39 Gadgets From CES 2013 That Parents Could Actually Use

39 Best Gadgets for Parents from CES 2013

39 Best Gadgets for Parents from CES 2013

As we explained in our post on the Top 7 Kids Toys From CES 2013, CES is one insanely large show.  Well, it took us a couple of extra days, but we have gone through all the information we collected and we are now ready to give you our quick recap of 39 gadgets that parents might actually use.  We will save the talk about 4K TVs that no one wants or can afford to the tech blogs, let’s jump right into the stuff that us Moms and Dads might actually use…


Parents, I have news for you, your kids are not the center of your world, your smartphone is.  In 2013 everything is connected and everything lives in the cloud.  The smartphone is becoming our main computer, the center of everything, with new sensors feeding all types of data to it.  Here is a quick sampling…

Use Your Phone To Measure Your Environment…

Say hello to NODE – a sensor that connects via BlueTooth to your phone.  Attach various modules to the Kore Sensor and watch it wirelessly send info to your phone on temperature, air pressure and carbon monoxide levels.  But wait, don’t order yet, it does more.  Doing some decorating? Use the Chroma sensor to do exact color matching, it will even tell you the name of the paint you need to buy.  Check out this quick video to learn more…

If you are having a hard time wrapping your head around the NODE, take a look at LAPKA


That photo explains it all – right?  Don’t even bother going to the website, this product is so cool and hip, they don’t use words to describe it.  After begging the reps at CES to explain what LAPKA is, I learned it is a Personal Environment Monitor.  ‘Nuf said, right?  Well, here is a cool use for it, it can tell you if those expensive organic apples you buy for the family are really organic.  Yep, stick the probe in and it instantly measures (and wirelessly transmits to your phone) nitrate content in your food.  Too much Nitrates, probably had Nitrogen based fertilizers used on it.

Extend Your Phone To Your Wrist…

Raise your hand if you find the action of bringing your smartphone up to your head too strenuous.  I see no hands up, but that is only because your arms are too exhausted from constantly pulling your smartphone out of your pocket every time you want to use it.  Luckily, technology is here to rescue you from smartphone lifting fatigue.

2013 will see a number of new watches that use Bluetooth 4.0 and other technology to work with your smartphone.  You have I’m Watch, Pebble Watch and the Casio G-Shock + just to name a few.   These watches allow you to answer a call, send a text, check email – all without even pulling your phone out of your pocket.  Not sure how necessary any of that is, but Casio was doing a cool demo where their watch will beep and tell you if you are leaving your phone behind.  By 2014 I expect the watches will shock us if we are leaving our kids behind.

I'm Watch

I'm Watch

Use Your Phone To Open Doors, Literally…

Need to unlock your front door for your kids…while you are 1,000 miles away?  If you have the SimpliciKey KeyCloud app controlled lock installed, you just click your phone and open the door.  You can also give everyone who enters your house a different key code to enter.  Kids supposed to be home at 3pm, but it is now 3:15 and their keycode has not been entered?  The SimpliciKey can send you an alert.  Look for these super smart locks in the 2nd half of 2013.

Turn Your House Into Big Brother…

SimpliciKey can let you know who entered your house, but if you want visuals and audio, you need to go with Dropcam HD.  Put an easy to setup Dropcam  camera in your house and then use your phone to see and hear what is going on while you are away.  New this year, you can talk to your home!  See the kids grabbing a cookie? From 1,000 miles away you can yell “Not before dinner!”  The Dropcam HD is available now for $149.

DropCam HD

Who Needs Memory When You Have a SmartPhone?

Can’t remember where you put the car keys, your glasses, the kids??  As long as you have a have the StickNFind on whatever you lost, you simply use your phone to instantly locate it via Bluetooth.  StickNFind has a 100 foot range, but if your lost items tend to get further away you can go with the BLUTracker, which has an amazing 2,500 ft range.


Do you ever wonder where the kids are?  The VIVOPlay is a watch that kids wear and allows you to track them, call them and see where they are.  Setup SAFE ZONES and get an alert if the kids leave the zone.  Son, of course I trust you, but if you move 2 centimeters outside of the school zone I will have the VIVOPlay contact our robot leader, and he will ground you.

Do you ever wonder where Grandma is?  LifeComm is a small device that allows you to see if Grandma is taking her meds, going to her Dr appts and watching Judge Judy.  Fine, that last part is a lie…for now.  The LifeComm does promise some cool features, like the ability to tell you if Grandma is inactive for too long or if she feel.  Yes, the LifeComm has fall detection technology built in.

Ever wonder where your luggage goes after you check it?  TrakDot will end this mystery (read our post on TrakDot).  Place it in your luggage and it uses GSM technology to allow you to track your luggage with your smartphone.  This raises a deep philosophical question – If the airline loses your luggage, but you know exactly where your luggage ended up, is it lost luggage?

TrakDot Luggage


As parents we shoot a ton of video of the kids that we think is priceless….it’s not.  Sure, we can stomach watching a 80 minute 2nd grade play to see the 30 seconds where little Bobbie steals the show as a talking tree, but no one else can stomach this.  Magisto is a new online service that will take all your videos and magically edit it into a fun highlight video that your friends and family will actually want to watch.

The demo we saw was incredibly impressive.  Magisto uses advanced algorithms to determine what parts of your video are most important.  If you are panning among a series of faces in a play, but keep stopping on one face and zooming in, Magisto knows that person is important.  If someone is talking and suddenly their voice goes up and gets excited, Magisto knows that segment is worth keeping.  If your son is jumping into a pool, Magisto can determine the action and apply a slow motion effect right at the point he is in the air above the water.  Simply put, Magisto pulls off some magical stuff with your videos.

Magisto is a free download for iOS or Android (you can purchase in app themes and effects).  Don’t have a smartphone?  You can use Magisto online.  Go ahead Moms and Dads, download it now and give it a shot.  We will be doing a full review of Magisto in the near future.


Let’s be honest Dads and Moms, as we get older we tend to lose some mental sharpness.  For years people have blamed TV and technology for rotting our minds, but in 2013 technology is here to save our minds!

Interaxon displayed Muse, a brain sensing headband that can be used to control music and entertainment devices, play games and increase your brain power and mental sharpness.

How about flying a helicopter with just your brain?  The PuzzleBox Orbit is a RC helicopter that you control with your thoughts.  Strap on a EEG headset and concentrate to make it fly.

Don’t want to wear a headband, but still want to sharpen your brain?  No problem, MyBrainSolutions, HeartMath and Dakim BrainFtiness all showed software and apps that allow you to increase mental sharpness just by playing specially designed games and activities.  I always knew that playing games was the key to a better mind, I am glad science has finally caught up to me.


2013 is shaping up to be the year where health and fitness gadgets go main stream.  Looking to track your exercise?  Tiny wearable gadgets like the MisFit Shine and FitBug Orb can track everything from steps to sleep patterns.  While fitness trackers have been around for years, the new crop of gadgets are getting so small that you can basically wear them all the time.

Misfit Shine

Misfit Shine

Need to check your weight, blood pressure or blood sugar levels?  Yep, endless gadgets from iHealth, BodyMedia and WiThings will measure your vitals and then upload them to the cloud where you can run historical reports, track changes and share data with your doctors.  Had a little too much comfort food to get through the holidays?  You better hope for a blackout because that is the only way you are going to escape seeing your weight and blood pressure on every device you own.

Gadgets that track and report on your weight are fine, but they are sort of like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.  We need a gadget that stops us from gaining weight, not reporting on it. Enter the HAPIfork. The HAPIfork from HAPILABS,will vibrate in your hand if you eat too quickly.  The idea – the slower you eat, the better you’ll eat. The HAPIfork,  will be available this spring.


Parents to be, are you still waiting for your ultrasound appointment to hear the baby’s heartbeat? That is so 2012.  The iBaby HeartSense is a doppler microphone that pairs with an app to let you hear the baby’s heartbeat and record it to share with friends… because all your friends are sitting around right now just wishing they could hear your baby’s heartbeat. The iBaby HeartSense, from iBaby Labs, will be “available soon.”


When you press the start button on your dishwasher, does it start?  I sure hope not.  What if you are trying to wash your dishes at peak energy times?  What a costly mistake that would be.  Whirlpool has announced Whirlpool Appliances with 6th Sense Live.  You can get a dishwasher that is programmed to run during the lowest energy cost time.  Or get a dryer that will tell you when your clothes are dry and if it needs service.

Are your ready for the next hurricane/blizzard/super storm?  Could you survive for weeks in the mountains…you know if the kids forced you to run away from home?  You of course will need some power so you can keep playing Angry Birds, and that is where fuel cells come in.  Nectar is a tiny power pack that will give you 2 weeks of cell phone power using a simple Butane power pod.  The Nectar will  sell for $299 and each power pod is $10.  POWERTREKK is a similar Fuel Cell device, but it uses water to create energy.  The PowerTrekk will sell for about $200,  but only supplies about 2 hours of cell phone power from each catalyst pod (pods about $4 each).  Bring on the blackouts, go off the grid – with these portable power plants you will be ready.

The Parrot Flower Power is a green product, literally.  Plant this sensor in your garden and it will beam to your phone everything you need to know to get your garden humming.  The Flower Power reports on  sunlight, temp and soil characteristics and tells you what you need to do to keep your plants growing and happy.

Parrot Flower Power


You might not be able to explain exactly what you need a 3D Systems CUBE 3D Printer ($1299) for, but you will definitely want one.  Being able to print objects in your living room, that is just flat-out cool.

CUBE 3D Printer

Digital cameras don’t normally get us excited, but a camera that can shoot 2D and 3D images and video…without switching lenses?  That is very cool.  The Samsung NX300 Camera has endless features, the best of which is being the only consumer camera to capture in 2D or 3D with the same lens.  Throw in its ability to wirelessly send the photos you shot direct to your smartphone and you have a camera to lust after.

Samsung NX300

What’s life without music?  Surround yourself with music, but we are not talking about your standard “surround sound”.  The BEM Wireless Speaker Trio gives you 3 wireless speakers, put them in any rooms in your house and pump tunes from your iPod.

When it comes to tablets there is the iPad and everyone else.  Since Apple does not display at CES, it gives all the “other guys” a chance to pitch their wares.  We actually saw some cool tablets from two young companies I had never heard of, I think the names were Intel and Microsoft???  Seriously, the Intel Tablets running Windows 8 actually looked very cool, we will try to get our hands on one to do a direct comparison to the iPad.


We love toys so much, we did a whole separate post on the 7 Top Toys for Kids from CES 2013. If you are too tired after reading all this to click over to the post, here are the toys – LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, Combat Creatures, TOSY mRobo, TOSY Disco Robo Super Star, CUBE 3D Printer, Kick Bee Robot and Charge Station U.

Start Saving Now To Geek Out Later

There you have it, 39 gadgets that you might actually want…and we never mentioned a 4K TV.  The good news is many of these gadgets will not be out until later this year, so you have time to save up.  After all, which is more important, saving money so the kids can go to college or getting a fork that tells you when you are eating too much?

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