Better Mornings: 7 Innovative Gadgets to Get You Going
A look at the latest tech tools to help you rise and shine, and be productive right from the start.
Need more than a good, stiff caffeine jolt to wake up on the right side of the bed? If you’re not a morning person -- like, yawn, yours truly -- you probably wish there was some magical trick to make mornings a little less daunting and little more fun. And a whole lot more inspiring.
Lucky for you, thanks to a few clever entrepreneurs and inventors, there might be hope for your sluggish mornings yet.
Slowly sipping a steaming hot cup of tea (or coffee) is probably the biggest part of the morning ritual most people look forward to. Or cling to for dear-life. Because, let’s face it, without a caffeine boost, some of us (guilty as charged, again) wouldn’t even make it out the door.
The iKettle by Firebox ($163.89) enables you to effortlessly boil a kettle of hot water for tea right from your smartphone. By the time you mosey into your slippers and shuffle to the kitchen, your iKettle full of boiling water will be waiting for you, to deliver a satisfying, caffeine-jolted wake-up call. Just don’t forget to fill it up with water the night before.
Bonus: The iKettle system can wake you up with an audible alarm emitted from your smartphone. Even better, it also welcomes you home from a hard day at work by asking if you’d like to pop the kettle on for a piping hot cuppa. Very cool, er, make that piping hot.
Kohler Moxie 2.5 GPM Showerhead plus Wireless Speaker
You know you sing in the shower. Admit it. We all do. Now you can croon, scream and shout along to up to seven soggy hours of your favorite tunes with Kohler’s $200 Moxie Bluetooth Showerhead and Speaker.
Cue up your energizing wake-the-heck-up playlist (or favorite news or entertainment podcasts) from your Bluetooth-connected smartphone, laptop, MP3 player or tablet, lather up and kick your day off like a boss. Might we suggest starting off slow-ish with Arcade Fire’s midtempo, gradual progression Wake Up, perhaps? You’re the rockstar of your own shower, so it’s really up to you.
Take the music with you to-go in any room in your house -- or anywhere within 32 feet of your Moxie-synced mobile device. Just pop the rechargeable lithium-ion battery-powered wireless speaker out of the powerhouse 60-nozzle showerhead. Then snap it back in for your next steamy shower solo. Stream on, morning people.
Verilux Rise & Shine Natural Wake-Up Light
The Verilux light therapy alarm orb helps you wake up how you’re supposed to -- with progressively brightening light, hopefully refreshed and ready to take on the day. It’s especially useful for people who wake up in the wee hours, before the sun debuts.
The Rise & Shine Natural Wake-Up light, which rings up at about $100, is designed to help your body align the circadian rhythms that regulate your internal clock’s sleeping and waking patterns. There are 20 brightness levels for those of you who are particularly sensitive to light.
Not quite ready to face the day? Hit the machine’s snooze button and dream on. It’s also equipped with two alarms that are designed to wake you up and get you on your way, gently and quasi-naturally at least
Nest Learning Thermostat 2
If you hate waking up to a cold house, it's a good thing Nest is clever enough to know that. Leave it to the smart, Wi-Fi-connected thermostat to warm your house up to exactly the right temperature you find cozy in the morning, or any time -- day or night.
Nest remembers the temps you prefer based on how you set it during your first week using it and automatically adjusts itself accordingly. Need to turn up the heat but too lazy to budge? No problem. You can control your Nest and tweak the temp from anywhere using your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
After you take off for work, Nest senses that you’ve gone and sets itself to an energy-saving temperature. This avoids wasting energy in your empty abode, which is easier on your wallet and on the earth.
Nest-furnished temps will put you back about $250. That’s not so bad, though, when you consider that, according to Nest, you’ll likely save about $173 in energy bills in your first year using the product.
The Sharper Image Heated Shaving Cream Dispenser
Sometimes it’s the small things that brighten up rough-start mornings, or at least make them more bearable. A warm, toasty lather does a better, gentler job of getting your day off to a great start, especially when it’s conveniently, automatically and exactly heated to your liking.
The Sharper Image claims that its $39.99 lightweight, adjustable-heat gem is “easy to set up and use.” Although, it comes with a special tool that's designed to help you pry the heating doohickey unit off of a standard-sized can of shaving cream or gel.
Mr. Steam Wall Mounted Towel Warmer, 200 Series
When warmed-to-perfection shaving cream isn’t enough to turn a drag of morning around, perhaps reaching for a steamy-hot towel from the Mr. Steam Wall Mounted Towel Warmer will do the trick.
This pretty-penny ($637.00), welded, all-brass towel warmer comes complete with an aromatherapy well. You’ll be spoiled silly every time you step out of the shower. BYOL -- Bring your own oil. Revitalizing peppermint, bergamot, and grapefruit aromatherapy oils are the best for waking you up.
If you upgrade to the Valet Package, you’ll also get a robe hook, a 10ml bottle of eucalyptus oil and a digital timer for programmable on-off timed towel warming. Well, well, well then.
No, Tile doesn’t sear a smiley face into your toast or scramble your eggs with an assist from your smartphone. But the super small and slim, Bluetooth-enabled tracking device can help you find your smartphone, keys and wallet. And just about anything else most of us routinely misplace during our harried morning routines.
Simply attach the white square Tile to any object, install the Tile App on your phone and the system leads you right to your lost item using your iPhone 4S or 5, iPad 3rd or 4th gen or Mini, or iPod touch 5th gen. No more lost car keys. You’ll have no reason to be late for work, right?
Tile isn’t available for Android, Windows Phone or BlackBerry. You can pre-order one for a modest $19.95. The first Tile shipments are scheduled to start in Spring 2014.