The Goods: July 2013's Hottest Gadgets

A dozen great ideas in gear, including a programmable flashlight, a customizable robot toy, and socks that'll last a lifetime

Tech21 Impact Shield
The Impact Shield is the toughest screen protector available. As thin as a sticker, it's composed of three layers: The hard top layer disperses blows, the middle one prevents cracks with a material used in bulletproof glass, and the soft base absorbs energy. The shield reduces impact forces by 80 percent. Tech21 Impact Shield $30Courtesy Tech21
Gerber Daily Carry Hook Knife
The GDC Hook Knife is one of the safest keychain blades made. To release the blade from the sheath, a user slips his index finger through the aluminum ring handle and braces his thumb on the grip. The two-inch stainless-steel knife is sharp enough to cut through a seat belt. Gerber Daily Carry Hook Knife $11Sam Kaplan
WowWee RoboMe
The foot-tall RoboMe is a customizable iPhone-based robot toy. Through its app, a user chooses eye shapes, facial-hair styles, and accents. And because RoboMe has voice-recognition software and an infrared sensor, it can learn vocal commands and avoid obstacles. WowWee RoboMe $100Sam Kaplan
HexBright Flex
The Flex is the first programmable flashlight. Complete with a microprocessor, the six-inch aluminum light plugs into a computer via USB. Once connected, users can program it with open-source codes: for example, a mode that switches the light on or off depending on its orientation. HexBright Flex $119Courtesy Hexbright
KEEN Olympus Socks
Olympus socks are guaranteed to last for life. Designers at KEEN reinforced the toes and heels with Dyneema, a fiber 15 times stronger than steel that's also used in cut-resistant gloves. The result is a sock that won't get holes. Now, if they could just figure out how to keep it from getting lost in the dryer. KEEN Olympus From $20Sam Kaplan
Toshiba Kirabook Laptop
The touchscreen on the Kirabook laptop won't wobble when it's pressed. To increase stability, engineers switched the typical two-millimeter-wide hinge to a five-millimeter-wide one. The larger hinge means a user can poke the screen without bracing it with the other hand. Toshiba Kirabook From $1,800Courtesy Toshiba
Mission EnduraCool Instant Cooling Towel
The EnduraCool towel retains its chill even in the hottest sun. A user first soaks the 27-by-55-inch towel and wrings it out. As air flows around the special hollow fibers, the water inside evaporates, bringing any remaining droplets to 30 degrees below body temperature. Mission EnduraCool Instant Cooling Towel $40Courtesy Mission
FocusTwist iOS APP
With the FocusTwist iOS app, photographers can refocus an image after shooting it. First, over the course of about two seconds, the phone camera takes dozens of pictures with different focal points. Then users tap the area they'd like to focus on. Arqball FocusTwist $1.99Courtesy Arqball
Acoustic-Electric Pegasus Guitar
The acoustic-electric Pegasus guitar cuts down on screechy feedback. Instead of a sound hole, it has two 18-inch-long slits. As a result, the strings and body vibrate less with the sound the speakers emit when the guitar is plugged in. Jon Kammerer Guitars Pegasus Guitar From $2,000Dan Bracaglia
Kwikset Kevo Lock
Keys aren't necessary with the Kwikset Kevo lock. Over Bluetooth, a user pairs the battery-powered dead bolt with a smartphone running the UniKey app. The lock opens with a touch, but only when the phone is nearby. Kwikset Kevo powered by UniKey $249Courtesy Kwikset
The SPRiZZi Carbonation Machine
The SPRiZZi carbonation machine makes soda in one step. A user pops a two-ounce flavor pod into the cartridge. Inside, carbon dioxide from a replaceable canister mixes with chilled water and the flavor. Each pod costs about 35 cents; the life cycle of the CO2 canister is 100 pods. SPRiZZi (available August) $399Courtesy Sprizzi
3M Paint Defender
The 3M Paint Defender keeps car paint looking new. The polyurethane-based coating sprays on as a liquid and dries into an invisible film in approximately three hours. The coating lasts about a year—longer than other sprays—at which point it can be peeled off and reapplied. 3M Paint Defender $25Courtesy 3M