Amazon Echo: HAL For Your Home

For a long time, artificial intelli­gence existed only in science fiction. Then it started to creep into industrial computers and even phones. Now, it's coming to your home—and it's coming in the form of a speaker. The Amazon Echo acts as an intelligent hub for the house, linking together other smart appliances with a voice interface. Once set up, it listens passively at all times. When someone says the wake word—Alexa—it snaps into action. For now, those actions are limited to simple operations, like reciting your calendar events, queuing up your favorite playlist, relaying weather or sports scores and, of course, ordering household items from Amazon. But those tasks won't remain simple for long. In June, Amazon released the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), opening the platform to dozens of third-party services, devices, and apps, including WeMo, Philips Hue, Pandora, and Wink. Hal 9000, eat your heart out. $180 Jonathon Kambouris

Read about the other Best Of What’s New winners.

HAL for your Home

A Headset That Creates Holograms

Microsoft HoloLens: A Headset That Creates Holograms

Earbuds For Cord Cutters

HearNotes WireFree: Earbuds for Cord Cutters

World’s Cheapest PC

Raspberry Pi 2: World’s Cheapest PC

A Robot At Your Beck And Call

Buddy The Robot: A robot at your beck and call

The Ultimate Drone For Filmmakers

DJI Inspire 1: The Ultimate Drone for Filmmakers

A Thermal Camera For Your Phone

Seek CompactXR: A Thermal Camera For Your Phone

Longest-Lasting Smartwatch

Pebble Time Steel: Longest-Lasting Smartwatch

The Next USB Port

USB Type-C: The Next USB Port

3D At Your Fingertips

iPhone 6S: 3D At Your Fingertips