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Geared Up

Presenting our annual Tech Special, starring smart TVs, cutting-edge audio and robots, robots, robots!

Author Adam K. Raymond


It’s a snake! It’s a scorpion! It’s Lego’s latest robotic smart toy! Introduced in 1998, Lego Mindstorms are sets of customizable robots with “intelligent bricks” (i.e., programmable brains) that make their shape-shifting bodies do whatever they’re told. EV3 is the latest generation of Mindstorms and the first to allow commands to be input directly into the brick instead of using a computer as middleman. The favorite toy of future MIT students comes with an infrared beacon and touch sensors, allowing the robot to “see” its surroundings and, if you tell it to, attack them. The EV3 set comes with instructions on how to build 17 different robots; however, the real point of toys like this is going beyond the instructions to come up with new ways to unnerve people. $350 / www.legoeducation.us



Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” He was talking about sports, but as the absentminded know, losing stuff can also become routine. Stick-N-Find, a new application of Bluetooth technology, is for those people. First, the chronic loser applies quarter-size stickers to anything that’s easily misplaced, from TV remotes to schnauzers. Then, he or she can use the smartphone app to page the stickers, which beep and light up. The app also tracks stickers onscreen if light and sound don’t lead to that eureka moment. Stick-N-Find even functions as a virtual leash: Attach one to a curious kid, and when he moves too far away, your phone will let you know it’s time to start yelling. $70 / www.sticknfind.com

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