Cool stuff: Your 2007 holiday gift guide

More than 50 amazing gifts for the technology lovers in your life

SensorfreshQ

Is there a cook or homemaker on your list who always sniffs a package of meat to make sure it's safe? Get them the SensorfreshQ ($90) from Food Quality Sensor International. This small handheld device replaces your nose with four electronic sensors -- you point it at your meat, press the button, and it "inhales" whatever bacteria might be nearby and measures their concentration.

A green light means it's perfectly fresh, a yellow light means eat it soon, and a red light means it's probably not fresh any more. You can find the SensorfreshQ online or at Sur la Table outlets. No more recoiling in disgust at that rotten meat smell!

Price: US$90
Summary: Is that meat fresh? Now you'll never have to guess.
Jake Widman

i-SOBOT

Most robots walk like, well, robots. The i-SOBOT, which Tomy Corp. calls the world's smallest "high-tech humanoid," can truly walk the walk. Nearly a year after the product was announced, Tomy's karate-chopping, dancing bot finally went on sale in the US last month.

The 6.5-in., US$300 biped boasts capabilities normally found in more expensive kit robots; i-SOBOT's 17 servo motors and gyroscopic sensors allow more realistic movement and balance than has been available in robots in this price range. Using a remote control, the operator can choose from 80 different preprogrammed actions and can store up to 80 command sequences on each of three remote buttons and play the routines later.

I-SOBOT spouts some 200 words and phrases as it goes through its antics, and it uses an embedded microphone with a voice recognition processor to respond to 10 "commands." The commands are designed more to elicit a response than to then execute a specific function.

Commands such as "How are you?" or "Make me laugh" cause i-SOBOT to respond with "appropriate but unpredictable actions," according to Tomy. Preprogrammed "special action" commands play back routines, such as this one, where the i-SOBOT walks and talks as if it's drunk.

Price: US$300-US$350
Summary: The first preassembled robot to achieve "well articulated" walking movement uses 17 servo motors and a gyro sensor to help it maintain balance as it walks, does somersaults, dances and performs other actions. Robert L. Mitchell

3rdSpace Vest

Haptic feedback is all the rage in video games. Xbox and other controllers shake and rattle to simulate impact and augment on-screen action. Haptics dramatically improve realism, even when applied in a small handheld controller.

The 3rdSpace Vest (US$170) from TN Games provides "eight active zones" of rib-crushing haptics. When someone shoots you on the right side, you feel it on your right side. When you get kicked in the chest, you feel that, too. You'll feel every shotgun blast to the torso, every body slam and every frag grenade. You'll even feel light nudges and taps.

The 3rdSpace Vest is bundled with a game written by the company called 3rd Space Incursion, a first-person shooter game. The vest comes in black, camo and hot pink, and is currently for the PC only.

Price: US$169.99 Summary: The 3rdSpace Vest boosts the realism of games by letting you feel the explosions and body impact of on-screen action. Mike Elgan

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Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

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