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Gadget Guru May 2013


Gaming Room

Touchscreen tables are not exactly new, but the Arcane from Surface Tension adds a bit of nostalgia to the mix. On top of being able to surf the Web, and control your TV with this table, the Arcane comes with hidden joysticks and thumb buttons that slide out to replicate those old video game machines found in pizza parlors back in the 80s. Remember playing Pac Man and Centipede on these? Well, we do. If goofy characters aren’t your thing, bring up a game of chess or backgammon. With 500 gigs of memory and over 100 games to choose from, dinner parties will be anything but boring. HDMI outputs, USB inputs, hidden speakers, a DVD drive, and both Ethernet and Wi-Fi capabilities opens the door for plenty of fun. The company also offers custom designs. $6,000. (www.surface-tension.net)


Rise of the Roombas

High-tech vacuums have come a long way. The pinnacle at the moment might be the iRobot Roomba 790, which can be controlled from a wireless command app to vacuum during the times you set (up to seven presets), such as midnight and weekends and your birthday, or just whenever you’re away — point being you don’t ever need to see it, unless you spill something and need to utilize its spot-cleaning function. It’ll map out your rooms so it’ll never get stuck, easily getting over cords and around chair legs. An accessory barrier strip will keep it in only the rooms you want it in, and if it’s running low on power it’ll automatically scoot itself back to the docking station you hid under the entertainment center to juice up again. Depending on the surface it is cleaning, it can adjust its brushes to work on wood, tile, and rugs — all in the same room if necessary — and even does the base boards with rotating brushes on its outside. Special light and acoustic sensors on its edges detect dirt as well as cliff edges so it won’t fall down stairs. This vacuum is so smart you might want to sleep with the door closed if the Skynet revolt happens. $699. (www.irobot.com)


Baby Watching

New parents no doubt want the latest in baby monitor technology. The BabyPing offers audio and visual links to your smart phone or tablet over both Wi-Fi and 3g/4g networks, and institutes a night vision mode as well. Unlike many other models, the device also sends out audible, pop-up, or vibrating alerts to let parents know when Junior is crying, and offers a filtering function that will only alert you if the baby cries (in case you don’t want to listen mobile music or something.) Once the baby’s grown up, just spinkle them around the house for surveillance. $200. (www.babyping.com)     RYAN THOMAS


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