As we approach the biggest gifting season of the year, it's always good to know about smart, innovative, and just awesome products tech. So, whether you're shopping for yourself or a friend, here are some futuristic gadgets that fit that criteria, and have the potential to transform the way you do just about everything:
For The Aviation Enthusiast
Air Combat Helicopters - VAT19 - Unique Gifts and Unusual Gift Ideas
Can't get into a real whirly-bird? This is the next best thing. Pilot the helicopter for fun or attack in combat with lasers. Either way, the motion-controlled flight stick, lights, sounds, and vibrations give you an incredibly realistic experience of piloting a chopper.
The Artistic Techie
Aurora Smart Lighting Panels - UncommonGoods - Cool and unusual gifts for any occasion
Sick of humdrum lamps? Create signature scenes in any room with this set of interlocking LED panels. Colors are completely customizable, so you can let the hue of your personality shine through.
The Mermaid/Man Wannabe
Bone Conducting Underwater MP3 Player - ThinkGeek - Unique Gifts That Stimulate the Imagination
This MP3 player is a must-have for anybody who gets a flood of happy from working out or exploring under the water. Capable of holding about 1,000 songs, it attaches right to your goggles and -- get this -- delivers audio to the inner ear through your cheekbones.
The Dessert Lover
Candy Sushi - VAT19 - Unique Gifts and Unusual Gift Ideas
This amazing all-candy sushi platter leaves the fish in the sea and replaces it with sweet marshmallow, gummies, and licorice. It's the perfect dish to pass around at the end of a sophisticated meal or keep completely to yourself (we won't tell).
Credit Card Knife - VAT19 - Unique Gifts and Unusual Gift Ideas
Remember those bulky knives that were awkward as anything to carry around? Well, forget them. This 3-inch-blade, surgical steel utility knife folds out of a credit-card shape and is thin enough to nest in your wallet or back pocket. It's just 13 grams, but pulls way more than its weight in cutting strength.
The (Water) Drinker
Hydra SmartBottle - BulbHead - The Home of Bright Ideas
When was the last time your water bottle played your music, charged your devices, served as a lantern, and answered a phone call? Um, never? This incredible leak-proof bottle does all that and way more. Use it camping, at the beach, at the office -- anywhere you want to stay hydrated and make others seriously geek out (yourself included).
The Animal Lover
iFetch Too Ball Launcher - BulbHead - The Home of Bright Ideas
Keep Fido entertained with this inventive toy that projects balls up to 40 feet. Use it inside or out, and if you don't feel like loading the balls, the design lets your pooch do that part all on its own. Also available for small and medium-sized dogs.
Anybody Who Needs a Hand
Jibo Family Robot - The World's First Social Robot
Somewhere between R2-D2 and a live personal assistant, this little robot uses AI to take pictures, talk with you, give you reminders, and even teach. Designed to learn your preferences and adapt, he's not quite yet available for purchase, but you can join the waitlist on their site up.
The Fitness Buff
LED Smart Jump Rope - UncommonGoods - Cool and unusual gifts for any occasion
A welcome alternative to the usual cord between handles, this jump rope counts calories, jumps, and how long you've been working out. The sleek handles are oh-so-contemporary, and you'll fall in love with the fact this thing lights up as you sweat your way to awesome.
The Busy Watch-the-Clocker
QlockTwo Classic - UncommonGoods - Cool and unusual gifts for any occasion
Stop stressing as that annoying second hand ticks away like the Doomsday Mine canary. Rather than the typical hands and numbers, QlockTwo's apparently random matrix of 110 letters conceals all the words necessary to describe the time in five-minute intervals.
RocketBook Wave - BulbHead - The Home of Bright Ideas
Take advantage of the science that says old-school pen-and-paper note-taking helps you remember more. This innovative notebook saves all your handwritten notes to the cloud with a tap of the finger. All the pages full? Pop it in the microwave (yes, the microwave) to erase the pages and start again.
Smart Herb Garden - Click & Grow - The Kitchen Garden for Modern Life
This device allows you to grow fresh herbs right on your table or countertop, utilizing sensors and Smart Soil to give whatever you plant just the right amount of nutrients, water and other essentials. Just plug it in and you'll have what you need to season a gourmet dinner in no time!
The Snapshot Seeker
Smartphone Instant Photo Lab - UncommonGoods - Cool and unusual gifts for any occasion
Taste a bite of nostalgia with this easy-to-use instant photo printer that lets you create awesome analog Polaroid-style photo prints from your smartphone or tablet. Ideal for anybody who's addicted to modern tech but respects the beauty of retro-chic. The required app works with both Android and iOS.
The Holiday/All-Occasion Host(ess)
Star Shower Motion - BulbHead - The Home of Bright Ideas
Turn your property into the holiday display to see without pulling a Griswold. This weatherproof device projects laser lights over an area up to 3,200 feet, dazzling viewers with thousands of moving "stars." Great for the holidays, plus you can use it for indoor parties, BBQs, etc., too.
The Star Wars Fan
Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker - ThinkGeek - Unique Gifts That Stimulate the Imagination
The coolest breakfast waffle maker you've ever seen. Win battle against lack of sustenance in the morning it will. Make Death Star to eat with it, you must. Only dark side, real maple syrup or blueberries on top.
For the Modern Survivalist
VSSL Survival Kit Plus Flashlight - VAT19 - Unique Gifts and Unusual Gift Ideas
Flashlight as part of a survival kit? Nope. This LED flashlight is the survival kit. Containing nesting compartments, it holds valuable make-it-through tools like a compass, first-aid supplies, matches and an emergency whistle.