CE Week 2015: Gadgets and Accessories

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At this year’s CE Week, the halls of Manhattan’s Metropolitan Pavilion were laden with gadgetry as far as the eye could see. Everything from basic charging cables to projectors that cost as much as the family car were on display, ready to be put through their paces by attendees. Here are some of the coolest things we saw at the show.

Leef Mobile Memory

If you’re like most consumers, your smartphone is stuffed to the gills with photos, music, and videos and you’d rather not have to make the heart-wrenching choice between your latest vacation photo album and your favorite band’s newest album. Leef’s mobile storage solutions let you hang on to both. Android users can choose between Access, a microSD reader that works with your existing microSD cards, and Bridge 3.0, a flash drive with standard and micro-USB connectors that offer up to 64GB of storage.

For iOS, the iBridge drive plugs into your Lightning port and endows your iPad or iPhone with up to 128GB of extra memory. A 256GB version is in the works, meaning that if you’ve got a 128GB iPhone, you can bump your storage up to a whopping 384GB. If that’s not enough for you, you just might have to delete that Gigli Blu-ray rip from your smartphone.

MotoGlo Helmet Safety Light

Most moms cringe at the thought of their children riding motorcycles, and with good reason: it’s dangerous. Bikes just aren’t as visible to other drivers as cars are. The Whistler Group aims to put mothers and motorcyclists alike at ease with MotoGlo, a strip of ten LEDs that attach to the back of your full-face, ¾, or half-helmet and alert other motorists to your presence.

The MotoGlo does far more than that, though. An included wireless transmitter can be installed into the wiring of your motorcycle to wirelessly activate a brighter red light when braking, and flashing yellow lights for turn signals. This elevates your signals to a higher vantage point, making it especially valuable when in front of trucks, SUVs, and vans with higher-altitude seats. The battery charges via an included mini-USB cable and lasts for up to 12 hours, so you can ride all day and mom can sleep all night.

Roost Wi-Fi Battery

Beep.

Beep.

Beep.

You know the sound. It’s the plaintive cry of a dying smoke-detector battery, and boy, is it irritating. But it’s also rather important! After all, a smoke or carbon monoxide detector won’t do you much good without a functioning battery. In an effort to update these vital safety devices for the 21st Century, Roost has created a new 9-volt battery that works with your existing detector and connects to your home Wi-Fi network to send you vital notifications.

It’ll send an alert to your phone when it senses smoke or CO, and can even do the same for family members or neighbors. Battery-powered alarms can be silenced in the event of a false alarm, and it will remind you to change the battery for a Roost replacement pack long before you hear a single chirp. Luckily, that won’t happen often: Roost says that their battery will last for more than five years before needing replacement.

Power360 Dock

The more power-hungry gadgets we accumulate, the more our desks and outlets begin to resemble a rats’ nest of wires and “wall wart” adapters. The Power360 Dock from Panamax reduces the clutter by adding all-important USB outlets for charging your devices, as well as surge protection to safeguard your electronics.

The Dock fits over your existing outlet, transforming it into a smorgasbord of power options: six 120V outlets send juice to everything from your computer to your toaster, while 2.1A of power flows through a pair of USB ports for charging phones, tablets, and accessories. Surge protection is displayed dynamically via the Circle of Protection, which alerts you to power problems so you can take corrective action. A handy docking shelf supports a pair of smartphones or a single tablet to minimize mess.

Flygrip and HandL

Protective cases can add a personal touch to mobile devices, but let’s not hide the real reason why we swaddle our phones in polycarbonate: we’re clumsy. Phones drop, screens shatter, tears spill, and wallets lighten. Instead of resigning yourself to the inevitable phone-tastrophe, Flygrip and HandL are accessories that give you a secure way to hold onto your phone.

Simply stick a Flygrip to the back of your device, and then extend it into an H shape when you’ve got your phone in your hand. Two fingers can then hold onto the Flygrip instead of clutching your smartphone’s slippery sides, and you can even fold your Flygrip into a kickstand that works in portrait and landscape modes for video chatting or movie watching.

The HandL takes it one step further, upping the protection by incorporating a case into its design so there’s no need to stick anything on the back of your phone. It also uses a stretchy material so you can twist your device into landscape orientation while retaining the kickstand capability seen on the Flygrip. So if an errant elbow on the subway has sent your phone flying, consider one of these handy accessories for security and peace of mind.

Zeiss VR One

Everyone knows that virtual reality is the Next Big Thing. The problem is that there aren’t too many good solutions out there yet. The optics whizzes at Zeiss have created a headset that works with popular smartphones to give you a full VR experience on the cheap. Just insert your device into its compatible tray and slide it into the headset to watch immersive movies, play games, and interact with virtual reality apps. The headset is surprisingly comfortable, and as soon as I tried it on I was transported to a football stadium complete with fans, cheerleaders, and players. Move your head, and the scene changes accordingly.

VR One trays are available for the Apple iPhone 6, the LG G3, Nexus 5, and the Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, and S6.

Neo smartpen N2

Some have hailed the digital era as the end of pen and paper, but Neo says no. Their device, called the smartpen N2, works as an everyday ballpoint pen. However, when used with their proprietary paper pads, the smartpen N2 comes alive. It uses a Bluetooth connection to wirelessly transmit every stroke of the pen in real time or later on to an iOS or Android app. Once there, you can search, transcribe, edit, color, and share.

256 levels of pressure sensitivity make the smartpen N2 a powerful tool for artists, and sketches can be exported into Evernote, Google Drive, and Adobe applications. Students and instructors alike can take advantage of Record and Play, which syncs the notes you take to audio recordings. The smartpen N2 lasts for up to five hours on a charge and weighs less than an ounce.

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