Take your brown thumb and make it green with the Parrot Flower Power ($TBA). This advanced plant sensor sticks in your flower pot, measuring sunlight, soil moisture, temperature, and fertilizer. It transfers the data over Bluetooth 4.0 to your compatible device, using a dedicated app and a library of nearly 6,000 plants to make sure you're caring for your plant properly. And don't worry about constant battery changes — it'll run for six months on a single AA battery.
Well, it doesn't come with the Discovery One, but this HAL 9000 ($500) is the closest you'll come to that ship's charismatic AI controller. Based on actual studio blueprints, this incredibly detailed, hand-assembled replica features a custom-ground fish-eye lens with a sticker to replicate the writing on the original Nikkor lens, a red LED eye, the ability to speak one of 15 movie quotes, the ability to respond to voices, the ability to respond to IR commands, and aircraft-grade aluminum construction.
It might look like a naval weapon, but the Striker Magnetic LED Light Mine ($20) is actually an intelligently clever task light. Roughly baseball-sized, it features 11 neodymium magnets on the "spikes", letting it attach quickly and securely to a large variety of surfaces. A total of 12 Lumen Tech LEDs provide plenty of light, and four different modes let it serve as a low-power spotlight, high-power floodlight, a red light for better nighttime visibility, and as a high visibility signal beacon — making it great for keeping in your car for hazard light duties, or for using as a makeshift Bat Signal.
Whether you're just getting interested in electronics or want to pass on your knowledge to others, these Technology Will Save Us DIY Kits (£10-£85; roughly $16-$135) are a great place to start. Each kit comes complete with everything — or at least nearly everything — you need to build a simple electronics project, from a sensor that tells you when your plant needs water to a basic synthesizer. If you're looking to dive in head first, though, you might want to start with the soldering and Arduino kits, which will give you a solid base to build on. [Scouted by Luke]
It might not print it big, but the Form 1 High-Res 3D Printer ($3,300) can print nearly anything you can imagine in exquisite detail. Using high-end stereolithography technology, the Form 1 can construct details as small as 300 microns, and can print objects up to 4.9" x 4.9" x 6.5" in size. The included Form Software lets you start with .stl files and finalize your design, ensuring that every detail is there, just the way you designed it.
Some new product ideas are cool, and some are downright crazy — but it's the ones that are a little of both that often turn out the best. Take the Electree ($200 and up) for example. This sculpture/gadget is shaped after a bonsai tree, but instead of leaves it sports solar panels on its branches. And what does it do with all the energy it collects? It charges an internal battery that you can then use to charge your phone or tablet. Wirelessly, even, if you'd like. It surely beats the "garden" of wires you deal with now.
How to share your Instagram photos with friends without passing around your phone or tablet seems to be one of the hottest questions of the year. Projecteo ($25) thinks it has the answer — or more specifically, is the answer. This pint-sized projector uses an internal LED to project your photos, which have been printed onto 35mm film and cut into wheels, onto any wall you can find. To change wheels, simply pull out the current batch, slide in the next, and relish the quiet groans that haven't been heard since the traditional family photo slideshow fell by the wayside.
Keep your electronics going through the next power outage with the Eton Boost Turbine ($60). This portable power pack features a 2000 mAH lithium-ion battery pack, a durable aluminum body, an LED charge indicator, a Micro-USB DC input for use with standard phone chargers, and your choice of one of four exterior colors. The big deal, however, is the built-in hand turbine power generator, which lets you juice up the battery, no electricity required.
We know how durable Moleskine notebooks can be, and we also know that most guys printing out a photo book likely want it to last — so it only makes sense to combine the two. Moleskine Photo Books ($40) are custom printed 20-page books filled with photos of your choosing. The hard cover of the roughly 9" x 7.5" book features a title and one of your images inset into the cover, and ivory inner pages make sure your photos look their best. There's even an expandable inner pocket for adding to the memories. Looking for more? The $75 Photo Book Plus offers 60 pages, a linen fabric slipcase, a downloadable PDF version, and an online digital flipbook.
The best movies create new worlds that we get to visit for short periods of time. The Beetlejuice Terrarium ($350) takes one of these worlds — that of Beetlejuice — and scales it down so it can fit in your office, den, or pretty much anywhere else you like. Created using moss taken from a forest near the artist, the placement of the tree, posts, and driveway are all accurate relative to the house, which is made out of wax, stands 1.5-inches tall, and is detailed enough to make you worried about saying the titular character's name three times when in the vicinity.
Another year, another step closer to being able to print out nearly any object you desire. The Makerbot Replicator 2 ($2,200) is the latest such step, boasting a resolution capability of 100 microns and a 410 cubic inch build volume for creating ever larger things. It's new black powder-coated steel chassis is more secure than ever, and just in case your building of useless stuff gets your conscience involved, you can rest assured knowing that it was designed and optimized for Makerbot's new renewable bioplastic PLA filament.
Tossing a piece of popcorn into the air and catching it with your mouth is a time-honored snacking tradition. But what do you do when your hands are full and you're hungry for a bite? The Popinator ($TBA) is here to help. Using binaural microphones, the Popinator listens for you to say the word "pop", estimates your mouth's position, and then fires a single piece off in that direction, letting you catch it with your mouth and continue on about your business. No word on when or if it might hit the market, but you can sign us up for one when it does.