Great New Gadgets for Work and Play

By Hannah Wallace September 30, 2007

INSTANT WAKE-UP Energy drinks get their kick from caffeine. Corner stores sell caffeinated chewing gum. Now ThinkGeek is selling soap bars with the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee. Lather it on and the caffeine is absorbed through the skin. Each bar is good for about 12 showers, with 200 milligrams of caffeine per “serving.” $6.99 a bar or $37.99 for 10 bars. While you're at the Web site, check out Spazzstick, a lip balm developed by a police officer in Alaska that contains a kick of caffeine as well. A vanilla toffee stick is $2.99.

NEXT-GENERATION GPS The Onix 400 is a brand-new, handheld GPS system made by Bushnell that ensures a hunter will never get lost—and never wonder what weather is approaching or what Howard Stern is saying about American Idol. It accesses XM satellite radio for entertainment and weather-related information, which is then layered in display on a 3.5-inch, full-color LCD screen. Extremely specific Doppler radar images, for instance, overlay a satellite image of the user’s location. This kind of information, while critical to those in the woods, also will surely benefit drivers when the next-generation navigation systems move into vehicles. $499.

TRAFFIC STOPPER Well, sure, you're green. You recycle, don't you? Show your true color by serving guests at your next party with a platter handmade from retired aluminum road signs and recycled copper rivets. The artist is metalsmith Boris Bally, whose work is included in permanent collections of the Museum of Art and Design New York, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C., among many. Because traffic signs age differently in exposure to weather, no two platters will be identical, but all feature the international symbol for bicycle traffic. $450.

AHOY, MATEY Ever wanted to join those men who stand along the pond shore every Sunday maneuvering their remote-control sailboats? Order this Aquacraft King’s Ransom radio-controlled pirate ship and have at 'em. Six cannons along each side blow competitors out of the water. The 18th-century model, faithful in detail, is 40 inches long and has real sails (that you lower to race), a crow’s nest and a retractable plank. The hull is fiberglass. The King’s Ransom comes with a two-channel remote with a 500-foot control range. When not sailing, it will look great in your den. $329.95 from Hammacher Schlemmer.

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