By Patricia L. Garcia
Have you noticed that things are getting smarter these days? From smart thermostats for your home to smart thermostats for your food to everything in between, gadgets that communicate with you via apps on your smartphone or tablet (more formally known as the Internet of Things, or IoT) are popping up everywhere this holiday season.
So, we’ve smartened up our holiday gift guide for the technophile on your list. But, don’t worry, we’ve also got other tech stuff that any techie will enjoy. Here’s our list of gift ideas for techies in your life:
1. Nest Thermostat, $249
We know, the Nest thermostat is not anything new. But, there are some changes to the smart thermostat that make it easier to manage your home’s heating and cooling system, as well as other appliances in the home to save energy. (If you’re late to the party, this thermostat will learn your habits and can be controlled via smartphone or tablet when you are away from home. Forgot to turn off the AC before you left for work? Use your smartphone to turn it off.)
Nest will also work with Whirlpool’s Smart Front Load Washer & Dryer to delay the start of cycle. Why would you want to do that? The Nest thermostat knows peak energy demand times — like after 4 p.m., when folks get home — and will help you conserve energy during those times.
2. iGrill, $99.99
If you’re like me, you can never really be sure that what you’re cooking is properly cooked (unless it’s burned, of course). Enter the iGrill2, a Bluetooth grilling thermometer that “plugs in” to your food and communicates with you via your smartphone or tablet. You’ll receive alerts when your chicken, beef, fish, pork or whatever item you are cooking has reached a desired temperature. No more guessing if the chicken is fully cooked and no more having to slice into it to make sure that the middle is not pink!
3. 3-D Printing Pen, $100
You’ve heard about 3-D printers, right? They do just what they sound like they’d do: print things that you can touch. Ambitious folks use 3-D printers to print parts and then build things. At the moment, most 3-D printers are quite pricey, so when I heard there was a 3-D printing pen, my interest piqued. The pen allows users to create three-dimensional plastic drawings by using warm thermoplastic rather than ink. The pen comes with templates to help users get started with creations. Now, if they could only figure out how to create a 3-D pen that prints edible pizzas.
There is no greater frustration when trying to screw something into a wall than having the screw fall on the floor because it’s actually being unscrewed. Sometimes you just forget to switch the little button to rotate a screwdriver in the opposite direction! Suffer from this inconvenience no more with the Black & Decker MAX Gyro Screwdriver! This magical screwdriver senses which way to spin based on your movements. Tilt it a little to the left and the screwdriver will spin that way. Tilt to the right and it goes right. Easy peazy!
Logitech is probably the easiest multi-device keyboard to use with any Bluetooth wireless device. First, it’s compatible with any Bluetooth wireless device (this little dude takes no sides in the Apple-versus-Android debate!). Second, to use a certain device, it’s as easy as using the Easy Switch dial. It doesn’t get any easier than that, folks.
6. Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer SP-1, $199.99
Chances are, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of photos on your smartphone or tablet. Chances are, those photos are not being saved anywhere (except for Facebook or Instagram), much less printed. Don’t let those memories pass away! Print those photos with ease with the Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer. My favorite feature of the Instax printer is that photo prints remind me of Polaroids, except no shaking is required.
7. Smart Phone Projector, $25
Let’s face it: watching videos on a smartphone is not the most excellent experience. If there are more than just a few people trying to watch, it’s hard to let everyone get a glimpse. That’s where this smart phone projector comes in. The projector is the most lo-fi item we found for technophiles — I mean, it’s made of cardboard! However, the projector allows you to view videos and photos with up to 8 times magnification, which means no more huddling around a small screen to see funny party videos.