For anyone curious about what 2021’s tech legacy will be, these cool gadgets are worth checking out.
One of my favourite January activities is looking at all the cool gadgets that best represent the year just passed – those that show us the year at its truest.
What genuinely weird and interesting gadgets and tech perfectly sum up what 2021 meant to us all, with its home-schooling, work from home isolation.
And given current events, some of these may become more relevant to us as 2022 progresses.
Here is our selection of the coolest tech, the contraptions, the thingamajigs that 2021 produced.
Comfortably Cool Gadget – A Desk for Bed
2021 heralded the slow destruction of work-from-home pretences. Getting up more than 15 minutes before the morning meeting? Not often. Wearing formal attire? A lot less than we used to. Sitting up straight? My back aches just thinking about it.
No, “work-from-home” in 2021 meant pyjamas and never sitting with your knees and elbows at perfect 90-degree angles. When you’re WFH, the word “bed” may as well mean “office”, so it makes perfect sense to have a desk for your bed, which is exactly what the iSwift Pi is. You can also use it on the couch, just in case working from bed is a step too far for you.
Complete 2021’s “WFH-being-honest-with-ourselves” set with an ergonomic chair which seems like the office equivalent of a La-Z-Boy, these “WFH Jammies“, and this organiser.
Brightly Cool Gadget – Snazzy Book Light
No matter what kind of technological advances we make, the best gadget will always be books. Unfortunately, books were not invented in 2021 so they don’t fit in here as new – but this book light does. It clips onto the cover, seems to stay out of the way, is specifically designed not to ruin your eyes with too much glare, and is dimmable. Which is all perfect because the past year underlined another point very clearly: that we should all be reading more books. A lot more books.
Environmentally Cool Gadget – Clean Water Bottle
This is fancy bottle. It does a lot of things that other fancy bottles do – it keeps hot liquid hot, cold liquid cold, the lid is a cup, and it has an NFC chip in it (for some reason). But coolest thing about this fancy bottle is that it funds the collection of single-use plastics.
2021 was the year that someone finally started cleaning up the island of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean so what better way to celebrate that than with a bottle that build upon the good work they started? No one needs environmental guilt hanging over their head every time they’re trying to stay hydrated.
Cool Coffee Gadget – Espresso on the go with the WacacoPicopresso
Everyone either loves coffee or has a coffee lover in their life, which is normal when you think about it because it’s an addictive substance. But hey, it’s a nice kind of addictive. It’s the addictive that keeps you awake, and might reduce the risk of certain diseases.
The WacacoPicopresso is both amazing to say out loud and just a really cool gadget. You squeeze it, and espresso comes out. What’s not to love?
If you get this, along with this temperature controlling (insanely priced) mug, and one of these hoodies made out of recycled coffee grounds, you or your coffee person will be incredibly happy, and may also be wondering whether coffee has become too big a part of their personality.
Three-Dimensionally Cool Gadget – High Precision 3D Scanner
This is a 3D scanner. It takes 3D scans of things and makes them digital, so that you can then print them out with a 3D printer. This would be the perfect gadget for people who want to start doing their holiday photo-shoots… differently.
Seriously though, who wouldn’t want to create little action figures of their family, friends, pets? 3D printer not included.
Electrifying Cool Gadget – Generark Personal Generator
2021 was supposed to be a year of relief after the stress, the tension, the upheaval of 2020. In the end 2021 was… also not that great. It might not have been as bad as its predecessor but it didn’t match lofty expectations. Expectations like a return to some semblance of normality.
It did, however, teach us to always be prepared for the worst. Or, perhaps, the lack of a quick recovery from the worst. And what better way to be prepared than with your own personal generator? The Generark holds a charge for a year and can power a household appliance for a week.
Considering 2021 gave us what was apparently the largest power outage in Melbourne’s history, and considering extreme weather events are projected to become more and more likely, this could actually be worth the admittedly steep price.
If you want to be really prepared, get this welder. If society collapses, you’ll definitely need to weld something. That’s just obvious.
By Kristian Rusten– non-profit geek, data and tech specialist, freelance writer.