The 10 Best Things From January 2015

Some things are just ... better

This article was originally published in the January 2015 issue of Popular Science, under the title "Obsessed".

Ryobi Phone Works Infrared Thermometer
Ryobi's new tool plugs into a smartphone's audio jack, allowing it to measure temperatures from -22°F to 662°F—in real time, no less. $50Courtesy Ryobi
Sure, it's the kind of problem you'd see in a late-night infomercial, but spreading cold butter on toast isn't easy. Struggle no more: Australian industrial design group Design Momentum embedded a grater into a butter knife, turning clumps into thin ribbons. $15Courtesy Design Momentum
Filters improve photos only so much. Camera51 helps before the shutter snaps. The Android app analyzes the subject and surroundings, then guides users toward the ideal frame. It will even flag objects that might otherwise ruin a perfect image. FreeCourtesy Camera51
Blade 98S
Wilson's Blade series is the first set of tennis rackets to incorporate basalt, a natural shock absorber, into the weave and the base. In tests, the Blade gave players better control over the ball, and it filtered and absorbed forces from impact. $230Courtesy Wilson
EC Lync System
If there's one thing closets and luggage always need, it's more space. Eagle Creek solved that conundrum with a full-size rolling suitcase that can collapse—frame, wheels, and all—to a fraction of the size. From $280Courtesy Eagle Creek
ResMed S+
Most sleep trackers are mattress pads or wearable devices, which rely on your movement to tell if you're asleep. They're uncomfortable and can be inaccurate. S+ sits on a bedside table and uses low-frequency radio waves to measure breathing and determine when you're actually sleeping or lying awake. $150Courtesy Resmed
"Things Come Apart"
January means it's time for a fresh perspective. "Things Come Apart," a calendar based on photographer Todd McLellan's book of the same name, shows the inner workings of objects, like telephones and telescopes. $12.45Courtesy Andrews McMeel Publishing
Uncharted Play Pulse
Soccket Ball inventor Uncharted Play has created a jump rope that turns rotational energy into electricity. Five minutes of jumping powers an LED lamp for an hour. $99Courtesy Uncharted Play
Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-I
SanDisk has created the largest-capacity SD card available. To pack a half-terabyte (512 GB) of memory into an object the size of a postage stamp, SanDisk arranged two vertical 16-die stacks side by side. $640Courtesy Sandisk
In director Michael Mann's latest thriller, the world's cybersecurity lies in the hands of a convicted hacker (Chris Hemsworth). He's part of an international team that tries to stop criminals threatening to undo networks, nuclear reactors, and more. Jan. 16Courtesy Legendary Pictures