Ah, the wonders of technology. From harnessing solar power to exploring Mars, mankind continuously proves itself capable of achieving the imagination’s wildest ideas.
But not all of us are out there using tech to solve the world’s biggest problems. (We’re watching you, Elon Musk.) For those of us who marvel at the wonders of Facetime (I mean you, Grandma Kay) or are endlessly entertained by a banana-shaped Bluetooth phone (guilty), tech is a way for us to revel in ease or delight in absurdly unnecessary—but undeniably delightful—things.
The following gadgets are a trove of ingenuity, from a beer pong robot to a pair of smart yoga pants. Shop for yourself, your friends, or the random cousin whose name you drew in the holiday gift exchange.
Embrace your inner control freak
There’s nothing like the first, piping-hot sip of coffee. Pure bliss! Contentment, at last! Then, sip by sip, the feeling slips away from us with the temperature declines. But not anymore. This mug lets you pick the exact temperature (between 120 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit) of your morning brew, and keeps it steady for 80 minutes.
Pants that are smarter than you
Forget yoga pants with Namaste written on the leg. Now you can wear your yoga teacher! These smart yoga pants guide you through yoga poses by using vibration and audio technology. Sounds complicated, right? Not really. You can still wash and tumble dry these with the rest of your non-intelligent clothing.
Turn your apartment into a farm
Live from the land even if you have no land to your name! This smart garden takes up about as much space as a bookcase, but feeds you fresh greens straight from Mother Nature herself all year long. Equipped with grow lights, an automatic watering system, and a companion app, it will grow basil, lettuce, and tomato with basically no help from an irresponsible human like you—and we do love caprese salad, after all. Now you’ll go to Trader Joe’s just because you want to, not because you need to.
Be your own lab rat
If you’re still waiting for the powers of your healing crystals to kick in (I’m looking at you, Yellow Jasper), try something a little more proactive when it comes to helping you maintain mindfulness and practice good habits. The Pavlok 3 Pro tracks your steps, sleep, and activity and uses vibrations and tiny electronic shocks to help change your behavior for the better. Now that’s a good boy! Featured on Shark Tank, the device is described by happy reviewers as the “perfect tool for ADHD,” with buyers applauding its improvements in their productivity, concentration, and ability to wake up in the morning, and one retrained user candidly declares, “it hurts but it’s worth it.”
Clean your nasty phone
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from a global pandemic, it’s that we’re all filthy and don’t wash our hands nearly enough. Kindergarten, you did not do your job! Since our phones are becoming an extension of our hands (evolution, duh) we need to clean those babies too—in this zappy germ-killing chamber.
The greatest love of all
Is there anything more precious than good sleep? If you say yes, you’re lying. Casper’s Glow Light is a self-dimming light that gently lulls you off to dreamland. Give the gift of Glow and your sweetheart will be dreaming up ways to thank you for it.
It’s like having a pocket dad
I have never once opened my car’s manual to solve a problem and never will, and I know I’m not the only one who has taken this sacred vow of laziness and stubbornness. Install this Bluetooth-powered gizmo into your car in seconds, and then when your “check engine” light comes on (or something else freaky happens), it translates confusing car hieroglyphics into regular English to diagnose the problem through an app on your phone, potentially saving you loads of time and money. One five-star reviewer writes that it’s “better at diagnostics than my local repair shop.”
For the friend who should be fired for texting all day
Remember the office? The place where you went to the bathroom just to check your phone? That stealthiness seems like a faraway, half-remembered dream in the era of camera-off Zoom meetings. The makers of this phone-charging mouse pad empower you to work with your phone right out in the open. Your boss can’t see you in your living room, anyways.
Ready for the robot uprising
When this robot eventually become sentient and turns on you, the worst it can do is overserve you. Until then, this magic machine, called the Bartesian, serves as a kind of Keurig-style bartender, instantly making you dozens of different drinks. Read our full review of the Bartesian here.
Too good for a PBR?
So, cracking a cold one and sipping from its aluminum chalice doesn’t do it for you? This growler turns any beer into a heady, draft pour right in your own home. Say goodbye to putting on pants and going to the bar.
The gift you wanted in your skater phase
If only Hot Topic had sold these when you could still skateboard without hurting your back! Reconnect with your jaded, emo heart with this Bluetooth-enabled, music-playing beanie. It’s best for playing Dashboard Confessional and My Chemical Romance deep cuts.
If you’re still in 7th grade
Forget friendship bracelets. You’re not really best friends if you haven’t exchanged friendship lamps! When you’re feeling blue and missing your bestie, touch your lamp and their lamp will light up with a different hue. Sure, you could just call them to say hello, but where’s the fun in that?
Because if you don’t love Baby Yoda, you’re a sociopath
Baby Yoda has ascended to Puppy Status. Every living human thinks it's cute, and if you’re the exception to this rule, you won’t admit it out of your fear of being ostracized by society. Therefore, you can give this baby-sized speaker to literally anyone and they will have to thank you.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ll be letting the robots take over.