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Gadget of the Week

  • Gadget of the Week - 'Star Wars' Gadget Roundup (Source: Amazon.com and ThinkGeek.com)

    Have you seen the trailers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? If not, go do that right now, and then come back. We'll be waiting. 

    Ahhh, right? Amazing! Vader?! Droids! The Death Star!

    Sorry, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We just really, really love Star Wars around the Geek Chicago offices. We’ve got a BB-8 rolling around more often than not, and we even think about what the legendary movies still have to teach us about digital marketing. And the obsession doesn’t stop at the office.

    Case in point, we recently lost our minds over some of the amazingly cool (and a little bit kitschy) Star Wars gadgets listed over in this great roundup at HiConsumption.

  • Gadget of the Week - Aerix VIDIUS HD (Source: www.aerixdrones.com)

    Live streaming HD video, virtual reality, and remote-controlled drones: They’re three of the biggest trends in the tech sector right now, and they’ve all come together in one amazing package.

    For any aspiring filmmakers, wannabe pilots, or gear-heads aching to try the next big thing, it’s time to get acquainted with the Aerix VIDIUS HD, the world’s smallest HD video drone.

    This latest innovation from Aerix packs a ton of functionality into just 4.3 centimeters, including 720p digital imaging, an altitude assistance module for steady flights, and up to seven minutes of flight time on just 20 minutes’ charge.

  • Gadget of the Week - Ahmed's Clock

    If you were anywhere near social media, public radio, or a TV within the last week, you probably heard about Ahmed Mohamed, a Texas 14-year-old arrested by Irving police for bringing a homemade clock to school. According to Buzzfeed, Mohamed, who is Muslim, brought the clock to school, showed it to his engineering teacher, and was told to put it away.

    But, when the clock went off (as in, the clock alarm sounded) in his English class later that afternoon, Mohamed’s teacher reported the device to school authorities, who then called police. Mohamed, dressed in a NASA t-shirt and thick glasses, walked out of school in handcuffs and faced interrogation at a nearby juvenile detention center.

  • Air UmbrellaThis gadget is certain to reinvent the way that we think about umbrellas! The Air Umbrella creates a virtual force field of air around you, shielding you from the rain without any metal edges or fabric to get in the way.

    Powered by a lithium ion battery, a motor, and a fan, this consolidated gadget is the talk of the town. Its continuous flow of air deflects rain particles away from the user (or users - 2 people can apparently fit under this Air Umbrella easily).

    When can we expect to see this guy on the market? They're currently working on extending the battery life of the gadget (as the battery life only ranges 15-30 minutes at present), but we can plan to see them start delivering out their products on Kickstarter December 2015.

    Click here to learn more about the Air Umbrella

  • Amazon Dash Gadget of the Week

    Amazon has recently made your online shopping uber simple with the Amazon Dash gadget for your home. Simply say what you need or scan it to add items to your shopping list anywhere from home.

    How does it work? Dash uses your Wi-Fi network to connect to your AmazonFresh account. From there, you can either a) Use its built in microphone to let Amazon know that you need to replace your detergent or cereal, or b) Point Dash at what you want, scan the item, and add it to your list.

    Amazon is gearing this towards digital grocery shopping with their newest Amazon Fresh platform. Amazon Fresh promises same-day and early morning delivery of fresh groceries and everyday essentials so that you don't need to head to the grocery store for supplies if you don't have the time.

    Amazon Dash is currently only available by invitation only, but we can expect to see Dash coming soon to a mass audience.

    Click here or on the image to learn more about Amazon Dash

  • Gadget of the Week - Amazon Echo

    Advanced audio meets Siri with Amazon's newest invention - the Echo. This hands-free, voice activated device is a powerful personal home assistant designed to make your life much, much easier.

  • Gadget of the Week - Amazon Echo Show (Source: amazon.com))

    If you’ve ever taken a screenwriting class, then you know that one of the key pieces of advice is to always “show,” rather than “tell.” Well, apparently the creative gurus at Amazon have been dropping in on a seminar or two, because their newest version of the Echo promises to let users show and tell – thanks to a major design move that could completely revolutionize the digital assistant marketplace.

    The Amazon Echo Show was unveiled in early May and is set to start shipping on June 28. And you’ve got to see it to believe it… Mostly because, unlike with previous iterations of the Echo, there really is something to see here. Instead of a portable little cylinder, the Show is a wide, square tablet, boasting an enormous, seven-inch touchscreen display on the upper half of the unit.

    The addition of that screen offers up a ton of new functions that were previously unavailable using Echo devices; users can now use Amazon’s personal helper, Alexa, to watch videos on YouTube or Amazon Video; to see their playlists on Spotify; to pull up and display pictures from an online library; to quickly and easily control or monitor their smart home appliances; or to get a visual weather report or news story in an instant.

  • Gadget of the Week - AMPY MOVE

    Most people can't get a full day's use out of their smartphones without their battery dying. Others do, but find themselves scrambling for power outlets or carrying around clunky power packs.

    While Apple's superbattery may change this problem in the near future, in the meantime, AMPY MOVE provides a seriously cool solution.

  • Gadget of the Week - ASUS ZenBook 3 (Source: cnet.com) 

    Could the ASUS ZenBook 3 be a giant slayer? Well, a super-thin giant slayer, that is.

    The tech world is buzzing about the latest “ultraportable” from ASUS, which some, like Engadget, are calling “thinner, lighter, and faster than the MacBook.”

    Announced recently at Computex 2016, the new ZenBook measures in at just two pounds and less than a half-inch thick – a major step up from the previous model, the ZenBook UX305 (2.64 pounds, 0.51 inches), and a hair better than the already super-sleek MacBook (2.03 pounds, 0.52 inches).

  • Gadget of the Week - AUKEY Jump Starter (Source: amazon.com)

    Remember when you first started driving? What were the things your parents or driving instructors always said? Hands at ten and two, always adjust your mirrors, be sure to buckle up, and always have emergency supplies on hand.

    Fortunately, that last point is easier than ever today, thanks to innovations like the AUKEY Jump Starter.

    Jumper cables can be huge, unwieldy, and intimidating – but not having them on hand to care for your car battery can lead to some tricky situations.

  • Automatic Labs' Automatic "smart driving assistant"The Automatic "Smart Driving Assistant" is every driver's dream. It logs fuel efficiency, calculates trip costs, saves driving habits, and can even help you remember where you parked the car using a GPS tag.

    This little gadget is linked via app to make essentially a Nike FuelBand for your car. Its plug-and-play interface makes it a great option for even those who don't consider themselves tech or car enthusiasts.

    It is at the top of the line in terms of price range, coming in just shy of $100. In terms of functionality, however, it is at the head of OBD readers linked with an app.

    Click here to learn more about the Automatic Smart Driving Assistant

  • Gadget of the Week - Automatic Car Adapter

    While for some the daily commute down the highway is a much-needed break from technology, for others – the Geeks among us, if you will – the car is just another site ripe for nerdy innovation, begging for us to plug in and play around.

    Enter the Automatic Adapter, an all-in-one gadget and app bundle that seamlessly syncs your car up to the rest of your digital life.

    Using the Adapter – which plugs into the standard diagnostic port available in most vehicles made since 1996 – and the free Automatic app, you can easily connect your car to your smartphone, tablet, or Apple Watch via Bluetooth.

  • Back-to-school-tech-roundup

    It seems like the “back to school” shopping season starts earlier and earlier every summer. This year, we saw ads encouraging families to get ready for school as early as July.

    And while that rush to get started might seem like a bit much, it starts to make sense around this time of the season, when those of us who didn’t get a jump scramble to get our kids and ourselves properly equipped for a new school year.  

  • We don't hide our Geek status over here, no surprises, and Star Wars has been a big part of our lives. To us - and we're sure many of you - each character, planet, and adventure have become unforgettable.

    And now, for the first time ever, it's possible to explore the galaxy (and living room) with your own Droid by your side.

    Say hello to BB-8 by Sphero, an app enabled Droid, which houses the same technology used in the BB-8 Droid in the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

  • Gadget of the Week - Bedphones (Source: Bedphones.com)

    For many of us, going to sleep isn’t actually the most relaxing or stress-free time of day; instead, it’s the time when our brains refuse to turn off, when we think about the future or replay the events of the past few hours over and over again.

    To quiet a rushing mind, many turn to music, podcasts, or white noise – much to the annoyance of our partners. And while headphones may be a quick fix, standard earbuds or headsets can be bulky or uncomfortable, come loose over several hours, or even get stuck in your ears in the middle of the night.

    How can you get the sound quality you want while staying comfortable? Enter Bedphones.

  • Gadget of the Week - Best Truly Wireless Earbuds

    Maybe you thought your regular wired earbuds were just fine, or maybe you were good and ready to cut free from the wires. Whatever your thoughts on headphones, the reality is that we’re moving toward a time when wireless is the watchword for in-ear and over-ear headphones alike.

    Certainly, it’s easy to see the appeal of wireless earbuds: There’s not a chance that they’ll ever get tangled or twisted, and they make it easier to exercise without fear of being constrained by the limits of your cords. They come with some obvious drawbacks, too: It’s easy to picture losing a single wireless earbud, for instance, or running into an unexpected issue with connectivity.

    Perhaps this is why it is only recently that developers have started to really lean into the idea of truly wireless earbuds, or sets with absolutely no wires connecting the buds to each other, to a charger, or to your audio device.

  • Gadget of the Week - Better Brella (Source: buybetterbrella.com)

    We’re no strangers to wind and rain here at Geek; after all, our company was born and bred in the windy city, where powerful gusts, torrential downpours, and lake effect craziness are all facts of life. A row of dripping wet umbrellas is a common sight in our offices, and our rain coat collection is unparalleled.

    Plenty of gadgets have promised to make coping with wet and windy weather easier, to differing degrees of success (remember the Windblocker, anyone?). One fairly new idea recently took a hold of our team, and we actually put a whole meeting on hold to research it and watch all the videos we could find. That weather-fighting gadget? The Better Brella.

    The main selling point of the Better Brella is its “reverse open-close technology;” essentially, this product turns the traditional umbrella upside down and inside out. Rather than folding the canopy down when you close the umbrella, the Better Brella folds the sides up, turning the canvas into a waterproof cone that traps the wetness, rather than letting it spill out onto your floor.

  • Gadget of the Week - Black + Decker Fruit & Vegetable Juicer (Source: amazon.com)

    Every so often, the fine folks over in Silicon Valley try to “disrupt” or “innovate” a process that… is really just working all right on its own, all things considered.

    The Juicero is a case in point. The high-tech, WiFi-enabled cold pressed juicer became the subject of massive internet schadenfreude a few weeks ago when it was revealed that the machine’s “exclusive” fruit and veggie packs could be squeezed out by hand. No machine required.

  • Gadget of the Week - Bobine (Source: FuseChicken)

    What if you need to keep your iPhone handy to reference a recipe, but you don’t have a spare hand to keep picking it up and putting it down, all the while making sure it remains plugged in?

    Or have you ever wanted a convenient tripod to keep your iPhone stable – and juiced up – for a marathon Facetime session?

    How can you make sure your phone stays in the perfect position to hit “snooze” in the morning and stay charged all night?

    For all of those cases and more, BOBINE is here to help.

  • Gadget of the Week - Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones

    Imagine you are flying cross-country on a business trip, Chicago to Los Angeles. In the seat in front of you sits a mother trying to comfort a crying child. To your left, a man is humming the new Adele song as he types away on his Macbook Pro. And somewhere in the back, another mother is trying to comfort another crying child by singing, of course, the new Adele song. All of this is underscored by the low, dull, drone of the plane engine.

    Ugh.

    Now imagine you have the power to turn off all that noise with the flick of a switch. That’s the power of the Bose Quietcomfort 25.

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).