Solar technology to cook or grill your food is right here, right now.
SolSource Solar Cooker
$399; $499 with cover and grill pan
Solar technology to heat or power your home may not yet have come of age, but solar to cook or grill your food is right here, right now.
The SolSource Solar Cooker uses the sun to reach grilling and baking temperatures in just five minutes, boil water in 10 minutes or cook a steak in 20 minutes. All-in-all, the manufacturer claims SolSource works six times faster than a charcoal grill and can reach temperatures up to 750-degrees in a matter of minutes.
It's a simple gadget to use. You aim the SolSource 4-foot parabolic disc to reflect the sun's rays to a single spot in order to heat your skillet, pot or grill rack. The heat can cook foods in a variety of ways, including steam, BBQ, bake, boil, grill or fry. It will even make popcorn, smoke salmon or roast marshmallows.
This product needs to operate outside, but it fits easily in any size backyard or on a balcony, deck or rooftop.
SolSource is currently used by people in 18 countries-both developed and developing. You cook fuel-free-meaning no charcoal or propane needed-and produce zero emissions in the process. In case you're wondering, as I did, there is a user area where cooks stand to protect their eyes from UV radiation.
If being green-or making your friends green with gadget-envy-is the goal, the SolSource Solar Cooker can get the job done.
Focal Camera Case
If you're in the market for a case for your iPhone, Samsung smartphone, iPad Air or Microsoft Surface, check out Incipio. Since I use my iPhone 5 as much for its camera as I do for its phone, the Focal Camera Case was my gadget of choice.
This Bluetooth-enabled case, coupled with the free inCamera app (complete with a handful of editing features built-in), literally turns your smartphone into a point-and-click camera. The case has dedicated shutter and zoom buttons so errant fingers stay out of your shot. And since you no longer have to shoot photos by tapping the screen, the resulting photos tend to be in focus.
iTunes App Store
If you have an iPhone and an Apple TV (and if you don't . . . why the heck not?) you now have access to what may be a whole new form of gaming. Motion Tennis is ingenious, not to mention fun. The app turns your iPhone into a motion-based tennis game.
With the app running and your iPhone in AirPlay Mirroring mode, your smartphone becomes an ersatz racquet as you play tennis against the computer or a friend who also has the app and iPhone. Moving your phone allows you to simulate a forehand or backhand tennis shot on a court that is displayed on your TV screen. Gameplay can be simulated on a grass, clay or synthetic court. Motion Tennis is the first of what may be some very exciting gaming applications using the iPhone as a handheld Nintendo Wii-like controller.
Phil Pikelny is vice president of Dispatch Digital and chief marketing officer of The Dispatch Printing Company.