The Nashville Bar Association Online features Bill Ramsey and Philip Hampton’s review of summer gadgets.

July 2018

Bill & Phil’s Summer Gadgets
by Bill Ramsey & Phillip Hampton

Summer is a time when many folks disconnect from their electronics and enjoy the outdoors. Not us. We do enjoy all the outdoor summer activities, but we take our gadgets along with us to enhance the fun. So, if you are looking for some cool gadgets to take with you on summer vacation, read on. If you are determined to divorce yourself from all electronics during the summer break, we’ll see you in the Fall.

Dreamix Solar Bluetooth Speaker
We know a trip to the beach or the pool is just not complete without some great music to enjoy in the sun. The Dreamix Solar Bluetooth Speaker is the perfect gadget to take with you. First of all—as Bluetooth speakers go—it is cheap ($27 on Amazon) and still sounds great. But even more impressively, the Dreamix has a built-in solar panel that keeps it charged when in the sunlight (perfect for the beach). Furthermore, the speaker with its protective rubber cover, is splash proof and will survive an accidental drop in the pool. It even has a built-in microphone so you can use it as a speakerphone if you just have to take a call from the office while at the beach. But who wants to do that? We said we would take our gadgets with us on vacation but we didn’t promise to take any work calls.

Embr Wave
This gadget is making waves for sure, no pun intended. Developed by a team of MIT grads and crowd sourced on Kickstarter, the Embr Wave band is a dream come true for those who can’t seem to get cool in the summer even with the A/C blasting at full capacity. The Embr Wave is a wristband that can trick your body into thinking you are cooler or warmer than you actually are. With the touch of a button, you can cause your brain to think “cooler” or “warmer.” It sounds like hocus-pocus, but the concept is actually based on solid scientific facts. We won’t get into the science behind how it works (mainly because we don’t understand it). We just know that somehow, it works. So, if you are the one who is perpetually sweating at the pool or freezing under a full-on A/C attack, you might try taking the Embr Wave with you vacation.

Bose SoundSport Wireless Earbud
We may have finally found the best truly wireless earbud solution. The Bose Soundsport is essential equipment when we go for a run, bike ride, or just a day at the lake. There are no wires to tangle us up—and once we pair the SoundSport Earbuds to our phone—the sound quality is excellent. The one feature we especially like is that the earbuds do not fall out of our ears, regardless of how rigorous the activity we’re engaged in.

FitBit Ionic / Versa
Summer is a great time to spike our exercise activity, and FitBit has many gadgets that can track and motivate us to stay on track with healthy exercise habits. We especially like the latest smart watch releases from FitBit, the Ionic and the Versa. These smart watches are comfortable to wear and are packed with features that we like and use regularly. Besides tracking everything from distance traveled and heart rate to sleeping patterns, we can use these smart watches to listen to music, receive notifications, and make payments. 

Livall Bling Smart Helmet
If you are a bicyclist, you can combine safety and technology with the Livall Bling Smart Helmet. This helmet is equipped with built-in LED lights, Bluetooth speaker, microphone, and an integrated riding app. You can communicate easily with your riding partners with the speaker and microphone. A built-in safety feature will automatically issue an SOS alert if the helmet senses that you are in an accident. After trying out the Livall Smart Helmet, we wonder why we were satisfied with “dumb” helmets for so long.

For those of us who will be flying to our summer vacation destination, the Modobag is an incredibly smart carry-on bag that is sure to catch everyone’s attention in the terminal. Not only is the Modobag decked out with all the smart luggage features, such as special compartments for your electronics, USB charging ports, and LED lights; but it also doubles as a vehicle. That’s right, you can actually ride the motorized Modobag to your gate. Topping out at a speed of 8 mph and a range of 8 miles on a full battery charge, you can zip through the hordes of walkers in the airport and get to your gate up to three times faster than walking. Ridable smart luggage is something we never thought we would see or use, but it is now all the rage.

Opal Nugget Ice Maker
For those who enjoy a cold summer beverage, ditch those plastic bags of convenience store ice cubes so clumped together you need an icepick and a hammer in order to make a drink. Use the Opal Nugget Ice Maker instead. Most ice makers produce hard, smooth cubes, but this cool countertop machine uses a unique compression process to produce the chewable nuggets you get in bars and restaurants. You can even connect to it with your phone to control it remotely and check the ice level.

—Bill and Phil