Category Archives: Electronics

May the Fourth Be with You

Tomorrow, avid Star Wars fans around the world will celebrate Star Wars Day and their rallying cry with a hearty “May the Force be with you” to one and all.

This date-driven play on words began May 4, 1979, when Margaret Thatcher took office as Prime Minister of the U.K. The London Evening News placed a congratulatory ad saying, “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie.” It took off from there and in 2015, even the International Space Station celebrated far, far away with a showing of Star Wars for the astronauts.87707F_1000x1000

Why not celebrate Star Wars Day 2016 here on Earth with one of these unique gifts for yourself or for your favorite fan of the franchise.88225_1000x1000

These Star Wars Steins impart intergalactic intrepidity to your imbibing. Made from high-quality ceramic with pewter lids, each 32-oz. stein is crafted in the likeness of R2-D2, Darth Vader, Chewbacca or Boba Fett. Each stein is available individually, so a collector can choose a favorite as a unique gift or get the whole set.

You’ll have the best breakfast contraption in the whole galaxy with this Darth Vader Pancake Maker. Ensuring every iteration of the Sith Lord’s iconic visage is forged with the efficiency of an Imperial clone processing factory, its 10-setting thermostat and weighted lid yield tender golden “chewies” or crispy brown morsels, depending on your desired level of doneness.87114_1000x1000

A sure hit with kids and adults alike, this R2-D2 Bubble Generator automatically spews hundreds of bubble clusters in different directions. Faithful in detail to the original ‘droid, it speaks in the synthesized lexicon of boops and beeps and projects extraterrestrial blue light from its radar eye. It can be set to spray bubbles continuously or at random intervals, much in the spirit of the feisty original character.

We have over two dozen unique gifts that will delight any Star Wars fan on May the Fourth or any day. Check out our entire collection today!

Picture These Unique Gifts for Mother’s Day

What do mothers love almost as much as their family? Pictures of their family! That’s why 74348_1000x1000personalized photo gifts are the ideal unique gifts to celebrate your loving mom this Mother’s Day.

This custom photo jigsaw puzzle can be personalized with a reproduction of a color or black and white snapshot. The 408-piece puzzle is created from 80-point pasted chipboard…twice the thickness of typical puzzles, for an impressive quality that will last for years.87141_1000x1000

Mom won’t be able to help thinking of you at her breakfast table, thanks to The Selfie Toaster. This appliance uses a custom heating insert to indelibly brand a headshot image onto a slice of bread. The subject’s full facial details are converted into twin removable stainless steel inserts – the toaster then browns a likeness of the subject onto one side of the toast.84007_1000x1000

If your mother’s video memories are saved on hours of obsolete VHS tapes, this device will convert the contents of a video cassette to a DVD before they’re lost forever to outdated technology. The finished DVDs play on any disc player or computer so Mom can post on social media or create DVD copies to use as unique gifts for other family members.

We have dozens of gifts perfect for any mother or the other selfless, loving women in your life. If you’re still unsure what to get, check out our online Mother’s Day Gift Guide for that perfect unique Mother’s Day present.

And the Winner Is…A Unique Gift for Better TV Viewing

The 2015 awards show season is in full swing! Now is a great time to update your home entertainment options with unique gifts that will help you make the most of all the red-carpet entrances and the timely jokes from the ceremonies’ hosts.84896B_300x300

Here are notable awards broadcasts you won’t want to miss over the next few months:
Screen Actors Guild Awards – Sunday, Jan. 25. Broadcast on TNT and TBS. This ceremony honors theatrical motion pictures, actors, television and stunt ensembles.
Grammy Awards – Sunday, Feb. 8. Watch on CBS as the recording industry recognizes performers and song writers from all genres of music.
Academy Awards – Sunday, Feb. 22. To many people this is the flagship of the awards season; this year’s Oscar winners will be announced in a broadcast on ABC.
Kid’s Choice Awards – Saturday, March 28. Nickelodeon will air its annual awards ceremony for the younger set.
Tony Awards – Sunday, June 7. Tune into CBS as the theater industry recognizes achievements on Broadway.

Hear precisely who wins each award with The Voice Clarifying TV Speaker. This wireless speaker features an advanced microchip that amplifies human speech frequencies above background noise so that spoken words are clearly audible. The speaker has its own volume control, and a headphone jack for private listening.

Can’t be home to watch the event? No problem, this Portable Smart TV is a tablet that features a built-in digital TV tuner and antenna to receive free, over-the-air high-definition broadcasts and display them on its 7″ screen. This tablet also accesses the Internet via Wi Fi.

Some of the most popular awards shows go on till the late hours of the evening. A unique gift for viewers who prefer to watch from the comfort of bed, The TV Listening Headband has integrated ultra-thin wireless speakers and is comfortable enough to be worn as you rest your head on a pillow. Developed exclusively by Hammacher Schlemmer, the soft fleece headband’s stereo speakers receive audio from a Bluetooth transmitter that connects to your TV.

So pop the popcorn, dim the lights and get ready for a night with your favorite stars from film, stage, and music!

New Life for a Groovy Collection

It wasn’t really that long ago since we awaited the release of every new song on vinyl, was it? Or hoped that a favorite cassette wouldn’t jam in the tape player?

There are many advantages to today’s digital formats, but sometimes we long to hear the songs that require a needle in a groove. If your collection of vinyl LP records is languishing on a shelf, or if you have a drawer full of old cassette tapes, we have some unique gift ideas to help you get your groove on once again.

The LP to MP384846_300x300 Turntable converts a classic vinyl record’s songs into MP3s. The turntable plugs into a computer using the included USB cable, while the software works to turn each track into an individual MP3. The turntable also can connect to a home stereo system for listening to your collection in its original format.

Here’s a device that restores a cassette tape’s audio quality before converting it to audio CD format. Made by TEAC, the company that pioneered magnetic tape recording in the 1950’s, it is the only stand-alone device that uses the Dolby noise reduction process. It can also convert content to CDs from any audio device plugged into its USB or auxiliary ports, and convert content into MP3s for direct storage onto any USB drive.

Finally, this converter can do it all. A unique gift exclusive to Hammacher Schlemmer, this is 81557_300x300the combination recorder and stereo system that preserves classic vinyl records and cassette tapes by recording them to audio CDs or converting the songs to MP3s. At any time during recording, you can pause to select only certain songs or change albums or cassettes to make compilation recordings. The system has an AM/FM digital tuner and can play through its own built-in speakers or connect to an external stereo system.

Adding a New Dimension to Doodling

Do you like to doodle? How would you like to doodle in 3D?

The World’s First 3D Printing PenThe World's First 3D Printing Pen lets you create three-dimensional freehand plastic drawings. Instead of releasing ink, this pen extrudes warm thermoplastic that hardens within seconds.

You can download blueprints of a 6″-tall Eiffel Tower, a napkin holder, or even Istanbul’s Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Just trace the designs and mend them together with the 3D pen. With some practice and a steady hand, you can even draw in the air to create a bird’s outstretched wing or connect two faces of a cube. Imagine the unique gifts you could create for friends and family!

The 3D Printing Pen has been used by artists to craft display pieces for the Museum of Modern Art’s Design Store window in New York City. An aspiring fashion designer used the pen to create a collection of wearable art. The pen has even been used to create parts for use in robotics.

As amazing as any 3D printer is, this pen is even more versatile, thanks to the freehand ability it offers. A Kickstarter campaign made the pen a reality, and now this amazing pen can put the magic of 3D printing right in your hands, too.

If You Want Something Done Right, Do It Yourself.

When French writer Charles-Guillaume Étienne wrote this phrase in 1824, two decades before Hammacher Schlemmer began as a business, he probably had no idea how widely its influence would impact innovation.

The last 166 years has provided us with plenty of practice in finding unexpected, unique gifts, items that are the best in their category, and items that are the only ones that do what they do, but sometimes innovation allows us to take matters into our own hands.

The Only Rechargeable Long Range Wireless Stereo SpeakersWireless-Speakers—available exclusively from Hammacher Schlemmer—are the result of four years of effort. They are the only pair of splash-proof speakers that can sit poolside up to 250’ away from their music source and provide stereo quality sound, without the need for alkaline batteries or a power outlet.

“We developed these speakers ourselves because no other manufacturer provided every benefit we required in one model,” explained Hammacher Schlemmer’s General Manager Fred Berns. “No one had yet managed to build rechargeability, long range wireless operation, and stereo sound quality into a pair of outdoor speakers—ours are the only ones that do.”

We purchased specific tooling and molds and established our own production line, “minding the store” until we had arrived at a final design worthy of our sound quality, ease of use, wireless range, and runtime tests—the latter two test results actually exceeded our expectations, but we prefer to under-promise and over-deliver.

The 2.4GHz radio built into the transmitter sends interference-free audio from any music device to the speakers up to 250’ away—at 8X the range of Bluetooth—reaching your swimming pool, the farthest corner of your backyard, or a volleyball game 80 yards away.

Each speaker has a rechargeable lithium battery that provides up to 10 hours of use at medium volume, unlike the vast majority of other speakers that require up to eight D batteries or a dedicated power outlet.

And unlike one-speaker systems that produce mono sound, each of our 5-watt speakers has a 3.5” bass/midrange driver, 2.5” tweeter, bass reflex port, individual volume control, and left/right channel selection—all of which work in concert to provide clear highs, mids, and solid bass with true stereo quality.

“We considered details that other speaker manufacturers overlook,” Berns said. “We made sure the transmitter’s dock was large enough to hold an iPhone, tablet, or other music device even while still in its case. Plus, they’re so versatile, you can even use them as remote speakers for your television when it’s time to come inside for the evening.”

Sometimes we find innovation; sometimes we make it ourselves.

Unique Gifts of Light and Time

iPhone WatchSome folks love it, others curse it…but there’s no denying that the move to Daylight Savings Time this weekend capitalizes on one of Nature’s unique gifts: the lengthening of the days that comes with spring.

In the U.S., DST has been around since 1918 when it was established as a fuel-conservation measure during the First World War. It was largely unpopular and as a result, after the war Congress abolished DST on a federal level, although states had the option to observe the time change.

Year-round DST, called “War Time,” was implemented in 1942, again to save fuel during WWII. After the war, from 1945 and until 1966, there was no federal DST and localities could choose when and if to turn the clocks ahead or back. Confusion in the transportation industry led to federal regulation and the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Through the following years, the dates to begin and end DST changed based on issues such as the 1973 oil embargo and amendments to the Uniform Time Act. In 2007, most of the country moved to the dates we have today: Daylight Savings Time begins the second Sunday every March and ends the first Sunday in November.

With all this changing does anybody really know what time it is? To help those confused by this weekend’s time change, we have several watches that make unique gifts for special someone, or perhaps yourself.

One of our favorites is The Voice Command Smartphone Watch. This is the only watch that relays voice commands to a smart phone, even when buried in a purse or tucked in a pocket. The watch appears to be a classic analog design, but a discreet speaker and microphone transform it into a one-touch communication hub on the wrist. Using Bluetooth 4.0, the watch acts as liaison with an Android or iPhone for calls and texts. The watch also features a “leash” function to alert users if the phone has been left behind.

Woo and Wow Your Valentine with Unique Gifts for Her

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so it’s time to consider some unique gifts for her. Candy is dandy while it lasts; why not surprise your Sweetie with the unexpected gift that she’ll love all year long.Unique-Gifts-for-Her

Among our favorite gifts for women are those that will help her get more out of today’s technology. The iPhone 5/5S Polycarbonate Wallet has an impact-resisting hard shell that protects her phone, and also provides storage for money, credit cards and an ID, and also features an integrated mirror. It comes in your choice of several bold colors that complement her style, too.

The woman in your life likely has photo albums or perhaps shoeboxes filled with prints of the kids, family, and favorite vacation spots…photos that may rarely get looked at anymore. The Desktop Photograph To Digital Picture Converter takes prints, slides, and even negatives and turns them into quality 3,200 dpi resolution images. Faster and easier to use than a conventional scanner, the touch of a button records an image as a JPEG and stores it on an SD card.

For a unique gift for the woman who enjoys a little luxury (and what woman doesn’t?), The Lady’s Washable Cashmere Robe offers the warmth of wool without roughness or scratching. Hand-combed from the fine, downy undercoat of Inner Mongolia’s indigenous Kashmir goats, cashmere fibers are renowned for being the softest in the world. Yes, these durable fibers withstand machine washing, or can be dry-cleaned.

If she’s a traditionalist, i.e. a chocolate lover, treat her like a queen with The Royal Warrant Chocolate Gift Box. This collection of gourmet sweets comes from the Prestat Chocolate Company, a 35-year holder of the Royal Warrant to Her Majesty the Queen. Because the royal family bestows the Royal Warrant of Appointment only on suppliers whose goods it uses personally, epicureans consider it a mark of the highest quality.

Newest Technology Debuts at 2014 Consumer Electronics Show

Las Vegas hosted last week the annual Consumer Electronics Show, one of the largest trade shows in the world. CES is a huge technology show that allows industry giants to show off their latest and greatest, alongside small start-ups trying to make a name for themselves with gadget prototypes that may or may not ever get produced.CES-2014

This year’s show focused heavily on smart appliances, designed to connect your home in its own electronic ecosystem. Controlling home devices such as security systems, thermostats, appliances and lighting through a smartphone has already become a reality, but it remains to be seen how willing consumers are to wire up their homes to be able to control their stoves and crock pots with their iPhones. The most promising applications so far are those that will save energy and lead toward greener homes.

Nevertheless, the possibilities are dizzying. Imagine a refrigerator that could text you when the milk is about to go bad, so you can grab a fresh gallon on the way home, or have the message sent directly to a grocery delivery service. Your mattress could monitor your sleep and automatically lower the thermostat when you kick off the covers.

As in recent years past, televisions dominated floor space at CES, with bigger and higher-resolution screens being announced. Sharp debuted the Aquos Quattron Plus line, featuring 10 million more sub-pixels than current full HD. Samsung showed off a bendable TV, although practical applications for the technology remain to be seen. And the Roku TV, to be released this fall, comes with Roku’s superior full streaming software built right in, no additional box required.

Wearable devices – namely watches – made a splash, proving Dick Tracy was truly a visionary! And “health tech” promises to be big this year, with fitness devices such as FitBit and Nike’s FuelBand leading the way in tracking a wealth of data about your activity levels.

But perhaps no other device transforms an ordinary, everyday task like the smart toothbrush from French company Kolibree. Their Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush pairs with a smartphone app to track how well you’re cleaning your teeth, including time spent brushing and number of strokes. You can share results with your dentist, so you won’t have to be looking down in the mouth when you show up for your next appointment.

iPhone Dock Has Manifold Admirers

An untold number of iPod/iPhone docks are on the market, but none speaks to the audiophile who is also a petrolhead like The Formula One Speaker Dock. Enzo Ferrari once said the sound of an engine should be listened to like a symphony. Little did he know the manifolds of his cars could someday play Mozart’s finest.The Formula One Speaker Dock

This dock is constructed from the left or right exhaust manifold of a retired eight-cylinder F1 engine of your choosing, including a 1978 Cosworth DFV, 2006 Renault RS26, 2007 Ferrari 056 and others. Crafted in Modena, Italy, the cradle of Italian racecar innovation, the manifold’s four headpipes house two silk-dome, 70-watt tweeters and two PPM-cone, 70-watt mid-range speakers that provide clear highs and mids. The end of the manifold’s collector tube houses a doped-paper cone 140-watt active subwoofer driven by a high-density flux ferrite that provides booming bass.

It’s a beautiful repurposing that marries fine mechanical workmanship with the high-tuned nerves of a Formula One tailpipe. And it isn’t the first time we’ve repurposed the spirit of a classic automobile into a new object. The 1959 Corvette Billiards Table meticulously reproduces the classic convertible from real chrome bumper to real chrome bumper, complete with gleaming grille, curves, and working versions of the trademark four headlights.

Inventors and tinkerers alike have long repurposed auto parts into objects either fun or functional. Artist John Kearney is known for his whimsical animal sculptures crafted from car bumpers. Many cars have been given second lives as furniture in dining rooms, bedrooms, living rooms and offices. And at least one old car has been turned into a chicken coop!

But why stop with auto parts? The DIY community and social networks like Pinterest are rich with ideas for transforming ordinary objects into eye-catching furniture, guaranteed to be one of a kind.