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Toys

Wireless file transfer, vibrating headphones and a high-tech cure for forgetfulness

by Rick Martin

Here we are in 2013. It’s an exciting time of year, a welcome opportunity to reflect and give ourselves a fresh start. I personally resolved not to make resolutions, but perhaps some of you will now be trying your best to get organized, lose some weight or save some money. These new devices may help you think about achieving your goals.

Wireless LAN flash drive

Over the holidays, you may have found yourself on vacation in some beautiful locale; and whether it was the gorgeous beach, your awesome tricks on the half-pipe or simply the great food you ate, you no doubt have tons of image and video files to share, back up and upload. The King Jim Packetta wireless LAN flash drive is a new advancement in portable storage that should help you manage your media. It comes with either 8GB (white) or 16GB (black) of storage space, and while it does need to be connected to a power source via USB to perform transfers, the convenience comes in when any device equipped with the free accompanying app is able to access files from it wirelessly. Gone are the days of passing around the thumb drive to either download or upload data. The Packetta was released late last year and can be picked up for ¥9,870 for the 8GB version or ¥14,700 for the 16GB.

www.kingjim.co.jp/sp/packetta

Bone-conductive earphones

The year is still new and swimsuit season is a way off, so now might be a good time to hit the pavement and work off the holiday-season gluttony. Music can make or break your workout, which is why you might want to check out the AfterShokz Sportz M2 headphones. These wraparound phones use bone-conductive technology to keep your ears open to environmental sounds such as car horns, bicycle bells and sirens while you’re listening to music. The headphones rest right in front of the user’s ear, channeling audio through the cheekbone and directly to the inner ear. Designed specifically for use during sports, these headphones are resistant to sweat and water, and are designed to be comfortable, light and compact. The AfterShokz Sportz are equipped with a remote control so that you can adjust volume easily, and there is also a power switch if you want to tune out for a while. If hooked up to your phone, the AfterShokz automatically answers incoming calls, turning the music off for the duration of the call, making the experience completely hands-free. The unit does need to be charged and comes with a micro USB port for the task. It works with all smartphones and MP3 players and includes a carrying pouch and a lifetime warranty. They retail for $79.95 and are available on the AfterShokz website.

www.aftershokz.com/AfterShokz-Sportz-M2-Open-Ear-Headphones-p/as321.htm

Sticky Bluetooth trackers

It’s all too easy to forget where you put things in the big yearend tidy-up traditional to Japan. StickNFind is a clever new product-and-app combo currently in preorder on Indiegogo. StickNFind consists of a Bluetooth-enabled sticker about the size and shape of a U.S. quarter, or slightly larger than a ¥100 coin. You stick it on anything that often gets lost: keys, remote control, luggage or even the shoes of wayward children or kitty’s collar. Using the StickNFind app on your smartphone, you can activate the sticker’s buzzer and/or light, making it easy for you to find. The stickers have a range of about 30 meters and a replaceable battery that lasts more than a year. The app can manage several different tagged items and track them simultaneously, with a radarlike search method that shows your proximity to the tagged item on the phone’s screen, resulting in a high-tech game of hot and cold. The app’s “virtual leash” feature alerts you if an item goes beyond the 30-meter range. Each StickNFind sticker weighs 4.5 grams and they are currently available for preorder at various early-bird prices (till Jan. 14), the cheapest being $35 for two stickers (plus $15 for international shipping).

www.indiegogo.com/sticknfind