FRONTGATE 35MM-TO-DIGITAL FILM CONVERTER
Chances are youve already got a digital camera - but that doesnt mean SLRs are defunct. But youve got to admit that cataloguing your images on computer is a lot easier than keeping track of boxes and boxes of bulky prints and negatives; what isnt easier is getting those photos into the computer. Thats where Frontgate comes in. Its easy-to-use scanner automatically aligns each slide and negative, adjusting to the right focus and exposure and copying clear, sharp digital images of your original film photos right into your XP PC (sorry Mac folks, its not compatible with your system yet). And they mean easy - all you need is their included PC software and a USB cable, and all 15 rolls of your Mexican vacation will be precisely transferred before you know it. ($99.99 www.frontgate.com)
LUXEED DYNAMIC PIXEL LED KEYBOARD
There are plenty of illuminated keyboards out there, but none like this. The Luxeed offers up a whopping 430 LEDs, which makes it capable of individually lighting each key in your choice of color, as well as showing off with some pretty snazzy lighting effects. Customizable presets are included, or you can set up a glowing keyboard for your favorite videogame with different colors for different key actions. Create illuminated patterns and designs, or send the whole spectrum careening right across all of the keys. Perhaps the best feature of all is the Spark Mode - which makes each key light up only when you press it. Coooool. ($199 www.thinkgeek.com)
EPSON MOVIEMATE 55
Sure, sure, tech guy - your 40 inch widescreen TV is nice - but what if you could have yourself a screen up to eight times larger than that? The MovieMates larger-than-life entertainment system combines a built-in progressive-scan DVD/CD player and dual Dolby 5.1 Digital DTS 8W stereo speakers in one compact, 3-chip 3LCD unit - all you need is a (very large) blank wall or screen and an electrical outlet - there are no extraneous cables or other equipment to hook up. With its handle and carrying case, you can take the show on the road, to view movies - and more. Thats right; it will also hook up to your Nintendo Wii, Sony PS3, or XBox 360 for really feeling like youre running around on that spaceship or urban battlefield. ($699 www.epson.com)
Dont worry, its not so futuristic that itll scan your brain - but it will scan pretty much everything else youve got, provided it has a barcode on it. This tiny handheld device is easy to cart around your place, so you can scan DVDs to videogames, comic books to regular books, even your groceries if you like to be uber-organized. Once you get it up to 150 barcodes, take the device back to your computer and download em via USB, where the software youll get with the Intelliscanner will help you manage your collections no matter how much youve got. In addition, itll help you keep track of what you lend out, too, so if your pal Phil borrows your James Bond DVD, youll know where it vanished to and can pester him to give it back. And if you really did scan your groceries in, the Intelliscanner can help you manage recipes, and will let you know if youve got all the ingredients for that hearty meal you want to make for football night. ($299.99 www.intelliscanner.com)
Runners and speed-walkers, take note! The BODiBEAT (note that iTunes-like emphasis on the i, although of course Yamaha and Apple are not in cahoots) is for you. It
might merely look like a fancy sports watch, but there are a lot of unexpected things around your wrist with this one - the device contains an accelerometer thats linked to an earphone-mounted pulse monitor. Tech-speak you say? Perhaps. But what it does is impressive - the BODiBEAT hooks in to the rhythm of your walking/running via the pulse monitor, and plays songs (from your personal uploaded collection) that precisely match your rhythm as you work out; gaps are covered by onboard preloaded loops that remix themselves at every tempo so youll (literally) never miss a beat. ($299 www.yamaha.com)
ARCHOS MEDIA TABLETS
Archos is offering up a touchscreen media tablet device thats chock-full of features, and its available in 3 different models: the Archos 5g (30 GB with 3.5 HSDPA data and a 4.8 inch touchscreen), the Archos 5 (60-250GB, 4.8 inch touchscreen) and the Archos 7 (160-320GB, 7 inch touchscreen). But just what do they do? Media, of course - and they do it very well; on-the-go surfing, WiFi, and super-sharp playing of all your media files. The players can also record VGA video through an optional accessory, can work with their own helmet camcorder add-on, and all three are also extremely thin (about half an inch), which makes them extra-portable; so browse the internet, watch movies and TV, and download music and media, wherever you are. (Archos 5, $350, Archos 7, $550 www.archos.com).
BUDGET GEAR: UNDER $100
Perhaps you dont have several hundred to spare - or youre smartly saving up for one of the above bigger ticket purchases. That doesnt mean you still cant have a little gearhead fun. Just try these:
The RoboVacuum ($14.99 www.perpetualkid.com) arrives in three colors (black, red, or white), has futuristic bending pincher arms, and picks up the crumbs or pencil shavings on your desk with a mere push of the top of its mono-sunglassed head.
The awesome Space Invader Alarm Clock ($64 www.slashgear.com) arrives in sleek black, and wakes you up with those familiar neon-green Space Invaders aliens as well as blinking lights and videogame sfx.
The German SensoGlove ($99.00 www.sensoglove.com) injects a little tech into your golf game by providing digital feedback about your golf grip with sensor pads built into each finger, and an LCD display which shows you how to adjust your grip. And one more sporting item for you guys - the HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle ($28.95 www.fitfuel.com), which has an integrated LED display so you can check your hydration goal during sports and keep a check on your water intake.