Get Your Tech on with the 2015 Mid-Year Gadget Guide

By Vernon Trollinger, June 10, 2015, Green, News, Save Money

Get Your Tech on with the 2015 Mid-Year Gadget GuideNow that June is here, two important facts about the calendar are startlingly clear:

  1. It’s six months after Christmas, which means all those hyped gadgets from December 2014 are either holding up well, have lost their shine, or lie broken and abandoned in a corner somewhere;
  2. It’s six months away from next Christmas, so all sorts of rumored, new stuff will be coming along just in time for the holidays.

Cranky cynicism aside, as we head towards a warm summer, many nifty gadgets are ready to hit the market soon. Some are flights of fancy, others are darned practical, and a few are just plain cool. Check out what we’ve collected for you in our 2015 Mid-Year Gadget Guide!

Get Your Tech on with the 2015 Mid-Year Gadget Guide

Cheap shots from above.
Image courtesy of Squadrone System, Inc. (https://hexoplus.com/)

Eyes in the Sky

Drones are all the rage these days. The difference with the Hexo+ self-flying drone is that it follows you around. There’s no steep learning curve and no involvement with intelligence-gathering agencies. Attach your GoPro camera to the Hexo+ and the drone tracks you, shooting video of what ever you’re doing by homing in on your smart phone’s Bluetooth signal.

Hexo+ uses its own app to keep you in the frame during the entire shoot. More than just great vanity shots, it can help keep you safe just by documenting what you do. With a battery life of 13 minutes and range of 200 feet, this drone runs about $1500.

“Lego” My Robot

Back in my day, we used LEGOs to build pretend robots. Now, you can make REAL robots with them using microcontrollers that run on the Arduino open source programming language. The Microduino mCookie is a stack-able micro-controller that looks like a high-tech LEGO brick, and it lets you connect to and control the motors and servos of your own custom-built robot.

Get Your Tech on with the 2015 Mid-Year Gadget Guide

Left—Nessy Ladle. Right—Pastasaurus. Image courtesy of Fred & Friends (http://www.fredandfriends.com/buy-fred/)

Play with Your Food 

Just because you’re stressing over preparing Aleppo pepper-roasted pork with shallot Vinaigrette to impress a certain you-know-who, it doesn’t mean the ladles and lids can’t be shaped like dinosaurs or submarines. Have some fun while cooking! Fred and Friends has great kitchen and tech items that encourage you to play with your food.

Smarter and Cheaper

LED bulbs are dropping in price every day. Smart LED bulbs, however, remain pricey, with multi-colored programmables commanding $100 or more. If you’re looking to equip your house with smart home devices while keeping an eye on your budget, Cree has released its Connected LED bulb. It’s a “60 watt” sized bulb that kicks out 815 lumens at 2,700 degrees Kelvin for only 11.5 watts. Lifespan is rated at 25,000 hours (an average incandescent has a lifespan of 1,000 – 1,500 hours). The price is about $15. You’ll need smart hub ($75 to $100) and wireless network to take full advantage of this bulb’s benefits.

Get Your Tech on with the 2015 Mid-Year Gadget Guide

Koala Tablet Wall Mount Dock Image courtesy of Dockem (http://www.dockem.com/Koala-iPad-Wall-Mount-p/20006.htm)

Display Your Display

If you watch movies or videos on your tablet or use it as a control pad (hint to a few guitarists I know), wouldn’t it be nice if you could just mount it on a wall or some kind of stand? Well, Dockem has made your day with the Koala Tablet Wall Mount Dock. Honestly, it’s stupid simple, brilliant, and practical, as two small, sturdy plastic brackets gently cradle your device, and it’s designed to be used with 3M Command Strips (included).

Get Your Tech on with the 2015 Mid-Year Gadget Guide

Doesn’t rolling it up just make it a “picture tube?” Image courtesy CNET. (http://www.cnet.com/news/lg-display-to-show-off-roll-up-flexible-oled-panel/)

OLEDS: Odds are Thin

On May 19, LG Display amazed TV geeks everywhere with its proof of concept 55 inch by 1 mm thick OLED display. If you grew up watching a TV set the size of a chest freezer, you understand how cool this is (even as you wonder at how this is possible).

LG’s OLED displays can be draped across the wall and held in place with magnets. Though translucent, OLED displays don’t need to be backlit.

Unfortunately, the OLED displays currently have lots of problems that make them too expensive – including a high defect rate. The good news is that LG has managed to lower ithis defect rate, meaning that 80% of its OLED screens work. LG recently demonstrated an 18 inch paper-thin version that cold be rolled up into a 1 1/2 inch tube without it effecting performance.

Get Your Tech on with the 2015 Mid-Year Gadget Guide

Transporting you to alien worlds of cleanliness. Image courtesy of ThinkGeek.com (http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/1299/)

One more thing…

Earlier this week, geeks worldwide emitted a quavering groan upon the announcement that Geeknet, owner of ThinkGeek, was about to be sold to budget goth-garment chain Hot Topic for $122 million.

Turns out the announcement was premature, as Gamestop countered with a winning $140 million offer.

For the moment, geeks can relax. You can still get your dad the highly coveted Star Trek Transporter Room Bath Mat & Shower Curtain Set in time for Father’s Day.

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About 

A native of Wyomissing Hills, PA, Vernon Trollinger studied writing and film at the University of Iowa, later earning his MA in writing there as well. Following a decade of digging in CRM archaeology, he now writes about green energy technology, home energy efficiency, DIY projects, the natural gas industry, and the electrical grid.

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