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 $30

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 $11

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 $100

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 $119

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 $20

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 $1,800

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 $40

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 $1.99

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 $2,000

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 $249

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) $399

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 $25