If your loved one likes to listen to their favourite tunes or podcasts while drifting off to sleep and standard earbuds are just not practical, SleepPhones by Acoustic Sheep may be the solution.
This bed-friendly gadget from a cleverly named company is literally headphones in a headband. Nestled between the layers of comfortably fitting fabric is an easily accessible and removable tiny rechargeable wireless Bluetooth module connected to a pair of flat speakers.
The lightweight headband stays snuggly on the head – even for those who tend to sleep on their sides. It allows listeners to enjoy their audio without the worries of getting strangled by wires or having their earbuds fall out as they toss and turn throughout the night.
They are designed for sleeping but are also great for working out or walking outside in the cold while keeping the ears covered.
They come in three sizes, a variety of colours and a choice of two fabric styles: Fleece – for a more soft, warm and luxurious feel – and Breeze – a breathable, cooler style ideal for exercising. Both are non-pilling, hypoallergenic, and made from pre-shrunk and washable 95 percent polyester and five percent spandex.
SleepPhones offer basic audio play functions, including a power on/off switch. The battery is rated for up to 12 hours of play with a recharge time of about two hours.
Truly Ergonomic Cleave Keyboard
If you’re looking for a great gift for someone who practically lives on their computer, consider the Truly Ergonomic Cleave Keyboard. It’s designed to allow you to maximize your typing experience with less fatigue and strain on your hands and body posture.
Designed in Canada, its unique split symmetrical layout aligns naturally with your hands. It incorporates all the standard full-sized keys in an almost columnar layout. It uses 40 percent less space while maintaining traditional spacing between keys. As a result, you can cover more real estate on the keyboard without having to reach out, minimizing wrist and shoulder pain.
But there are some changes from a traditional keyboard. The more common and important function keys like the Backspace, Delete, Shift and Enter are not placed on the perimeter but rather at the centre for quick and easy access for your strongest fingers.
The keys consist of unique optical, infrared mechanical switches, which use infrared light rather than metal or rubber contacts to register the keystroke. That makes the keyboard accurate, effortless while doing away with many of the issues that plague traditional mechanical keyboards.
You can choose from three variant key switches at the time of purchase, depending on your typing style. Tactile Silent keys provide feedback from the keys, Tactile Clicky keys, which click with each keystroke, and Linear Silent keys, where you don’t feel or hear anything.
The keyboard body is composed of aerospace-grade aluminum, allowing it to be strong yet slim and sturdy. It comes with a cushioned palm rest to keep the hands comfortable and measures 13.6 x 8.8 x 1.25 inches (345 x 225 x 33 mm), and weighs two pounds (950g).
Other features include white LED backlight control to suit your lighting conditions and an advanced nanocoating shield to protect the surface from water, dust and even those pesky food crumbs because who doesn’t eat sitting at their keyboard.
Truly Ergonomic Cleave Keyboard retails for C$330. It is available directly for C$199 with promo code XMAS40 with free shipping in North America.
360 Degree Portable Speakerphone
Do you know someone who likes to spend time talking on the phone hands-free but doesn’t necessarily want to wear earbuds or headphones? Then take a look at the Essential Speakerphone SP-2000 by Cyber Acoustics.
It features a bi-directional 360-degree speakerphone with an Omni-directional noise-cancelling microphone system that allows you to speak from within three metres while providing crystal clear sound from anywhere in the room.
It can be connected via USB-C or Bluetooth 5.0, so it can function wireless or wired. You can connect via Bluetooth to any iPhone or smartphone or tablet as well as via USB to your Mac or Windows machine. It has on-board controls so you can easily toggle between them with the push of a button.
It’s also ideal for Zoom, small group calls or even for use in your car. At a mere 5.7 (L) x 6.3 (W) x 1.9 (H) inches and only 0.66 lb., it’s portable and small enough for travel. Its built-in battery will give you up to 12 hours before needing to be recharged.
Essential Speakerphone SP-2000 ships with a USB-C charging cable and user guide. It retails for US$69.99 at Amazon.com but you can also pick one up from Dell Canada for C$89.99.
Moen Voice-Activated Touches Faucet
If you’re looking for a gift that’s useful and for the entire family but still has a little bit of that high-tech feel, then look no further than the U by Moen Smart Faucet.
It turns on the water hands-free when you wave over a sensor through voice activation or mobile app, saving you time, money. Of course, you can also use the handle.
It also lets you save on the amount of water you use. For example, you can ask it to please dispense 3/4 of a cup of water, as little as one tablespoon or from 15 ml up to 56 litres which, I guess, we might need on the rare occasion. You can also request the water to be dispensed at a specific temperature so you’re not scalding yourself. Even better, you can create presets for frequently used settings like filling the baby’s bottle or the morning coffee pot with exactly 12 cups of water. There’s even a hand wash command so you know exactly how long your hands need to be washed.
Moen’s technology comes in a myriad of designs and finishes for any modern, traditional or transitional kitchen style that will suit any taste.
Prices in Canada start at about $350. You can buy them on Amazon and home improvement outlets like Lowes & Home Depot.
Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator, blogger, podcaster and author. Reach him @gadgetgreg or at GadgetGuy.ca. For interview requests, click here.
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