Almond+ Touchscreen WiFi Router

Having used Apple's AirPort routers exclusively since they arrived on the scene over a decade ago, it'll take a serious contender for us to replace the white boxes next to our modems. The Almond+ Touchscreen WiFi Router ($100) might just be it. Forget the fact that it offers dual-band 802.11ac + 802.11n Wi-Fi for blazing fast speeds — something no Apple router can currently claim. It also features built-in support for the ZigBee and Z-Wave home automation standards, removing the need for a separate hub, and thanks to the built-in touchscreen, you don't need a separate controller, either. Don't feel like getting up to interact with your lights, outlets, and other sensors? An app for both iPhone and Android is planned to let you control the action right from your phone or tablet. Your move, Apple.

  • Lehmann GoPro Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    Sure, you can get some cool footage from remote-controlled planes and helicopters — but you have to know how to fly the damn things first. The Lehmann LA100 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (€990; roughly $1,330) removes that piece of the equation by autonomously flying around at heights of up to 300 feet for 5 minutes before returning back to you. Designed specifically for use with the GoPro Hero 2 or 3, you simply strap a camera to the top, bottom, or both, launch it, and wait for its return to view your footage. It's really that simple. *Hip electronic soundtrack for the resulting YouTube videos not included.

  • Ninja Blocks

    Fully connect your home to your smartphone with Ninja Blocks ($200). This compact, completely customizable/hackable device allows you to connect with a variety of sensors and actuators to monitor and control things around your home, all directly from your cell phone. The starter kit includes a temperature and humidity sensor, a wireless motion sensor, and a wireless door bell; it's and affordable to add more as you need. Of course, hardware is just part of the solution, which is why the app lets you set rules for controlling different items and appliances, and can alert you when someone's at your door, when a door or window is open, or even if it's getting too hot in your wine room.

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