NY1’s Adam Balkin checks out some high-tech holiday gifts that have the rare ability to be categorized as both items you want and items you need.
A thermostat is probably right up there with socks, long johns and gloves when it comes to holidays gifts you may need but not necessarily want to be unwrapping. But if that thermostat could help you avoid having to put on socks, long johns and gloves in the first place? That's one of the promises of the $350 Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat with voice control.
“Imagine you're cuddled under your covers in bed, you're cold and don't want to get out, you can just say 'Hello thermostat, I'm feeling cold' and it will change the temperature,” said Tony Uttley of Honeywell.
Nest, which helped pioneer the smart thermostat space is at it again with another gift you may think might not be terribly fun to find under the tree, but the new $130 Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm will not only send you messages to your smartphone telling you when the alarm is going off or reminding you to change the battery, it too, will talk to you.
“Before the smoke alarm goes off it gives you a quick voice warning to say 'Heads up, there's smoke in the kitchen' and then you can simply stand underneath it, wave your arm and silence the alarm so that you can go deal with the burning toast or open the window,” said Kate Brinks of Nest.
And finally, OK, you get the first two but a lightbulb under the Christmas tree? Well, what if that lightbulb promised to help you get a better night's sleep? While many light sources like other bulbs, TVs, and tablets, emit blue spectrum light similar to sunshine, the Definity Digital Good Night lightbulb, quite simply, does not.
“Blue spectrum is something artificial light creates that does not support your body's production of melatonin, it actually prohibits your body's ability to prepare for sleep by suppressing melatonin. So what we've done is taken all the bad stuff out of that type of light and we only provide you with the white light you need to be able to function,” said Sean Tegart of Lighting Science Group.
Out for $70, developers insist it uses technology developed by NASA for astronauts to get a more restful night of sleep.