Explainer: 10 gadgets that wage war on winter
For many of us, the cold winter weather has arrived — and that means dealing with the snow, the cold and cabin fever. The following gadgets can help you overcome these obstacles in the home, in the outdoors and even with the clothing you wear. You'll be ready for the winter all right — even if it turns into the next Ice Age.
When I was a kid in upstate New York, listening to the weatherman on the radio announce closings was the highlight of my year. When my school was on the list, the excitement was overwhelming — that is until my dad handed me a Toro snowblower that was no bigger than a broom and pointed to the driveway — a huge driveway covered in a foot of snow, including four feet at the edge of the driveway where the plow had passed.
As I hopelessly toiled away, I dreamed of the RoboPlow. The concept from IdeaLaboratories is a remote-controlled vehicle with six-wheel drive, a 50-inch plow, 660 amps of power and on-board camera. As you can see in the linked YouTube video, it can do the work of 10 extremely annoyed 13-year olds in under a minute. YouTube
Poseidon patio heater
Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you have to stay indoors. The Posideon patio heater will keep things toasty with a 13-foot heating radius and a max 2,700-watt heat setting. Plus, it runs on electricity so you don't have to deal with the dangers of flammable fuel.
The Poseidon does have an unusual feature — a little 4GB media player perched on top. Think of it like watching a movie on an iPhone if it was 5-feet away and another 6-feet in the air. The on-screen action is so real, you will swear that you can actually feel the heat from the explosions! Of course, that heat you feel might be your clothes bursting into flames as you approach the heater trying to see what's on the screen. $1,482 - Chillchaser.
Try jogging in the cold — the air feels like it's burning your lungs. The ColdAvenger mask makes breathing a lot easier by mixing the cold air you inhale with the warm, humidified air you exhale. Plus people in your path will likely run along with you — because if there is one thing I've learned in this life it's that if you see a guy barreling down the road with something that looks like a gas mask on, you run the same direction. $50 to $80 - Talus
Being cooped up indoors all day combined with long, dark winter nights can be downright depressing. Sky Factory virtual skylights and windows can help you overcome this kind of seasonal depression by bringing a window with warm sunny skies to just about any room.
The effect is actually an illusion created by video on high-definition LCD screens mounted to look like windows. Almost instantly your home or office can be transformed from the hotel in "The Shining" to a tropical retreat. Just wait and see, the urge to kill just will just melt away. Price TBD - The Sky Factory.
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Is this a radiator, or the coffee table in Superman's Fortress of Solitude? Nobo is an electric heater, believe it or not, and it simulates a fire pit by illuminating the glass logs in the center with a video of a flickering fire. The whole process can be controlled with a few taps on the iPod-style touch wheel. I have it on good authority that Superman's coffee table does look a lot like this, except that it's actually made of ice and it's covered with knitting magazines. Apparently, that's what the so-called "Man of Steel" does with his spare time. $2,800 - Cl-Designs
Cold weather makes smart phones seem like a sports car in Alaska — pretty but useless. And that's because you can't use the touchscreen unless you take your gloves off. Of course, if you do take your gloves off you risk numb fingers that could fail you at inopportune moments — like when your precious phone is dangling precariously from your grip. Agloves remedy that situation thanks to silver threading that can transfer the bioelectricity from your skin to the screen. $17.99 - Agloves
Coz-E electric blanket
Behold, the ultimate evolution of wearable blanket technology: The Coz-E. Finally, the heating pad has become one with the Snuggie. That means I don't have to settle for stuffing a heating pad inside a bathrobe I'm wearing backwards. Yeah, sometimes I'll do that while I'm sitting on the couch eating chips and watching my stories on the picture box. Hopefully they will come out with a camouflage version down the line — then my life will be complete. $68 - Urban Outfitters via Fashionably Geek
Somewhere along the line human beings went from a rugged lifestyle, where simply surviving the winter was cause for celebration, to a lifestyle where we use heated pouches to warm up our Hello Kitty pajamas. I'm sure our ancestors would be proud. This pajamas-warming pouch has a heating element that can reach up to 118 degrees on only 50 watts of power. Of course, you could toss those pajamas into the dryer for a few minutes and achieve the same effect. $40 - Hammacher Schlemmer via Fashionably Geek
This gas-powered snowboard allows you to effortlessly surf in the snow at up to 18 mph. It features a 6 1/2-hp four-cycle engine, a frame made from aluminum and high-density ABS plastic and two hours of operating time on 3/4 gallon of gasoline. Think of it as the Segway of the slopes — a lot of fun, as long as nobody sees you riding it. $2,500 - Hammacher Schlemmer
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The Year 'Round sled
I may have escaped the crippling weather of upstate New York, but every once in a while I miss the snow. I'll admit that we had lots of fun sledding on the hills at local parks. Fortunately, even in warm weather I can still enjoy the thrill — all I need is one of these Year 'Round sleds and a secret spot where a 32-year old man can sled far, far from his wife and her opinions on maturity. The molds under the sled can be removed, filled with water and frozen — making it possible to slide down just about any hill with or without snow. $89.95 - Hammacher Schlemmer
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