$119.95 • Nintendo
Like the NES mini before it, this console is a revision of its earlier incarnation, smaller, and with built-in games. It’ll release on September 30.
POWERED UP: This time around it comes with two controllers, and 21 pre-installed games, including the never-before-released, Star Fox 2. Others in the lineup include Earthbound, Contra III, Donkey Kong Country, Mega Man X, and Super Metroid.
PLAYED OUT: As with the NES Mini, this does not come with an AC power adapter, so add another $19.95 to the total cost if you need one. And if the NES sales were any indication, this will sell out fast, if it hasn’t already!
Robotics is a field that’s gaining momentum right now – just look at Boston Dynamics’ nightmare creations. So why not prepare your kids with the tools they’ll need to overthrow their robot overlords, with this beginner robotics kit from Sony?
POWERED UP: Accelerometer, infrared and light sensors, switch, buzzer, LEDs and DC and servo motors, along with over 100 blocks and an app that features a visual drag and drop programming language, make this a fully featured educational tool disguised as a fun toy.
PLAYED OUT: Skynet on Indiegogo.
$700 • Rythm
A more restful sleep could be a headband away. That’s what Rythm would have us believe, at least, as it launches its brain-reading device.
POWERED UP: A headband that reads your brainwaves to determine what state of sleep you’re in, and then plays sound through bone conduction to help to trigger more restful deep sleep or assist you in waking up.
PLAYED OUT: Not available here yet, and while you could probably Shipito it, it might be nice to have some independent reviews of its efficacy before dropping this much cash.
Vue Smart Glasses
$280 • Vue
It is often claimed that wearing glasses makes one appear smart, and now the glasses themselves are smart as well.
POWERED UP: Prescription, plano, and sunglasses that track steps and calories, use bone conduction to play music and hands-free calls, and provide notification with subtle LED, all controllable through touch-based gestures like tapping and swiping. The water resistant frames weigh only 28 grams, and you’ll get 2-3 days out of the battery, up to a week by using the special charging case.
PLAYED OUT: Frames are a little chunky due to all the tech bundled within.
Elbow Portable Tape Player
Return to the days of musical glory – no, not vinyl, cassette tape! (Said no-one ever). While this design remains purely in the land of concept for now, enough interest could potentially see it realise production.
POWERED UP: Compact design, ability to play both forwards and backwards (to access side B)
PLAYED OUT: Given the limited playback of a tape and its all-round impracticality, this one, if it is ever actually made, is going to be purely a novelty item for hipsters looking to start a conversation.