Sure, a flashlight is one of the most useful tools you can fit into your jeans pocket, but a flashlight that can also charge your most frequently-used gadgets — that's pretty remarkable. The ZeroHour Battery Backup Flashlight ($160) combines a 1,000-lumen CREE LED bulb with a 10,000mAh power source inside a durable aircraft aluminum body and a stainless steel bezel. The end cap removes to expose dual USB ports capable of charging multiple smartphones or tablets at once. The ZeroHour is also modular, letting you remove the recharging portion if you need something smaller in your pocket.
There's no denying it, computers, software, hardware, microprocessors, control nearly every thing we interact with on a daily basis — from the cars we drive and the toys we play with to the appliances we use and the conveniences we rely on. In spite of this, comparatively few people understand computing technology. The Kano DIY Computer Kit ($100) aims to change that, empowering everyone from grade school kids to adults and everyone in between to build and program their own computer. These kits include all the things you need to build a functioning computer — but the fun doesn't end there. Once you've completed your computer, you are free to program games, and other software, hack into the command line, and much more. It's the embodiment of the idea of learning while doing.
Keep your phone fully-charged — even when you're miles from the nearest wall outlet — with the Fluxmob Bolt ($60). This handy device is one part wall charger for any USB-enabled device, and one part battery, so you don't necessarily have to worry about being connected to the power grid to get some juice. Simply plug it in when you have access to power, and let your phone or tablet charge — the built-in battery charges at the same time. Then, when you're out on the move and in need of a recharge, just plug your device into the box, and let it go (it's good for up to two charges).
If you own an iPad, you also own a fully-functioning 3D scanner — provided you buy yourself a Structure Sensor ($380). This little device comes with a bracket made to fit on the back of your iPad, right on top of the built-in camera. It connects to your iPad using a Lightning cable, and can alternatively connect to just about any other device with a USB cable. Using the sensor and your iPad, you can measure the three-dimensional space in any room, automatically capture three-dimensional models of everyday objects, and even simulate physics on top of the real world. If you're hacking inclined, you can use their SDK to develop iOS apps for it, or even take it a step further by connecting it to other devices.
Magnifying glasses are great for examining ancient texts and burning ants — but if you really want to see what's going on at a small scale, grab this NPW Pocket Microscope ($42). Measuring roughly 6" x 4", this pocket-friendly tool offers sharp 30x magnification, letting you see close-up details of everything from flowers and fibers to smartphone screens and counterfeit bills. We're kidding, of course — we think.
Information surrounds us at every turn in our daily lives — we're consumed with numbers, whether it's the number of emails we have yet to read, miles we've run that week, or minutes (perhaps hours) we'll spend in traffic on the way to work. The Nimbus Personal Dashboard ($130) gives you a visually intriguing way of displaying all that data, so you can consume it at a glance. In order to set it up, you just pair it with an iOS or Android app, choose which data sources feed to which gauge, and let the dials start turning. Uses for it are seemingly endless, as it syncs with a huge array of services, including your FitBit, your email provider, and your favorite social media sites.
With all the cards we carry in our wallets — multiple credit cards, debit cards, bank cards, loyalty cards, membership cards, gift cards — we run the risk of looking a little like George Costanza. But with Coin ($100), we can finally start slimming down our every day carry to something a little more manageable. This connected device (shaped and sized like a credit card) lets you scan all the cards you typically carry in your wallet, and then leave them at home. It works just like a regular card, letting you swipe it the same way you normally would, and lets you easily swap which card you're using at any given moment. Manage your collection of cards with their mobile app, and never lose track of your Coin thanks to low-energy Bluetooth alerts.
If you're in the market for a fitness tracker, but aren't wild about the idea of a cheap-looking piece of plastic adorning your wrist at all times, you're in luck. The first in its limited edition series of metallic colorways, the Nike+ FuelBand SE Rose Gold ($170), is made for those who are both style- and fitness-conscious. The clasp, bezel, and screws are made from 316 series stainless steel, hand polished, and finished in durable PVD coating. It has all the same features as the typical Nike+ FuelBand SE, without all the bright neon. If gold isn't quite your look, just wait, more finishes are set to be released in the coming months.
Home automation can be great — it helps you efficiently keep everything in your house chugging along smoothly and on schedule — but at some point all of your connected devices get a bit overwhelming. With the Revolv Home Automation Hub ($300), you can keep everything working as it should, all with the convenience of one app. Instead of opening up a bunch of different apps to control your Nest Thermostat, your Phillips Hue lights, your smart locks, and your Sonos speaker system, this single app will sense your proximity to your house and do it all for you. The hub automatically connects with all your devices (it supports Z Wave, WiFi, and Insteon, with support for additional protocols like ZigBee coming soon), removing all the pain in setup, and is packed with a wealth of sensors designed to make your life easier.
Following a small snafu with the original, Jawbone is back with a completely new wearable physical activity monitor, and it's called the Jawbone UP24 ($150). This wrist-worn tracker is constantly connected to the iOS app on your iPhone or iPod touch, transmitting data over Bluetooth Smart about your sleeping pattern, movement, and food intake. It also has lots of other useful functions, like a smart alarm to wake you up and alerts to remind you to move through the day. The app works with you to provide detailed insights into your health and activity, letting you gradually improve your fitness as you wear it.
Easily digitize all of your favorite stuff — whether it's old family photos, maps from past vacations, scraps of memories, newspaper clips, paper journals, sketchbooks, even coins and other small items — no matter where you find yourself, with the Doxie Flip Scanner ($150). This portable flatbed scanner is made to work anywhere, small enough to fit in a bag or large pocket, it features battery power and flash SD memory, so you can use it without the need for a computer. Use it as a standard scanner, or remove the lid to flip it over and scan nearly any object. A window lets you see through the scanner, letting you perfectly line up your subject every time.
Know who's knocking on your door — no matter what time of day — from any place on the planet with the DoorBot ($200). Whether you're just venturing into the world of complete home automation, or you already have your place efficiently networked to a range of devices, this is a great piece to add to your setup. It easily connects to your smartphone or tablet over WiFi, letting you communicate with anyone at your door (from inside your home, at the office, or away on vacation). It features night vision, an adjustable camera angle, a rechargeable battery, and the ability to connect to your existing doorbell wiring.