To help move you into the holiday spirit, Motion System Design editors have assembled a few ideas for that special someone on your list. Treat a friend or treat yourself, and use the justifications as needed. Happy holidays!
Zero Gravity massage chair
What it is: A robotic backrub.
Why it's fun: Push a button to shift into the position developed for astronauts during takeoff, and enjoy a massage customized by shape sensors that measure body mass and height. “Grasp and knead” rollers work on the neck and shoulders like real hands, “compression foot and leg massage” improves circulation, and “stiffness detection sensors” locate and treat tension.
Justification: Save lots of money by never leaving the house.
$4,999 • sanyomassagechairs.com
Clarisonic skin care system
What it is: A high-tech washcloth.
Why it's fun: This sonic oscillation face brush cleanses and stimulates the skin - the first step to getting a really close shave. According to company research, the device is twice as effective as manually washing with soap and water, and can be used in the shower. It's from the same engineer who invented the Sonicare toothbrush, a cult classic among gadget lovers.
Justification: Who doesn't love really clean skin?
$195 • clarisonic.com
Looj gutter cleaning robot
What it is: A fun and fast way to do a dreaded chore.
Why it's fun: With a remote control that doubles as a detachable handle, the Looj plows through the gutter and sweeps out dirt and debris. With a fast spinning, bidirectional auger, the robot cleans a 60-ft gutter section in 10 minutes.
Justification: Less time on housework means more time with friends and family.
$99 • irobot.com
StealthSurfer privacy manager
What it is: A way to surf the web in total secrecy.
Why it's fun: Sensitive Internet files such as cookies, Internet history, and cache are stored on this key-sized USB device instead of the home or office computer. It comes loaded with software from Firefox, Anonymizer, RoboForm, and Thunderbird to let users securely surf the web and check e-mail, hide their computer's IP address from hackers, and save Internet passwords.
Justification: Even if you're not doing anything “bad” on the computer, it's smart to protect your identity.
$149 • stealthsurfer.com
Electrobike Model Pi Kit
What it is: A sleek, Ferrari red bike that does all the work if you want it to.
Why it's fun: This “human-electric hybrid” charges from a standard outlet in a couple of hours and then goes about 30 miles. Riders can switch between pure pedal power, a combination of electrical/pedal input, and a fully motorized ride. A lightweight aluminum frame, rechargeable NiMH batteries, solid-state circuitry, and a brushless 36 V flywheel close the loop on saving gas.
Justification: Reduce your carbon footprint and help save the planet.
$7,200 • dwr.com
Bamboo pen tablet
What it is: A computer interface device that's not a mouse.
Why it's fun: Pen tablets help people interact with computers in fun and efficient ways. Four “express keys” customize routine commands like “copy,” while a finger-sensitive “touch ring” allows quick zooming and scrolling. With a pen-on-paper feel, it's easy to use the new pen input features in both Mac and PC environments.
Justification: Wrist fatigue. This little gadget is a lot cheaper than seeing the doctor for a repetitive motion injury.
$79.99 • wacom.com
Havoc Heli Laser Battle
What it is: A modern take on war games.
Why it's fun: Fly into position either indoors or out, fire the controller, and send your opponent into a wild tailspin. With two helicopters, two controllers, rechargeable batteries, and authentic battle sounds, this toy could make its owner famous and popular on the home front.
Justification: Fighting with the kids has never been this much fun.
$79.99 • airhogs.com
Genius digital photo frame
What it is: A way to show off the images stuck on your digital camera's memory card.
Why it's fun: Digital photo frames let people display all those pictures they wish they had time to print. The 10.4-in. high-density screen with oak or walnut finish stores up to 700 images, supports six types of memory cards, and includes a clock, calendar, and remote control.
Justification: Set this photo frame on your desk as a reminder why you work so hard all year.
$229 • geniusnetusa.com