Bringing us one step closer to self sufficiency and cutting the cords to the grid entirely, the Tesla Powerwall Home Battery is the incontestably ideal partner to a roof full of solar panels — though even homes without any can benefit. The sleek, wall-mountable Powerwall packs a rechargeable lithium-ion battery alongside a liquid thermal control system, fulfilling a number of functions including storing solar energy generated during the day for later use, load shifting, i.e. charges during low rate periods to cut costs when rates are higher, and acting as a back-up power supply in case of an outage. They also rig up in multiples for higher energy-need homes and come in a wide variety of colors to blend in anywhere.
Learn more at Tesla – $3,000+
Waterproof, dustproof, and ruggedized, the Drytunes Waterproof Speaker is your high-fidelity option for outdoor adventures. Drytunes is designed to play with the lid closed: pair it with a Bluetooth enabled device or plug it via auxiliary input, then snap it shut for up to 16 hours of continuous playback time. It also boasts over 400 cubic inches of internal dry storage to stash your more water-sensitive devices, including phones, cameras, tablets, wallets, keys, and more.
Grab one at Amazon – $400
The only charging setup more minimal than the Native Union DOCK is to use Apple’s provided charge cable all alone. But where’s the fun in that? DOCK is composed of a hefty weighted base and an aircraft-grade aluminum arm that slides in once the cable is inserted, routing it out the back to keep your desk or night table nice and tidy. The arm is adjustable in angle while the simple matte graphite silicone-coated base can flip on its side for a horizontal view that’s more natural while lying down. It’s even reversible, letting you position the watch on either the left or right side of the base with just a simple adjustment.
Preorder at Native Union – $50
Upgrade your 3D printer with Palette, the simplest way to add some color to your creations. Palette doesn’t modify your printer’s extruder in any way; instead, it inputs up to four filament spools and combines them together into a single one in real time as your 1.75mm filament-compatible 3D printer is at work. Using Palette just adds a preparatory step for selecting which color goes where: afterwards, the device handles the rest, automatically splicing the filaments and even self-adjusting to ensure precision throughout the print. It even works with new types of filaments like conductive, magnetic, metallic, and more, greatly expanding the functionality of your existing machine beyond the merely cosmetic.
Learn more at Kickstarter – $850
Apple may have taken the port pruning one step too far on their latest MacBook. But if you’re rolling with the punches, the HydraDock USB-C Dock is all you’ll need at home. HydraDock is made of Apple-white injection molded ABS-C plastic and acts as a riser stand for your device, lifting the rear edge slightly off your desk. More importantly, it plugs to the MacBook’s lone USB-C port, providing power while expanding it into a multitude of connectivity options, including two more USB-C ports, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, Gigabit ethernet, and a 3.5mm audio jack. It even packs an SD card slot to simplify photo transfers and the like.
Hit up Kickstarter for details – $130
Untether your home theatre — or the projector component of it, anyway — with Celluon’s PicoAir and PicoPro Pico Projectors. Among the lightest projectors available at just 7 ounces, both the PicoAir and PicoPro project up to a 250″ image with a custom HD resolution of 1920 x 720, packing in more pixels than standard 720p. Differentiating the models is connectivity: while the PicoAir is designed for wireless use with Miracast-enabled Android devices, the PicoPro also offers wired connectivity including HDMI for iOS users and the like. Both also boast a 80,000:1 contrast ratio, 16.7 million colors, PicoP technology that eliminates the need to focus, and a built-in battery good for up to 3 hours.
Grab the PicoAir ($300) or PicoPro ($350) at Amazon.
Polaroid’s instant cameras may be gone, but your smartphone can essentially double as one with Polaroid Zip. The pocket sized Zip connects to your device via either Bluetooth or NFC and wirelessly prints photos in about a minute apiece. For convenience Zip uses ZINK paper, which contains dye crystals that are activated upon printing, sparing you the need of fudging around with ink or toner cartridges. And no power adapter is required: a built-in lithium-ion battery handles printing of up to 25 photos per charge.
Learn more at Polaroid or grab one at Photojojo – $130
Following up on their highly popular Major comes the Marshall Major II, a refreshed set of on-ear headphones that update performance and fit, amongst others. The spotlight of the Major II is new customized drivers that deliver an overall improved acoustic profile, particularly deeper bass and more detailed highs. Importantly, they’re also more solidly built, in part thanks to a more flexible headband, a durable vinyl finish, and redesigned, beefier hinges that still allow for the cans to collapse down and slip into a pack for easy transport. Other niceties include ultra soft ear cushions that passively dampen ambient noise, dual 3.5mm sockets — one per ear — to customize the side where the cord is worn or to share music with others, plus an inline mic and remote for taking calls or skipping tracks.
Grab a pair in black at Amazon ($100) or in several other colors at Marshall ($120)
Streamline your workplace and simultaneously optimize ergonomics with the Fusion Stand For iMac and Thunderbolt Display. The rock solid aircraft-grade aluminum Fusion boasts an anodized finish and subtle curves that closely embodies Apple’s products to blend right in. On top of elevating your display by 2.5-inches, the front of the stand sports hidden magnets to attach to iForte’s optional case-friendly smartphone dock which is compatible with both micro-USB and Lightning devices and routes cables underneath and through the back for a clean, clutter-free desk. It even offers up free space underneath to stash a Mac Mini, external hard drive, or other compact devices.
Hit up Kickstarter for details – $60+
There’s no denying the planned obsolescence that goes into the design of virtually all our modern electronics. AIAIAI flips this ugly practice on its head with their TMA-2 Modular Headphones, a set of cans that come together from individually selected speakers, headbands, earpads, and cables for a grand total of 360 combinations. First, choose from PU foam-, silicone-, or leather-padded headbands. Couple these to one of four 40mm drivers depending on your preferred listening profile, add on over- or on-ear earpads made of either PU leather or microfiber, and select one of six cables of varying lengths and with/without 1 or 3 button mics. And if you decide to eventually switch it up — or if any one component fails — swapping parts is as easy as snapping and plugging them in.
Build yours at AIAIAI – $145 to $250