Got a budding LeBron in your house? This nicely textured indoor/outdoor roundball contains nine separate sensors that can analyze his dribbling skills, shot release, backspin, and arc, then deliver verbal feedback via Bluetooth to his smart phone. At $300, this smart ball is roughly ten times more expensive than its less brainy cousins, but it’s still cheaper than a personal shot coach. Available now, iOS only.
Home surveillance doesn’t get easier than this. This 8-inch tall WiFi video camera offers a 180 degree view of any room in your home, delivering the images to your smart phone or tablet. You can move the camera to peer around the room or split the screen into four views to cover every corner. Motion and light sensors can alert you when anyone enters the room; a two way speaker lets you listen in and talk back. It uses something called the Z-Wave wireless protocol to communicate with other devices, such as smart plugs, so you can also use the app turn the lights on and off as well. It’s a great way to keep an eye on your kids and/or terrify the babysitter. Starts at $239, Android and iOS, available now.
Ever wish your kids’ bikes had turn signals? Wish no more. Helios’s slick, stylish handlebars feature a powerful built-in headlight and rear-facing LEDs at each end, which you can control to indicate turns — making it safer for your tykes to bike at night. The lights also act as a kind of speedometer, changing colors as you increase speed. The bars use Bluetooth to communicate with your phone’s GPS to offer turn-by-turn navigation or automatically turn on the lights as you approach. Available in three styles. $279, available January 2014.
What is that rash on your son’s face? How do you fix a leaky toilet? Can you divorce your husband for snoring? You could spend hours searching for answers to these questions on the InterWebs and still not know whether the information you’ve found is reliable. Or you can pay a small fee and get an authoritative answer from an expert in 7 to 10 minutes. Pearl rounds up more than 10,000 highly vetted specialists in 700 fields, from auto mechanics to zoologists. Formerly known as JustAnswer.com, the site has been around for a decade. What’s new is the new family friendly pricing; you can buy bundles that let you resolve three issues for $39 to $59, depending on the topic. Information may want to be free, but real answers usually cost money. Try it out at pearl.com.