What new gadgets await us next year

With built-in cellular and Wi-Fi access, the Kanega P.E.R.S (Personal Emergency Response Systems) smartwatch for seniors won’t require tethering to a smartphone. Its monthly fee will cover cellular service, medical alerts and operator call-back for falls panic and dementiarelated confusion, and GPS for getting people home safely via step-by-step instructions. The Kanega is voice-activated for hands-free use, does medication reminders, and solicits selfreporting. Users can say, “Did I take my meds at noon?” and the watch will scroll back to check. It responds to affectionate monikers, too. The Senstone, being crowdfunded on Kickstarter at this writing, is a small, wearable voice recorder that lets you record quick voice notes (or any nearby audio) by pressing a button. The LEDs glow in a starburst pattern and flash as it captures sound. We previewed it and found that it’s surprisingly well designed and functional for early hardware and software. The company plans to integrate some intriguing AI-based features, too. The Basslet portable subwoofer straps onto your wrist so you can literally feel the music. Using haptic technology, Basslet creates a physical experience: The proprietary LoSound engine recreates bass frequencies from 10 Hz to 250 Hz in high fidelity, and sends them directly to your body. This smart-home controller installs right into the space where a light-switch would normally go, and you can use it via voice or touch. Yes, you can dim your lights and turn them on or off—and it’s compatible with Home, Nest, and other smart-home systems, so you can control those devices if you have them. And it incorporates Amazon Alexa Voice Services, so it can stand in for an Echo or Dot. Been to the Uncanny Valley lately? Now you can find Einstein there. Hanson Robotics claims the eerily lifelike Professor Einstein is everything you ever wanted in a personal robot—assuming that you want a robot that can hold an enlightened conversation with you, teach you all kinds of great science-y stuff, help you keep your schedule organized, and even give your brain a workout with challenging puzzles and games.