What the Tech: Gifts Your Friends Haven’t Heard Of

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Everyone has someone on their Christmas shopping list who is hard to buy for. Usually, that’s because they’re either not interested in a lot of things or they already have almost everything they want. Well, I bet they don’t have any of these tech gadgets I’ve run across the past couple of years.

One of the most talked-about gadgets is a new-age version of a very old game. The Square Off chess set is part classic board game and part, Harry Potter. The Square Off chess set is a very attractive chess board made of mahogany that looks good sitting on a side table. You can play chess in the traditional way with two people sitting across from each other, or play with someone from somewhere else in the world.

Connected to the Square Off app, your opponent uses another Square Off chess set or with the Square Off app. As they move their pieces virtually, on your board their piece magically moves to a new square. If you’ve seen the recent film “Ghostbusters Afterlife” it’s a lot like the game the young girl plays with a ghost after moving into her grandfather’s house.

If your opponent captures one of your game pieces, it magically moves off the board before their piece captures you. It’s definitely a statement piece and definitely something everyone will talk about. The Square Off chess set is around $400 during the holidays.

You’ve heard a lot about NFT’s or non-fungible tokens this year. Digital art that is selling for millions of dollars at auction. Few people fully understand how NFT’s work or how they’re displayed. Infinite Objects is a company that prints digital video or GIFS, that are similar to NFT artwork.

Yes, it’s a printed video. If you need a moment to wrap your head around that, here’s how it looks: The art moves in the same way you see in GIFs, lasting only a few seconds before looping back to the start.

Infinite Objects digital art is either one-of-a-kind, limited editions or you can have them print your own short video. It’s really hard to describe it without seeing one.

An Infinite Object art display is framed and does not need to be connected to a computer, the internet, or an external hard drive of any sort. They have a battery inside or you can plug it into the wall. The art does not need to be turned on and runs continuously. Imagine any painting on your wall that comes alive with movement. A small Infinite Object is around $300.

When COVID first hit the United States there was a huge interest in sanitizing everything we touch. Alcohol wipes kill most germs but a device called “Phone Soap” is said to kill up to 99.9% of bacteria by using UV light.

Phone Soap is a little larger than a smartphone. To disinfect a phone, just place it in the device. The UV light shines on all sides of the phone, zapping the bacteria dead. You can also use the device to kill bacteria found on car keys or anything else that fits in the case. Phone Soap also has a space for a cable so you can charge your phone while it’s being disinfected. It’s perfectly safe for phones and objects but careful not to look at the light as it zaps the phone.

AirCandy offers unique inflatable chairs for kids and adults. The Light Up Chair is controlled by a smartphone app to change colors in the clear inflatable chair. The lights can be programmed so that once it is turned on, the lights flash through a sequence of color. It’s large enough for adults or two children. I also discovered that the AirCandy chairs float for use in a swimming pool.