For the lazy suburbanite, Friendly Robotics has created a fully automatic lawnmower. Once you've installed a perimeter wire, the rechargeable battery-powered RL500 will mow inside the designated area in a triangular pattern, avoiding obstacles, until it's finished. It can finish a yard the size of a tennis court in a little over two hours.
Why should government spooks have all the fun? A range of surveillance gadgets is available to the discerning private buyer - gadgets such as this tiny and easily-concealed camera and the capture card that lets it communicate with your computer. Be your own Neighbourhood Watch!
Price: Spycam $129, capture card $99
Phone: (03) 9421 2600
Pocket lie detector
Expand your spying capabilities with this pocket polygraph. The Truster uses a new voice stress analysis chip allegedly developed for the Israeli military, and claims to be able to tell whether the subject is lying after only 15 seconds of calibration. Made in Korea, it features a somewhat eccentric interface display consisting of an apple and a pot.
911 Computer Company
Of course, you'll want to protect your backyard intelligence agency from nosy neighbours. The PlusGuard is a small counter-surveillance device that detects the radio waves emitted by some types of audio or video bugs. This is also a great present for your paranoid friends, who will probably end up believing that the PlusGuard itself is spying on them.
The new Ericsson R380s is the Swiss Army Knife of mobile phones. Incorporating the functions of a PDA, it can surf the Net, send and receive e-mail, calculate, hold a contacts list, tell you the time around the world, and let you make typed or handwritten notes and voice memos. However, it lacks a corkscrew for business lunches.
Phone: 1300 650 050
GPS for Palm
Is your Palm V starting to look dated, with all those new gadgets coming out? Keep it in the high-tech toy race with this clip-on Global Positioning System device for your PDA. Its low-profile shape holds a 12-channel receiver that calculates your position and feeds it to the Palm V's software for display.
Phone: (08) 9444 233
Mouse with memory
The mouse seems to be an irresistible target for gadget makers - perhaps because it's relatively simple and cheap, and almost every computer has one. The latest to get into the act is Sony with its Memory Stick USB Mouse, which combines a reliable optical mouse with the ability to read Sony's proprietary flash memory card.
Phone: 1300 137 669
IBM's big screen
With all the publicity Microsoft gets, many people don't realise that IBM is still the world's biggest computer company, and continues to research cool and innovative technology. One of its latest products is this huge, ultra-sharp monitor which has 9 million pixels on its 22in frame. That's 12 times the resolution of any monitor on the market today, and something to look forward to when it appears on the consumer market some years hence.