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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


At first glance, Sphero is just a little plastic ball with a cute face. At second glance, it’s a golf ball, a scuba diver, a rolling camera and just about any other thing that app developers can come up with. Created by Colorado-based robotics group Orbotix, Sphero is a smartphone-controlled robot that pairs with Android or Apple devices and can be used to navigate homemade obstacle courses, chase pets through the house or play dozens of preprogrammed games. Individual Spheros can recognize each other, too—allowing for a raucous game of Sphero tag that doesn’t even require you to get off the couch. $130 / www.gosphero.com



Who needs ears to listen to music? Not the owners of these Bluetooth headphones, which rely on bone conduction technology to pipe music into your brain without clogging up your ears. The headphones sit on the cheekbones and create sound through vibration, which can be handy for those who like to listen to music while remaining aware of ambient noises. That includes walkers wary of errant runners, runners wary of errant cyclists, and cyclists wary of errant drivers. Not yet priced / www.panasonic.com

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