Gifts for the tech savvy
NEW YORK — The latest technology can make for an easy holiday gift, but when it comes to the ultra-tech-savvy people in your life, finding a cool gadget they don’t already own can be tough.
Fear not! From “Star Wars”-themed speakers to radiation-blocking boxer briefs, there’s a lot to pick from for all the super geeks in your life.
Death Star levitating speaker: That’s no moon. It’s a $180 wireless speaker shaped like the Death Star from “Star Wars.”
It’s a little tricky to set up, but once you get the Death Star positioned correctly over its base, it floats in the air thanks to well-placed magnets and a little help from the Force. The Death Star rotates with a tap. The sound quality is pretty good, and the rechargeable battery will give you five hours of sound. Just keep it away from rebel fighter pilots.
Anti-radiation underwear: It’s a Faraday cage for your, um, crown jewels.
Silver fibers woven into Spartan’s boxer briefs are designed to block radiation from electronics. That’s good news for men who might be worried about their laptops spending too much time on their laps. But while recent research has pointed to a possible link between radiation from wireless devices and decreased sperm count, studies are far from conclusive, so there’s no reason to panic just yet.
Until January, the underwear is available only on Spartan’s website for about $45.
3-D imaging: Got a friend with mice or termites in their house?
WalabotDIY is a 3-D-imaging tool that lets you see deep into your walls. The
device attaches to an Android phone (sorry, iPhone users) and lets you see up to four inches through drywall,
cement and other materials, just like Superman’s X-ray vision.
How? Sensors pick up heat from mice motion and termite nests. At a recent demonstration, heat from hiding
rodents could easily be seen in glowing red on a device screen.
The sensors also will let you know the depth and location of pipes, wires and other objects to avoid if your next home improvement project calls for drilling into your walls.
The WalabotDIY is available online for $200.
Lego phone cases: Ever wish your smartphone or tablet could keep your fussy children entertained long after it runs out of battery?
Belkin’s Lego cases offer hands-on play, bringing new meaning to the term “screen time.” The backs are covered with those
familiar Lego dots, giving kids something to attach their creations to. Of course, they help protect the devices when dropped, too.
Cases are available for the iPhone 6 and 6S ($45), 6 Plus and 6S Plus ($50), and the iPad Mini ($60). There’s no version yet for the iPhone 7 or Android. Belkin makes these under license from
Lego, so they should work fine with standard Lego bricks.
Retro video games: The $60 NES Classic Edition includes all your childhood favorites, assuming you came of age in the late 1980s or 1990s. If not, think of them as the horribly dated, super-pixellated games you sometimes see in the back of dive bars.
To amp up the nostalgia even more, the system looks just like a miniature version of the one you remember, complete with a cord-connected black and gray controller. But there’s no stack of cartridges to clutter your room. All 30 games are stored in the system.
Before you get too excited about getting on your “Donkey Kong” or finally saving Princess Zelda, be warned that these systems are very hard to find. They’re selling on eBay and other sites for well over their retail price.