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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


Although the technology behind 3-D printing seems simple—a material is put down in layers until a three-dimensional object emerges—the potential applications make it downright revolutionary. With its ability to print two types of plastic in two colors, the Replicator 2X is the most advanced 3-D printer there is. The business uses are obvious enough (producing prototypes, etc.), but think domestic, too: Kids can fire it up to produce a replica of that vase they broke while their parents were away on vacation. Now there’s a game-changer. $2,799 / www.makerbot.com



It’s almost 2015, the year in which Marty McFly cruises around on a hoverboard in Back to the Future Part II. For now, the ZBoard might be the closest we can get to his space-age conveyance. Equipped with an electric motor, the ZBoard picks up speed when you lean forward onto a pressure-sensitive pad near the nose. Need to brake? Just lean back. The board can reach speeds of up to 15 mph and travel as far as 5 miles on one charge. It may not be able to lift you off the ground like Marty’s hoverboard, but at least it’s not pink. $649 / www.zboardshop.com

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