Cool Science For (What's Left of) Summer

Take one last high-tech trip to the beach this holiday weekend

The life of a beach bum can be surprisingly high-tech. The latest warm-weather gear draws on clever chemistry for both fun (a chameleon-like surfboard) and safety (a sunscreen that applies itself). And an icebox with a sun-reflective coating ensures that on a hot day, your beer will stay colder than ever.

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Channel Islands Heat-Sensitive Surfboard

Dark-colored boards are striking but impractical. They heat up in the sun, loosening the bond between the board's fiberglass and foam layers and melting the wax that surfers need to keep a grip. The outer fiberglass layer on this plank contains a heat-sensitive pigment made by Alsa. In the cool sea, the chemical compound turns a color; at about 80

New Tech Hypnotic Spin Kite

Pinwheel kites are rare because they easily corkscrew to the ground. This five-foot model adds a second, counter-rotating pinwheel that keeps it stable even in strong gusts. **$50; newtechkites.com

Coleman 200-Quart Optimaxx XP H2O Cooler

This box keeps drinks cold for an entire week. It layers a stink-fighting, antimicrobial liner, foil sheets, two types of insulation, and a polyethylene exterior that contains additives to reflect ultraviolet and infrared rays. ** $450; coleman.com

Oceanic Datamask

An LCD display in this scuba mask shows divers their depth and remaining air time. The screen is big enough that even people with poor eyesight can read it. $1,500; oceanicworldwide.com

by142 SPF15 Body Wash

The first sunscreen-in-a-soap wraps SPF-15 particles in tiny, positively charged silica shells, which cling to negatively charged skin for up to eight hours after a shower. The tech, by Aquea Scientific, will appear in more skin-care products soon. **$32; by142.com