50 Gadgets with Exceptional Usability

Have you ever been excited to use a gadget that does something really amazing, only to be disappointed by the sheer frustration of getting it to actually work? Usability is so critical to any device or gadget that even the most sophisticated gadgets are worthless without it.

At Pannam, we manufacturer custom, user-interface membrane switch technology, so usability is the name of our game. Since we’re in the business of designing interfaces for a wide variety of electronic devices, usability is pretty much front-and-center in everything that we do. The interfaces we create for products can mean the difference between a highly successful product and a total dud in the marketplace.

Usability is a combination of a lot of different things, including actuation force, texture, layout, profile height, configuration, color, lighting and even aesthetics. For digital gadgets, it might mean the ease of use of a website or application. Ultimately, it comes down to whether end users find it intuitive and simple. Complicated processes that are difficult to remember don’t typically please audiences, presenting a big challenge in usable interface design as gadgets get more sophisticated yet consumers demand simplistic controls.

We took a look around and rounded up some of the latest gadgets that hit the mark when it comes to usability. Note: The following 50 gadgets are not rated or ranked in order of importance; they’re listed in random order. These gadgets don’t just offer amazing functionality; they’re easy to use, too. Whether they rely on smartphone applications to control devices from afar, have a well-thought out and integrated button configuration or an ergonomic design, these gadgets are easy to adapt to with a minimal learning curve.

1. Philips Hue Light Bulb



In the mood for some mood lighting, but don’t have the cash for a pricey and complex installation? Philips has developed an intuitive, wireless and connected lightbulb that’s simple to install and even simpler to use, complete with an app and the ability to set alarms, timers and alerts while personalizing your lighting to suit your taste. With pre-built lighting configurations (called ‘recipes’) and a drag-and-drop function that lets you pull the colors from any image, such as a sunset, you can easily adjust your lighting to match any setting.

Key Features:

  • Links to data feeds with IFTTT service
  • Set alerts for weather changes, emails and more
  • Drag-and-drop lighting shades from images
  • Pre-configured recipes for reading, relaxation, energizing and more
  • Control your lights remotely
  • Timers to turn lights on at specific times


  • *Est. $50-$70 for single add-on bulbs
  • *Est. $180-$250 for starter kits and packs

2. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook



The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook aims to combat the perception that non-Apple keyboards are difficult to use and non-intuitive. The Carbon’s keyboard adapts automatically to apps, has a 10-point multi-touch screen and is compatible with voice and 10 different hand gestures for hands-free operation.

Key Features:

  • Extremely durable; tested to military specifications
  • Biometric login for iron-clad security
  • 0.7 inches thick and just 2.83 pounds
  • Up to 9 hours on a single battery charge
  • 80 percent charge restoration within one hour
  • Adaptive Keyboard changes function keys based on apps
  • Voice gestures and 10 hand gestures


  • ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook: Starts at $1,249
  • ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch Ultrabook: Starts at $1,349
  • ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook with Microsoft Office: Starts at $1,389.99 (special offer)

3. Apple iPad


Apple has a solid reputation for producing some of the most usable computing devices ever created. Apple’s operating system is highly regarded as intuitive and functional, with built-in design tools and apps for multi-media presentations, Microsoft Office-compatible spreadsheets and word processing documents. Most importantly, the iPad offers usability through a streamlined, accessible work space, with drag-and-drop capabilities and folder-based organization, iCloud access, support for Retina display and more.

Key Features:

  • Organize files in folders
  • Drag-and-drop files, documents and folders
  • Importing and exporting
  • iCloud access for easy sharing
  • Supports Retina display
  • Microsoft Office-compatible spreadsheets and documents
  • Customization options and functional search


  • iPad Air: $499 to $929
  • iPad with Retina Display: $399 to $529
  • iPad mini with Retina Display: $399 to $829
  • iPad: $299 to $429

4. August Smart Lock



A secure, simple and smart way to secure your home – even when you’re not at home, the August Smart Lock doesn’t use a key, but a low-energy Bluetooth signal to unlock the door from a smartphone or computer. It’s an incredible and functional tool that enables you to give access to certain people during specific intervals using a ‘virtual key,’ get notifications when someone enters and leaves your home and more.

Key Features:

  • Works independently of home Internet devices
  • Uses standard batteries; no wiring
  • Send virtual keys to contacts to provide access
  • Send invitations to dinner or events with key access
  • Virtual guest book for comments and thank you notes
  • Give temporary access during specific times and days of the week
  • Notifications for who enters and leaves, and what they did
  • Use to keep an accurate time log for your cleaning person
  • Senses when door is closed; automatically locks

Cost: *Est. $200

5. Samsung Side-by-Side Refrigerator with LCD Display



Samsung’s foray into the smart appliances realm is nothing short of impressive. With special apps designed just for your refrigerator and a built-in LCD display, you’re opening a whole new world of possibilities. Google Calendar is integrated, so you can eliminate the clutter from your kitchen and keep your schedule organized right on your fridge – where you’re less likely to miss important things like appointment notifications and meetings. You can access hundreds of recipes from Epicurious or display images from your Picasa library, your smartphone or SD card. Your refrigerator suddenly became more than just an ice box; it’s a valuable tool for your daily life.

Key Features:

  • Weather Bug for latest weather reports
  • Associated Press for latest news
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • 8-inch LCD display
  • Push-button ice dispensing
  • Twin cooling plus system
  • Google Calendar integration
  • Specially-designed apps
  • LED lighting
  • Energy Star-rated

Cost: *Est. $2,500

6. Alima Air Monitor



Air purification systems are expensive, sometimes bulky and cumbersome to install. The Alima Air Monitor keeps track of your air quality, monitoring gas pollutants, humidity, particulate matter, temperature and other metrics. It’s a smart device with app connectivity and control, all in a package so small and light you can pick it up with your hands. In fact, picking up the Alima, moving it around, and flipping it is one way to interact with the Accelerometer.

Key Features:

  • Charts and graphs to illustrate air quality
  • Small, lightweight device
  • Intuitive application interface
  • Simple physical controls; simply move or flip the device
  • Light output reads global air pollution index
  • Measures gas pollutants, humidity, particulate matter and more

Cost: *Est. $230

7. Nimbus Smart Dashboard



The Nimbus Smart Dashboard is a completely customizable dash gadget that tracks the things that matter to you, like traffic, weather, your appointments on your calendar, even your social media networks. With all this information at-a-glance, you can stay on top of all the details you need to know without constantly checking your phone. It’s all controlled by a smartphone app that syncs in real time, and it’s even compatible with the FitBit and any other product in the Quirky + GE product lineup.

Key Features:

  • Keep it on your nightstand, counter or anywhere
  • Configure it to your specifications
  • Monitors a variety of information
  • Syncs in real-time
  • Keep tabs on traffic and commute times
  • Track Porkfolio savings goals
  • Easy to configure
  • Your important data at a glance, anywhere

Cost: *Est. $100

8. Goji Smart Lock



Another spin on the smart lock concept, the Goji Smart Lock has a few added benefits that make it even more user-friendly: Each Smart Lock comes with four lifetime electronic keys plus two mechanical keys as a back-up. That means even if the batteries die, the lock is still operational. What’s more, you can buy an electronic fob that allows you to control the lock without a phone.

Key Features:

  • Match the finish to your door
  • Easy-to-read digital display
  • Visual lock to indicate locked/unlocked status display
  • Personalized greeting
  • Simple installation
  • Easy, one-click controls


  • *Est. $280 for a single lock
  • *Est. $40 for a single fob

9. Leap Motion Controller



The Leap Motion Controller brings 3D motion control to life. It works with a computer or laptop, enabling users to control the device using hand gestures and navigate through apps and games in 3D. It senses how you naturally move your hands and adapts, enabling you to point, wave, reach or grab, or even literally pick things up and move them, without ever touching the screen or keyboard.

Key Features:

  • Just 3 inches long
  • Works with Windows 7 or 8 or Mac OS X 10.7 Lion
  • Works with your keyboard and mouse
  • No special adaptors needed
  • Connects with a USB
  • Creates 8 cubic feet of interactive, 3D space

Cost: *Est. $80

10. Kindle Paperwhite



Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is a step above the original Kindle, and designed with intuitiveness in mind. The Paperwhite technology provides a lighted background that gives the interface a more natural, paper-like appearance. Not to mention, Kindles come in sizes so small you can fit them in your pocket, can come with built-in Wi-Fi and store 1,000 books or more all in a tiny, 6-ounce package.

Key Features:

  • Weighs less than 6 ounces
  • Stores 1,000 books or more (depending on model)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connection (depending on model)
  • Lighted background for better visibility
  • Parental controls
  • No glare, even in bright sunlight
  • Maintains room brightness, easing eye strain
  • Contrast ratio doesn’t change with different angles

Cost: *Est. $70 to $190

11. iRig PRO



The iRig PRO is a universal audio/MIDI interface that fits in your pocket and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and Mac devices. Using the iRig PRO, you can enhance the audio capabilities of your device by connecting your studio mics, guitar or bass, MIDI controller and more. It creates an intuitive, user-friendly interface on your device with a simple input gain control knob on the iRig PRO itself.

Key Features:

  • Use with XLR microphones, your guitar and bass, your keyboard
  • XLR/1/4″ combo jack for connecting microphones and instruments
  • Plug in your controller with the MIDI input
  • Record vocals and audio from instruments on the go
  • Switch between devices without disrupting your interface and workflow
  • Comes with Lightning, 30-pin and USB connectors
  • High-definition preamp design eliminates noise
  • Preamp gain control; simple control knob
  • Functions as a stand-alone app or plug-in to your OS

Cost: *Est. $150

12. Power Bright Inverters


Power Bright offers both 12V DC and 24V DC power inverters, 220V AC power inverters, voltage regulators and similar products. The power inverters are incredibly simple gadgets that convert power from DC power or direct current to AC, or alternating current, enabling you to run electronics from your car or a boat battery for mobile applications.

Key Features:

  • Easy, plug-and-go operation
  • Small gadget
  • Converts power sources to work devices
  • Compact model that fits in a cup holder
  • Some models have cigarette lighter cables
  • Overload indicators
  • Eliminates cords and complex configurations

Cost: *Est. $80 to $600, depending on model

13. Nest Learning Thermostat



The Nest Learning Thermostat does just that – it learns your habits and preferences, and adapts automatically. It learns your usual schedule, programs itself, displays current temperature and other data in a brightly-lit display and in a user-friendly app interface on your smartphone, which also enables you to control the Nest Learning Thermostat remotely. When you’re saving energy, the Nest displays a bright green Nest Leaf to direct you to maximize your savings. Nest also offers an intuitive smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

Key Features:

  • Turn the knob to desired temperature to program
  • After a few days, Nest starts recognizing patterns
  • Learns your habits within a week
  • Starts programming itself based on your habits
  • Control remotely with a smartphone app
  • Brightly-lit, intuitive display
  • Auto-Away – energy-efficient away setting
  • Simple Nest Leaf icon shows when you’re saving energy
  • Energy history summaries and charts

Cost: *Est. $250

14. Chromecast



A simple, plug-and-play media streaming device that plugs right in to your television’s HDMI port, enabling you to stream videos, movies and other media from the Internet on your TV. A simple mobile app provides an intuitive interface for managing the shows, videos, movies, music and other media files you want to transfer and broadcast from your television. It’s a tiny, no-brainer solution for bridging a tablet, laptop or even a smartphone to your home television.

Key Features:

  • Simple, plug-and-play operation
  • Stream from laptops, smartphones or tablets
  • Works with HDTVs
  • Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Google Play Movies and Music
  • Automatically updates to work with additional apps
  • Adjust volume and other controls from your device
  • No learning curve

Cost: *Est. $35

15. Ninja Sphere



Ninja Blocks is a free platform for building web and mobile apps that talk to hardware – your gadgets. The Ninja Sphere is a new, Kickstarter-funded component that provides complete control over your environment, with accurate in-home location data and a gesture-based interface that relies on data from sensors and actuators to build a precise model of your environment and alert you if something is out of place.

Key Features:

  • Connect anything to a Sphere, including pets
  • Uses data from devices, environment and location
  • Intuitive, gesture-based interface
  • Can turn off appliances automatically
  • Notifications across platforms based on location
  • Monitors temperature, lighting, energy usage and more
  • Easily scroll through data with a wave of your hand


  • *Est. $260 for single starter kit
  • *Est. $460 for double starter kit

16. Logitech K750 Keyboard



It’s wireless and powered by sunlight – or your desk lamp. But the Logitech K750 Keyboard doesn’t stop there with usability. It’s ultra-slim so your workspace is leaner, and the keys are designed to feel like a regular laptop keyboard, but more comfortable. Just plug in the Logitech Unifying receiver and you’re good to go; you can even plug in other devices if you want. Find out how much power you’re generating from the light of your desk lamp or how much battery life you have left with the Logitech Solar App. The Unifying receiver connects up to 6 Unifying or Unifying-ready devices to a single receiver for fewer wires and more simplicity.

Key Features:

  • Enhanced mobility
  • Connect up to 6 devices
  • Energy conservation suggestions
  • Solar App analyzes power generation
  • Low power warnings

Cost: *Est. $60

17. iQook



The iQook is a genius kitchen appliance that functions as an induction hub with an IQ sensor technology that literally automates cooking. That means streamlined cooking with little monitoring required. The sensors regulate temperature and power to produce perfectly-cooked foods without intervention, and even shut off the hub, safely avoiding boil-overs. Additionally, foods cooked in the iQook are healthier, retaining all of the natural nutrients that normally diminish using regular cooking methods.

Key Features:

  • 100% active preservation
  • Maintains full natural flavor and firmness
  • SmartSense safety prevents boiling over
  • Full automation of temperature and all cooking parameters
  • Achieves 40% energy savings by regulating power

Cost: Pricing details not yet released

18. Pennda P9-Media Phone


A phone that’s made for the home but relies on a smartphone operating system (the Android 2.2), the Pennda P9-Media Phone has a 7-inch touch screen with 800×400 resolution, supports streaming media, internet radio, functions as a digital photo frame and more. With a sleek and attractive interface, the Pennda P9-Media Phone looks like a laptop or tablet screen with simplified, intuitive controls and a beautiful, rich display.

Key Features:

  • Hands-free mode
  • Simple, intuitive controls
  • Touch-screen interface
  • Video calling and VoIP
  • Online software upgrades

Cost: Pricing details unavailable

19. T-fal Actifry


The T-fal Actifry is a unique kitchen appliance relying on heat-pulse technology to produce healthier foods with less mess and less difficulty. Not only does it use little to no oil, but it has a completely simplistic, two-button operation, yet it can make hundreds of different foods and meals. It also has a simple countdown timer to alert you when cooking time is up. No need to adjust the temperature; it’s automatically maintained at the proper cooking temperature constantly, avoiding burns and uneven cooking. All you need to do to operate it is flip the on/off switch.

Key Features:

  • Simple 2-button operation
  • Cooks a variety of foods
  • Comes with a recipe book
  • Non-stick, removable pan
  • Pan, lid, spoons and paddle are dishwasher safe
  • 1-year limited warranty

Cost: *Est. $200

20. WeMo LED Lighting



Belkin introduced a few new innovations in its WeMo product lineup at CES 2014, including the WeMo LED Lighting starter set. Control your lighting remotely using your smartphone, through a simple application interface. You can create schedules, simply operate your lights from anywhere, control each light individually or as a group, and more. These bulbs have a life expectancy of 23 years and consume less energy than standard light bulbs.

Key Features:

  • Set brightness according to your mood
  • Control your lights remotely
  • Operate lights individually or as a group
  • Create schedules
  • Operate from anywhere via simple app interface
  • Sleep feature gradually dims

Cost:  *Est. $130

21. Swiftpoint Mouse


Dubbed “America’s Future Mouse,” the Swiftpoint Mouse is unlike any mouse you’ve ever seen. Usability is more than just where you put the buttons; it’s also heavily impacted by the shape ad contour of the interface, and that’s where the Swiftpoint Mouse excels. It’s designed for use with your laptop, alleviating the frustration of using that cumbersome touchpad that never seems to do what you want it to do. With a comfortable and intuitive pen-like grip, the Swiftpoint Mouse is both functional and easy to use.

Key Features:

  • Compact, wireless mouse
  • 30-40% more efficient than a touchpad
  • No hand cramps
  • Parks for typing
  • Micro USB receiver
  • USB dock charges the mouse
  • Works anywhere your laptop works
  • 30-second rapid charge
  • Charge lasts 2-4 weeks
  • Customizable SmartTouch

Cost: Contact for pricing information

22. PlayBulb



The PlayBulb, created by MiPow, takes the smart bulb concept a step further. Yes, you can control it from a smartphone app, but it does more than just light your home: It’s a wireless speaker. It works with practically any Bluetooth-enabled device with A2DP and features acoustic technology for a rich, high-quality sound. With a music player and playlist and the ability to adjust the dimness to suit your preferences, home entertainment just got a whole lot simpler.

Key Features:

  • Fits in most fixtures with a E26 / E27 screw socket
  • 3W of LED power
  • Control using a streamlined smartphone app
  • Adjust brightness
  • Music Player with playlists
  • Works with your own mobile device

Cost: *Est. $390 for a 4-pack

23. Node + Sci Scanner

A wireless Bluetooth sensor to capture and transmit more data into the Scientific Sci-fi Scanner App, the Node+ provides data such as infrared temperature, raw climate, gas concentration, color, motion, a pseudo-altimeter and more.

Key Features:

  • Integrates with Scientific Sci-Fi Scanner
  • Pulls sensor data from phone, your NODE+, and NASA satellites
  • iOS app with 7 additional features
  • Works with with NK01, NK02A and NK02B NODE+ sensor platform models

Cost: Download app for $15 ($4.99 App Unlock Fee plus $9.99 NODE+ Unlock Fee)

24. SleepNumber x12



SleepNumber self-describes the x12 as “probably the best bed in the world.” Probably is probably putting it mildly – this bed actually monitors your sleeping habits for you and adjusts to the proper firmness, surrounding you with comfort and support on all sides. With a simple push-button interface with intuitive symbols and an illustrated gauge to show whether you’re raising or lowering the head of the bed, along with hands-free operation, getting the best night of sleep you’ve ever had is simple.

Key Features:

  • Monitors movement, heart rate, breathing rate
  • Tracks sleeping habits
  • Two, independently-adjustable bed sections
  • Simple voice commands for hands-free use
  • Push-button interface
  • Under-the-bed light to navigate through darkness

Cost: *Est. $8,000 for a queen-sized bed

25. Butterfleye



The Butterfleye is a smart camera that’s useful in oh-so-many ways thanks to the ability to control it using your smartphone. It detects motion and faces, and allows you to share and edit photos and videos through the application. It also acts as a two-way speaker, so not only can you capture visual images of what’s going on in your home, but you can let your kids know you’ve got your eye on them if they’re plotting a house party. With no installation and smart, automatic features along with a streamlined interface, home security and monitoring is a no-brainer.

Key Features:

  • Face and motion detection
  • In-app video editing and sharing
  • Share photos and videos on social media
  • Hear and speak through the app
  • Location and identity sensors
  • Knows when you’re home; enters standby mode
  • Automatically activates when you leave
  • No installation required

Cost: Reserve for $50 or $100, depending on model

26. LG HomeChat



More a full product lineup than a single gadget, LG’s HomeChat is a complete smart home system. You’ll find appliances ranging from refrigerators to washers and dryers in the HomeChat line, all equipped with a sleek, touch-screen interface with intuitive navigation and controls. Additionally, you can operate your appliances via your smartphone – so you can check the contents of your refrigerator in the grocery store aisle, for instance. These capabilities function using a simple, conversational text system that’s as natural as conversing with a friend. Introduced at CES 2014, these connected appliances will soon be coming to a home near you.

Key Features:

  • Operate appliances remotely
  • Intuitive, touch-screen displays
  • Conversational, text-based communications
  • Check contents of fridge from the office
  • Tell your robot vacuum to clean the floor
  • Start laundry from miles away

Cost: Varies by appliance

27. Yanko Design Digital Cutting Board



Cutting boards are no longer just a plain-old wooden board. Yanko Design’s Digital Cutting Board, sometimes called “The Almighty Board,” does far more than just provide a hard surface to cut meats and vegetables. This cutting board displays recipes, gives you step-by-step directions and even weighs your ingredients for you – so in essence, it serves double-duty as a digital kitchen scale. All this is operated from the surface of the board: a sleek, touch-screen interface with easy-to-use features that actually make sense and help you in the kitchen, rather than hinder you.

Key Features:

  • Works as a digital scale
  • Displays recipes
  • Offers step-by-step directions
  • Reads cross-contamination potential after washing
  • Streamlined, smooth, touch-screen interface
  • UV sterilizer
  • Scratch-proof surface

Cost: Pricing information not available

28. Pet Feedster



Want an innovative gadget for your four-legged friends? Pet Feedster’s Automatic Pet Feeder holds up to 10 pounds of pet food and automatically disperses it in amounts between 1 teaspoon and 6 cups at a time, depending on your pet’s dietary schedule. With a simple push-button interface conveniently located on the front of the unit, you can make sure your furry friends are full and satisfied when you’re away.

Key Features:

  • Installs in under 20 minutes
  • Dispenses 1 teaspoon to 6 cups
  • Holds up to 10 pounds of dry pet food
  • Front window shows current food level
  • Conveniently-located, intuitive programming
  • Comes in dog and cat versions
  • Digital display
  • 1-year limited warranty

Cost: *Est. $130

29. Hisense Vision TV



It was only a matter of time before Android started creeping in to the world of television. The Hisense Vision TV runs on an Android-based operating system and is equipped with social media access, instant weather, media and life features for easy access through the remote’s effortless wand technology – or your voice. Just like an Android smartphone, you can download media and applications from the Google Play store.

Key Features:

  • Effortless wand technology
  • Voice controls
  • Quad-core processor
  • Instant movies and music
  • Download any app from the Google Play store
  • 4 HDMI inputs
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet
  • LCD panel
  • Built-in digital tuner
  • Sophisticated yet simple remote

Cost: *Est. $650

30. TC Icon



The TC Icon is self-described as “the most intuitive interface you’ll ever get your hands on,” with touch-screen functionality and a range of audio features so wide you’ll never run out of settings to experiment with. The TC Icon is so sophisticated, yet incredibly simplistic with motorized faders, that professionals use it to control high-definition audio processors. Combining two types of interfaces, providing the controls you need most at your fingertips while enabling many more options in the touch screen, makes the TC Icon incredibly functional and convenient.

Key Features:

  • Widely recognized as the center of the System 6000
  • Remote CPU rear panel
  • Remote Ethernet based
  • Software for both Mac and PC
  • Control your audio work from anywhere
  • Keyboard/mouse connector
  • Available as a hardware unit or standalone application

Cost: Contact for price information

31. Duet 2 for Mac



The Duet 2 for Mac is a sophisticated, portable audio interface for Mac. It connects via a USB and offers superior sound quality, with four different outputs, a full-color OLED display, configurable touchpads, and a simple control knob for a customized working space that suits your specific needs. With the Duet 2, you can record your music directly to your Mac without cumbersome file transfers.

Key Features:

  • Independent speaker and headphone outs
  • 4 outputs
  • Simple knob control
  • Configurable touchpads
  • Rich, digital OLED display

Cost: *Est. $495

32. Voice Sense



One of the biggest benefits of innovative and intuitive interface design is the ability to make accessible products that make daily living easier for people with vision or hearing impairment, paralysis or other disabilities. The Voice Sense fits in this category, providing a Perkins-style keyboard for the visually impaired. It’s the smallest PDA available for this purpose, and it’s packed with features such as wireless compatibility, a media player, web browser, calendar, contacts manager and word processing software, among others. The Voice Sense is an incredibly valuable device that enables visually impaired persons to experience the web, coordinate their daily schedules, keep track of contacts, and even conduct work through its accessible and intuitive interface.

Key Features:

  • Perkins-style keyboard
  • Bluetooth manager
  • MSN messenger
  • Web browser
  • Word processing
  • Calendar and schedule manager
  • Media player
  • Contacts manager
  • File manager
  • Connect a portable Braille display for maximum functionality
  • USB adaptor cable

Cost: Contact for price information

33. Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator


Every high school student and college student has probably been introduced to a graphing calculator at least once. These sophisticated calculators provide an impressive array of capabilities, calculating the most complex mathematical challenges. It offers simple cursor keys to easily navigate between lines and characters, scrolling functions and simple editing options so you waste little time if you make an error inputting data. A full-key help mode provides a quick reference for finding the right keys, and the interface is laid out with tactile keys and a large digital display for ease of use. With synthesized speech and audio, the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphic Calculator is also accessible for the visually impaired.

Key Features:

  • Audio via headphones or built-in speakers
  • Synthesized speech
  • Full access to all menus, symbols, expressions and text
  • LCD display
  • Listen to entire graph
  • Special sounds for negative digits and axis points
  • Decimal or fraction display options
  • Connect to a computer via USB cable
  • Accessible graph functions and trace points
  • Suitable for grade 6 and up

Cost: *Est. $600

34. Book Port DT


A desktop-style digital talking book, the Book Port DT is a helpful tool with accessible features for the visually impaired. With a large speaker for whole-room sound, 2 GB of memory to backup and store files, USB connection, Wi-Fi and Internet capabilities, and a removable “mask” that simplifies controls even further, the Book Port DT couldn’t be easier to use.

Key Features:

  • Removable “mask” simplifies controls
  • Bluetooth and audio control support
  • Wi-Fi and Internet-enabled
  • Online support for DAISY
  • National Library Service (NLS) Cartridge slot/USB port
  • Built-in microphone
  • Large speaker provides whole-room sound

Cost: *Est. $450

35. Sifteo Cubes



An interactive game system, Sifteo Cubes provides an innovative platform for intelligent play. With an expanding library of downloadable games, these devices have endless possibilities. It’s a tactile game, providing an additional layer of sensory experience which is useful for both children and adults. It’s recommended for children age 7 and older through adults – and it holds promise for therapeutic use for children with sensory integration problems.

Key Features:

  • Precision 3-axis accelerometer
  • Touch-sensitive screen
  • Proximity sensors detect other cubes
  • Engage your mind and hands
  • Downloadable games
  • Cubes respond to each other and your gestures
  • Wireless communication
  • Add additional cubes for more complexity

Cost: *Est. $200

36. Kernel Diagnostic Amulet



What if diagnosing an illness was as simple as looking down and noting the color of the amulet around your neck? That’s the goal with the Kernel Diagnostic Amulet, a concept conceived by Bill Gates and implemented by Fuse Project. It’s a valuable tool for providing quality healthcare to people in developing countries. Essentially, the amulet transforms biological material into data – basically the same process you’d use with litmus papers, test tubes and chemicals in a lab, but minus all those other supplies. The compact amulet opens at the sides, revealing a micro-perforated pad with four quadrants, one for blood, urine, breath and saliva. Analyzing the information via a mobile app, the Kernel Diagnostic Amulet produces a diagnosis. This handy tool is being used to prove remote healthcare services, and enables continuous health monitoring.

Key Features:

  • Small and compact
  • Opens on the sides to reveal pad
  • Reusable
  • No chemicals or labs required
  • Consult with physicians remotely
  • Continuous health monitoring
  • Built-in sterilizing surface; no cleaning required

Cost: Pricing information not available

37. iPhone Pocket Projector



Designed for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S devices, the iPhone Pocket Projector gives you the functionality of a slide projector without the big, bulky and boxy contraption. It doubles as a case for your phone, so it’s barely more than carrying your phone alone. Simply position it on any flat surface and its 15-lumen LED light will project a bright, crisp image on the wall. It projects images up to 50 inches (diagonally) and has a 2.0W speaker for sound. It’s completely simple to use, even with a focus adjustment to fine-tune the projected image, and it offers a wide range of potential uses – from entertaining your kids on the road to delivering an impromptu sales presentation.

Key Features:

  • 640×360 native resolution
  • 2100mAh rechargeable battery
  • LED lasts approximately 20,000 hours
  • Use it as a backup phone battery
  • Focus adjustment

Cost: *Est. $90

38. Samsung Galaxy NX Camera



The Samsung Galaxy Camera NX took home an Innovations Award at CES 2014, and it’s no surprise why: It’s the first fully-connected interchangeable lens camera. Combining high-quality imaging with the portability of a compact camera, the Samsung Galaxy NX gives avid photographers the best of both worlds, making it possible to capture top-quality images anywhere you go without carrying a bulky bag full of lenses. Share images on the fly via 3G or Wi-Fi.

Key Features:

  • 3G and Wi-Fi-enabled
  • 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS
  • Built-in editing tools
  • Fully-connected
  • Interchangeable lens
  • Download a limitless number of apps
  • Snap photos, edit and share
  • Feature-packed with simplistic design
  • 4.8-inch, 720p, touch-enabled LCD
  • Post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more
  • Location-based libraries
  • Photo suggest

Cost: *Est. $1,200

39. Sony Smartphone Cradle Receiver



Sony’s Smartphone Cradle Receiver is another gadget introduced at CES 2014, pointing towards the usability trend in the consumer electronics industry. The Sony Smartphone Cradle Receiver is the first-ever to function with different smartphone brands, turning them into an in-dash touchscreen. Going on a business trip? No need to worry about updating your GPS system – you can look up directions, pop your smartphone into place and it can serve double-duty. Sony is the first manufacturer to market MirrorLink technology, and the first to introduce a MirrorLink-equipped multi-media head unit designed to maximize the functionality of your smartphone while making it easy to operate and control while you’re behind the wheel.

Key Features:

  • First to market MirrorLink
  • Double DIN Smartphone Cradle Receiver
  • Charges via USB cable
  • Bluetooth NFC one-touch connection
  • Second generation AppRemote interface
  • Touchscreen controls head unit functions via Bluetooth or USB
  • Voice operation for head unit and smartphone
  • CD, USB and tuner source functionality even without a smartphone
  • IR remote can be used to select apps and heat unit sources

Cost: *Est. $250

40. inFORM



MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group introduced inFORM, a 3D printer that actually renders 3D content physically, enabling users to interact with media in a vastly different way. It can also interact with the physical world that surrounds it, accomplishing such feats as moving cups across a table’s surface. Remote participants on a video conference can be displayed physically as well, giving a real-world feel that you’re actually in the same room with other participants.

Key Features:

  • Currently exploring application domains
  • Working with Geospatial data
  • Urban planners and architects can interact with designs
  • Prototype designs without 3D printing
  • View cross-sections of volumetric data
  • Variable stiffness rendering
  • Real-time user input through direct touch and interaction

Cost: Pricing information not available

41. Space Top



Space Top is another spin on the three-dimensional rendering concept. It’s a technological and design solution for 2D and 3D interactions within a single desktop workspace. With interaction technology and visualization techniques, renderings transition seamlessly between 2D and 3D. You can draw in the 2D plane while simultaneously manipulating the surface layers in 3D.

Key Features:

  • Easily switch from one modality to the other
  • Hardware and software configuration for co-locating modalities
  • Depth cameras
  • Transparent display
  • Unified workspace
  • Shadow touchpad/CAD

Cost: Pricing information not available

42. Sony POV Action Cam



Sony’s POV Action Cam is a pint-sized video camera that fits comfortably in one hand, with no shortage of features to produce high-quality videos. It offers image stabilization, so it adjusts to vibration and you can use it in active situations without a bunch of bouncing on-screen. It’s casing is splash-proof, and it sits on a tripod for hands-free use.

Key Features:

  • View and control via smartphone/ Live-View Remote
  • Built-In stereo mic for quality sound recording
  • Exmor R® CMOS sensor enables light show shooting
  • HDMI output
  • Splash-proof body with tripod mount
  • Wide 70° ZEISS® Tessar® lens

Cost: *Est. $270

43. LG Pocket Photo Printer



If you’ve ever wished you had a printer on-hand to print images from your smartphone, the LG Pocket Photo Printer is the gadget of your dreams. It’s lightweight and compact, and it requires no ink. The LG Pocket Photo Printer is Bluetooth-enabled, and it works with both iOS and Android devices for streamlined, seamless printing with zero hassle. It’s compact enough that it fits in your pocket – wirelessly printing out rich images straight from your device with ease.

Key Features:

  • 60-second printer engine speed
  • Charges fully in 90 minutes
  • Prints up to 30 images on a single charge
  • Pocket-sized
  • Li-Polymer (7.4V, 500mA) battery

Cost: *Est. $150

44. Mellow

Mellow is a smart countertop appliance that makes quick and simple work of sous vide cooking – all you need is water and a bag. With a modern look and a straightforward design, Mellow automatically detects the weight of the food you place inside and asks you for specific instructions. And because it’s completely clear, you can see what’s cooking and how it’s coming along in a glance. With a built-in refrigeration system to keep your food safe and intelligent controls using your smartphone, you can start dinner before you head home from the office. It’s a complete no-brainer.

Key Features:

  • No vacuum sealer needed
  • Use a temperature safe bag
  • Connects via Wi-Fi
  • Energy-efficient, double-wall tank
  • Built-in refrigeration system keeps food safe
  • Makes cooking suggestions
  • Control remotely

Cost: *Est. $400

45. Phosphor Touch Time Digital Watch



Phosphor’s Touch Time Digital Watch is a next-generation time piece with a touch screen interface and apps comparable to what you have on your smartphone. Change the time display or select apps with the simple swipe of a finger, without multi-level navigation that ends up being too cumbersome to bother with. The always-on display means you don’t ever have to push a button to discover what time it is.

Key Features:

  • Finger-swipe operation
  • Five built-in time displays
  • Supports 7 different languages
  • Single-button icon controls
  • Task and event reminders
  • Moon phase and horoscopes
  • 12 or 24-hour displays

Cost: *Est. $160

46. Google Chromebook Pixel



The Google Chromebook Pixel combines the best of hardware, software and design for a truly innovative, modern device with easy, seamless access to all the Google tools you love: Google Drive, Google+ Hangouts, YouTube, Gmail and more. It boots up in mere seconds and requires zero setup and maintenance, with instant updates every few weeks.

Key Features:

  • Backlit keyboard
  • Glass touchpad
  • Industry-leading Wi-Fi range
  • Dual-band support
  • Integrated HD webcam
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Tap, swipe and pinch with fingertip controls

Cost: *Est. $1,300

47. Lytro


The Lytro Illum takes the concept of a living photo and turns it into reality, harnessing the power of light field to capture direction, color and brightness of the rays of light within the frame. This enables you to explore your pictures from different perspectives, focal points and directions. With a 40 Megaray customized sensor and an interactive depth feedback display showing the relative focus of every object in the frame, you can capture images with precision and explore them like never before. With Wi-Fi connectivity, a shutter release port, tripod mount and SD card slot, you can capture limitless living images.

Key Features:

  • 40 Megaray customized sensor
  • Real-time, color-coded overlay of live view
  • 4-inch touchscreen display
  • Explore image possibilities in real time
  • Edit, adjust and author photos
  • Explore photos with desktop tools
  • Change field and perspective after photo is taken
  • Transform photos into dynamic animations
  • WiFi
  • External shutter release port
  • Hot shoe
  • Tripod mount
  • Removable battery and SD card slot

Cost: *Est. $1,500 (special introductory price)

48. QPAD 5K

If you take gaming seriously, you need a mouse equally as serious. The QPAD 5K has an ergonomic design with intuitive fingertip controls, high-speed motion detection and unmatched precision. With seven conveniently-located buttons, you can immerse yourself in gaming like never before without annoying mishaps and accidental control activation.

Key Features:

  • 90 – 5040 CPI (Counts per inch) resolution
  • 1ms response time
  • 2-year warranty
  • 10.8 MPS (Mega Pixels per second) image processing
  • 7 buttons
  • Plug-and-play

Cost: *Est. $95

49. Zeal Optics HD Goggles



Create amazing point-of-view videos of your most fantastic ski stunts with the Zeal Optics HD Goggles. With anti-fog infused lenses, impact resistant frames and 100 percent UV protection, the elements are no match for these Goggles. The 170-degree wide angle camera lens takes breathtaking action shots, and the camera automatically adjusts for light levels and has infinity focus so your shots are perfect every time. Perhaps more impressive than the capabilities of these Goggles is the thought that went into designing the user interface. Glove-ready buttons are affixed conveniently on the sides of the Goggles for streamlined control in the midst of your most adventurous outings.

Key Features:

  • In-goggle viewfinder
  • Glove-ready buttons
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Social media integration
  • Up to 3 hours of run time
  • 1080p & 720p HD quality video
  • 12 megapixel HD photos

Cost: *Est. $400

50. Samsung Galaxy S5



We can’t talk about usable gadgets without including at least one smartphone on the list. After all, just about everyone has a smartphone these days, so usability is a big concern for device manufacturers. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a natural choice as it’s the smartphone-du-jour that everyone’s talking about. With a built-in camera with HDF, selective focus and auto-focus, your smartphone doubles as a camera to take rich images on the go. Ultra power-saving mode means no worrying about re-charging your battery at the most inconvenient times, and it’s dust and water repellent, too. It also comes equipped with a health and fitness tracker – and a built-in heart-rate monitor.

Key Features:

  • Heart-rate monitor
  • Fitness tracker
  • Download booster for ultra-fast downloads
  • LTE and Wi-Fi
  • Fingerprint security access
  • 5.1-inch AMOLED display

Cost: *Est. $650 (discounts may apply)

This guide was developed by Pannam Imaging, Custom Membrane Switch Technology.

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