2DP Bluetooth streaming, users are able to enjoy their favorite iPhone music over the internal speakerphone.

Cost: $169

iLuv iMM747 Audio Cube


The iLuv iMM747 Audio Cube is a fully-dedicated iPad stereo docking station. The Audio Cube provides two speaker channels, each with iLuv’s enhanced jAura Soundcell Technology. The iMM747 features easy docking via an adjustable, sliding docking wall, which provides secure iPad vertical support and a flexible 30 pin connector that automatically adjusts to dock your iPhone 4 or iPod as well.

Cost: $149.99