Every month we search far and wide to bring you a dozen of the best new ideas in gear. These gadgets are the first, the best and the latest. Check out the gallery below to get the first look at what consumer technology has brought us this month.
Click to launch our guide to this January’s best gadgets.
Improv Electronics’s memo board saves sketches, lists and notes for later. Apply pressure to the 9.5-inch screen, and liquid crystals under the surface turn from clear to green. Flash storage holds 200 files, which a processor converts to PDF files for transfer to a computer. Improv Electronics Boogie Board Rip $130
HP’s scanner captures 3-D objects without complicated lighting setups. Users place an object on the bed and extend a camera-equipped arm above it. The eight-megapixel camera snaps six shots (three exposures with and without flash), which an internal processor merges together to produce a single perfectly lit still. HP TopShot LaserJet Pro M275 $400
Callers don’t need to re-pair the Luna Bluetooth headset. The earpiece has a near-field communication chip to quickly link with a cellphone. When someone pops the Luna out of its base, the headset sends a signal to the phone telling it to turn on Bluetooth and put the call through. Nokia Luna Price not set
The Bottle Lock frees bikers from bulky U-locks and clanking chains. The five-foot plastic-coated steel cable coils inside a bottle that rests in a standard frame-mounted cage. It reels out of the bottle, wraps around the bike frame, and locks back into itself. Küat Bottle Lock $34
Watching 3-D TV is terribly awkward for eyeglass wearers, who need to stack on two sets of specs to get the 3-D effect. LG’s 1.1-ounce pair of clip-on lenses works with any of the company’s passive 3-D displays. The lenses’ circular polarization also matches up with most movie-theater 3-D. LG AG-F220 $20
The AppBlaster gun adds a precision grip to iPhones. Snap the phone to the barrel, and download one of seven compatible apps. Games superimpose targets and enemies—ducks, troops, aliens—over a live camera image of the room around you. Pulling the trigger taps two conductive pads on the screen to fire. AppFinity AppBlaster $20
At just over eight pounds, the MegaPlex is a complete pop-up theater. Its three LCD-based projector bulbs pump out 2,800 lumens, which is enough light to display video from a laptop, game system or even a smartphone as a 100-inch image. Two 10-watt speakers handle the audio. [Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD $800
With multiple processors onboard, Gibson’s Firebird X can generate its own effects, including distortion and reverb, or shift through any of 55 tonal variations using knobs on the body. Strummers can also load their own custom effects from a computer over USB. Gibson Firebird X $5,570
Both rugged and portable, Yamaha’s single-speaker iPod dock doesn’t skimp on bass. Behind its protective steel grill, a four-inch woofer pumps out mids and lows while a single tweeter handles the high notes. Together they provide booming mobile output. Yamaha PDX-11 $100
The 14-inch-tall Laundry POD saves campers and road-trippers from dirty duds, using little water and no electricity. When washers crank the handle, gears spin the internal drum (containing up to six T-shirts and 1.5 gallons of water) three times for every rotation. Drain the soapy water through the base, refill to rinse, and then spin dry. The Laundry POD $100
The BungeeAir keeps iPhone owners from losing their phones, and their keys. A key fob and paired phone case connect on the long-range 2.4-gigahertz wireless frequency. If the devices separate by more than 50 feet, the pieces alert the user. Kensington BungeeAir Wireless Security Tether $100
Joy of Six
Milwaukee’s pliers can snip a screw or create a wire loop without the user ever having to change his grip. A wire stripper and a bolt cutter sit side by side inside the jaw of this spring-loaded needle nose. Milwaukee 6 in 1 Combination Pliers $33