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Fall is in the air, and with it comes Halloween, back-to-school time and Starbucks PSLs (pumpkin spice lattes — hey, I can’t be the only one semi-obsessed with that amazing beverage, right?). As we welcome autumn, we also welcome new gadgetry. Here are some must-have gadgets showcased Tuesday morning on TODAY.
MirrorCase, $80, mirrorcase.com
Feel like a stage-five creeper taking those photos/videos/audio with your iPad or iPhone? MirrorCase saves you — and your subject — the embarrassment of being recorded. This case lets you subtly use your device’s back-mounted camera (in conjunction with a free app). It feels way more natural, and lets you covertly record presentations in school or at the office, and take photos without becoming a spectacle.
Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt, starting at $200, major retailers
When I was coming home from school as a kid, I was more concerned about catching “Animaniacs” than remembering my keys to get in the door. Now, thanks to a modern upgrade, kids and adults alike no longer have to worry about looking for their keys.
With the Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt, keyless entry is as simple as plugging in your code. With up to 30 different codes, an alarm and the free Nexia Home Intelligence app, you’ll be able to actually monitor when the kids are coming and going. That, along with a strong and secure entry system, is priceless peace of mind.
Fire Fishing Pole, $25, firebuggz.com
Upgrade your s’mores-making experience! Skewers and sticks are no fun when you can hook your grubski on a fishing pole. The Fire Fishing Pole, which consists of a wood rod and stainless steel pole, gives you and the kids better aim (and distance) for a controlled burn, and is great for backyard and camping roasts. Marshmallows or hot dogs rotate when you “jig” the pole. Note: not made for fishing.
Light Up Hoodie, $45-$65, electricstyles.com
Normal hoodies are so lame. Stand out during your night bicycle commute with the Light Up Hoodie from Electric Styles. The hoodie uses a bright el-wire, and comes in green, blue, red, white or pink. You can turn it on and off using the attached remote, and even change the blinking light patterns to be fast or slow (or buy the Sound Pack and the hoodie will blink along with your music). Light up the night with this hoodie and you’ll never blend into the background again. (Takes two AAs.)
Smart PJ’s, $30, smartpjs.com
We hear so much about “wearable tech” these days, what with smart jerseys and fitness bands. But these pajamas take wearable tech to a new level. Smart PJ’s are interactive pajamas that tell bedtime stories. Each pair of PJ’s comes with a free app, and you can use your smart phone to scan one of the many patterns on the apparel. Each pattern is a portal to a different bedtime story, like “Humpty Dumpty” or “Little Miss Muffet.” Smart PJ’s come in five sizes for kids ages 1 to 10.
Loopa Gyroscopic Toddler Bowl, $15, thinkgeek.com
No more Cheerios spills! With the Gyroscopic Toddler Bowl, your munchkin can hardly spill his food if he tries. Made by two parents, this dream-of-a-bowl relies on the science of gyroscopes to protect your floors and help keep your sanity. Bonus: It’s dishwasher safe.
Satechi USB Portable Humidifier, $30, satechi.net
As the weather cools off, your skin craves moisture. Want to take your soothing, replenishing humidifier on the road? It’s easy, thanks to this little gadget. This USB Portable Humidifier works when you place it on a water-filled bottle or glass and plug it into a USB port. At night, it casts a dim blue light, for calming, away-from-home ambiance. Bonus: If you use cold water, the humidifier doubles as a mister, making it useful year-round.
Google Trekker, google.com
For years, Google has taken us to see streets, businesses and other sights via the images captured by Google street cars. Now, the tech giant is getting even wilder with Google Trekker. Google Trekkers will venture far from the roads and delve deep into canyons, hop along islands and explore vast arrays of landscapes and adventures, recording it all the while.
And guess what? Google is looking for help. With the recently launched Trekker pilot program, successful applicants can borrow Google’s equipment (i.e. a 40-pound, backpack-mounted, 360-degree rotating system with up to 15 cameras that take photos every 2.5 seconds as the Trekker treks) on their next voyage.
Katie Linendoll is an Emmy Award-winning technology expert. She hosts a tech and pop culture show on Spike TV and can be seen as a tech expert on TODAY. She blogs at talknerdytome.net. And you can follow her on Twitteror Facebook.