What are this year’s must-have gadgets?
In the wake of NYC’s annual CE Week — the Consumer Electronics Show’s East Coast showcase for the latest digital products — Senior Planet chatted with Lois Whitman-Hess, the original techie. Now in her 70s, Whitman-Hess has attended every Consumer Electronics Show since 1967.
The granddaddy of tech expos, the Consumer Electronics Shows are huge. They’re now held in Las Vegas and feature the cutting edge of technology. While not as big, the New York edition still had some pretty amazing gadgets to offer.
Whitman-Hess, also known as Digidame, writes a daily blog where she talks about her favorite digital finds, from YouTube videos to apps and gadgets. She started the blog because she felt it was important for the 55-plus crowd to be aware of an ever-changing digital world. “The real challenge is just not understanding what these technologies do, but how to use them,” she says.
Digidame’s blog also features stories about seniors and tech. She’s written about putting seniors back to work in Silicon Valley and the Purlettes, 90-year-olds who are making money knitting designer handbags.
So, what caught Digidame’s attention at this year’s CE Week?
Digidame’s CE Week Picks
This cool, dedicated flash drive for your phone is perfect for senior photographers who are out and about snapping pics. “I have thousands of photos on my iPhone, which slow it down and clog the memory,” she says. The size of a lipstick, you can plug this flash drive into your phone, download the photos and then upload them to your computer when you get home.
$49.99 on Amazon
This is the kind of gadget you don’t know you need until you get it. It communicates with your smartphone and becomes your digital assistant. You stick it on the fridge and use it to leave voice messages for your family, read or listen to messages, play internet radio or ask questions of Alexa — Amazon’s digital assistant — just as you would from Siri or Google. It’s cute, and you can talk to it. Here’s a good YouTube video that shows how it works.
$199 on Amazon
When you walk down the street, you see everyone using headphones with wires that plug into their phone. Why don’t people use Bluetooth headsets to listen to music? For good reasons: They don’t stay charged for long — most max out at eight or nine hours — and they’re too heavy or thick, fall out or stuff up your ears. This Jabra is a different experience. You can adjust it to fit, it’s light and comfortable, you don’t feel it when you’re wearing it and the battery stays charged for an impressive 17 hours. The Jabra Assist app tracks your battery usage and tells you when it’s time for a recharge. The headset also allows you to ask Siri or Google questions with the touch of a button without pulling out your phone.
Most 3D printers are for commercial use, but this one is for home hobbyists. In a few years everyone will have a 3D printer, because the prices are coming down so fast — but why wait. You can make any tool or gadget you can think of with it, plus any object from an ashtray to an ice bucket. It’s a great gift for the retired guy who has everything and loves to tinker in the basement.
This is a smart car charger and car finder. We all know how hard it is to get a decent charge for your phone in the car. This gadget not only charges your phone twice as fast as other chargers, but it also functions as a GPS when you can’t find your car Download the app and it will lead you straight to your car when you can’t find it in the parking lot.