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Do you love tech gadgets?  Or, do you know someone that would love to get some unique gifts for Christmas?  We’ve compiled a list of some of the niftiest, must-have tech items for everyone’s wish list this year.

Most people have a smartphone or tablet.  But, what you may not know is that there is a plethora of accessories and gadgets that pair with them to really increase their value and utility.  The gift ideas in this list are helpful for everyday life, or provide enriching experiences you may not have thought possible with what may be resting in your pocket.  Not everyone will think of these great gifts — you’re looking at a list that can make you king or queen of Christmas this year!

Crash Sensor

http://hiconsumption.com/2012/09/icedot-helmet-crash-sensor/
Photo Courtesy: Hiconsumption

For the cyclists and adventurists:  ICEdot’s Crash Sensor is a tiny device that mounts to your safety helmet and will notify your emergency contacts if you get it an accident.  The device pairs with an app on your smartphone. If you suffer a critical impact, a 30-second countdown starts, and if you do not disable the countdown within 30 seconds (say, if you’re incapacitated, or unconscious), your emergency contacts will be notified with your exact GPS location.  This is especially helpful if you’re cycling solo, or down a path where no one can witness your accident.  “ICE” stands for “In Case of Emergency,” and with this device, you’ll have another backup.  It’s better to be safe than sorry!  Give your loved ones peace of mind the next time you go cycling alone.

Samsung Gear VR

http://www.wareable.com/samsung/samsung-gear-vr-review
Photo Courtesy: Wareable

For those with a Samsung Galaxy 6, or later, this is an amazing device that attaches to your smartphone to provide incredible virtual reality experiences without having to fork over thousands of dollars. Virtual reality via smartphone devices is passing the “fad” phase and becoming more prevalent and mainstream — people in Brazil can get a free Gear VR with purchase of a Galaxy S7 (lucky!).

Some of the best virtual reality games now available for the Gear VR include: Minecraft, Land’s End, and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. There is even the opportunity for jaw-dropping experiences, including being able to explore space, the human brain, and the ocean. Check out PC Mag’s review of the Samsung Gear VR.  Whoever gets this tech gift for Christmas will have to fend off everyone else because everyone will want to be playing with it!

Key finders

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2013/08/14/209917395/this-little-thing-may-help-you-find-your-keys
Photo Courtesy: NPR

If you, or someone you know, has ever had trouble finding their keys, you know that this would make a great tech gift.  You have the power to rid your friends and family of the long scrambles every morning and being late due to misplaced keys.  These small dongles clip to your keychain, or you can put them in your wallet or purse, if you’d rather not misplace or lose that, too.  Use the app on your smartphone to locate your keyfinder via Bluetooth.  Some keyfinder devices have a long-lasting battery, and will beep or emit a tune so you can more easily find it when necessary. You can also set up an alert if the keyfinder gets too far from you (like if you’re about to leave your keys or wallet at a bar or a party).  Some key finder users even attach these devices to their laptop, children, pets, or anything valuable they don’t want to lose.  Check out Tom’s Guide as they review the top key finder devices.

Payment Readers

http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/paypal-here-payment-system-unveiled-16-03-2012/
Photo Courtesy: Geeky Gadgets

 

A great gift for anyone that  owns their own small business, or does work like carpentry, crafts, and even those that sell through Craigslist.  A payment reader device attaches to any smartphone or tablet to be able to accept credit and debit card payments.  Not many people carry as much cash on them these days, and if you sell products and services that cost more than $50 (most people carry less cash than that), your customers will likely prefer to pay with a card.  Highly portable, virtually all payment readers can fit in your pocket, and can text or email your customers their receipts.  Check out the top 10 payment readers here.

Smartphone-controlled BB-8

http://www.sphero.com/starwars/bb8
Photo Courtesy: Sphero

For the Star Wars fan in your life, young or old, you can buy the most famous droid in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  This small replica can balance and roll all by itself.  Pair BB-8 with your smartphone or tablet to control its movements, or program it to patrol and explore.  If you watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you can put BB-8 in its charging base, play the movie, and BB-8 will watch and react along with the film!  Optionally, you can get the Force Band accessory where you can use “The Force” (hand gestures) to control and move BB-8, and even take part in training to master the skills of a Jedi.

Osmo

http://teacherstechtoolbox.com/?p=531
Photo Courtesy: Teachers Tech Toolbox

 

If you’re a parent or teacher looking to make your child’s time with their iPad more educational, the Osmo game system is a great Christmas gift.  For kids ages 5-12, Osmo is an award-winning game system that pairs with your iPad, and uses the camera to incorporate more hands-on play for a highly interactive learning experience through fun problem-solving activities.

For example, the starter kit includes Tangram, where children use geometric puzzle pieces to match on-screen shapes.  This encourages spatial thinking and exercises children’s visual problem-solving skills. Children can also learn about physics with the Newton set, where children can use lines drawn on paper, the Tangram pieces from the starter kit, and regular household objects to guide falling on-screen balls into goals.  The Coding set teaches logic skills in the digital industry that is increasingly becoming a desired talent to have for job candidates.

In an app world populated with thousands of games deemed addictive or mindless to play, Osmo is a great choice to break the mold and help make your child’s screen time more productive and educational.

Hopefully, you’ve gotten a good idea of some of the best, must-have tech gifts to give this year.  Think about the people in your life and how some of them can benefit from getting a helpful, fun, and/or educational tech gift this year.  Do you have a favorite in this list?  Or, do you know of a unique tech gift you think you have on your list for a loved one?  Let us know!