The way we do business is evolving, letting you work effectively from your bedroom or home office. As a result, notions of business casual have changed, morphing from polos and khakis to tighty whiteys and slippers. The iRobot Ava 500 ($2,500 a month) is part of that change, making it possible to work from anywhere and still be seen in the office — just make sure you're decent from the waist up. A collaboration between iRobot and Cisco, it features a rolling base with a 21-inch HD screen, video camera, and WiFi connectivity (so your colleagues can see you and you can see them). You control it from anywhere using an iPad, enabling you to catch up with coworkers at the water cooler or attend a board meeting, all without leaving your apartment, or putting on pants.
We've all been there — stabbing violently with a broom stick at the annoying, chirping puck on our ceiling, trying to silence it — but a smoke alarm shouldn't be a nuisance, it should passively keep you safe without worrying about it. The Nest Protect ($130) won't drive you crazy, but it will still keep you safe. It features a glowing status ring (green means everything is okay, yellow gives you a warning about a potential problem, and red means there's an emergency), real voice alerts, and an interactive sensor that responds to the wave of a hand, letting you dismiss alerts if you burn your dinner. Set them up throughout your house and instantly access the status of various rooms from your smartphone or tablet, or use them to automatically light your way at night with the pathlight feature. Best of all, it interacts with other Nest devices, keeping you safer without you thinking about it.
Whether you're using it to digitally map your surroundings, scout the terrain for your next outdoor adventure, or realize your lifelong dream of becoming a pilot, the SenseFly eBee Drone ($25,000) is one versatile UAV. Small, light, and portable, the eBee features foam modular construction, letting it break down to fit in a carry-on size case, and launch from your hand — so it's easy to use and take anywhere. It features artificial intelligence and comes with flight planning software, allowing even the most inexperienced pilots to fly and land with ease. Professional-quality mapping software and an onboard 16 megapixel camera give you a view of the ground like you've never seen before, ideal for charting a run down an unfamiliar slope, plotting your course down a river, or just getting a bird's-eye-view of your city.
While we're still a long way off from the complete interconnectivity of the things that make our everyday tasks easier, the Nymi Heartbeat Wristband ($80) could get us a lot closer. At the core of this wearable device is a heartbeat sensor that determines the unique rhythm of your pulse, using it as a form of authentication. It can then, in theory, be used to interact and gain access to a range of devices around you: your car, your home, your lights, your smartphone, your laptop, even the payment terminal at your local coffee shop. In addition to the heartbeat sensor, it also includes motion and proximity sensors, giving you the ability to actually interact with these devices through gesture-based input. While there's still work to be done on making it compatible with everything, the future looks pretty promising (available early 2014).
Whether you like to jot down notes about all the craft beers you enjoy, or you just find inspiration at the bottom of a pint glass, Field Notes Drink Local Notebooks ($10) were made for you. These 48-page notebooks come in packs of three, wrapped in a cardboard carrier, and include a letter-pressed coaster for your brew. You can choose between blank, lined, and grid paper, and the notebooks come in beer-themed colors: choose ales (stout, amber ale, and india pale ale) or lagers (pilsner, bock, and pale lager).