August 20, 2015 6:30 AM EDT Been thinking about turning your house into a personal Fort Knox? If so, now’s your chance. A growing number of companies are offering cameras and sensors with features that exploit superfast broadband, better video quality and cloud computing to provide unprecedented home security. The Internet of things also empowers them to talk to your smartphone–and to one another–so that you can get a notification if something is amiss and, if necessary, call the police or have a look for yourself.
Of course, all these new lenses raise privacy concerns. Several websites allow visitors unfettered access to thousands of unsecured cameras, while hackers continue to prove that anything connected to the web can be compromised. But those worries aren’t slowing sales. Market-research firm Parks Associates says shipments of smart-home devices, cameras included, will grow more than 44% over the next two years in the U.S.
Top 10 Tech Product Designs of 2014 Nest
Acquired by Google in Jan. 2014, Nest Labs wants to turn your home into a smart device. The home automation system includes Internet-connected smoke detectors and thermostats, which have screens and chic, round designs — a huge design boost for devices that haven't really changed in recent decades. Aya Brackett—Nest DJI Inspire 1
The latest DJI quadcopter retains the simple style that's made their drones so popular, but adds 4K video capability — and the ability to transmit the HD video wirelessly to an on-the-ground devices. A new ground-facing camera also allows Inspire 1 to fly steadily to keep the video footage clean. DJI iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
Bigger is better, or so the critics cried, calling for Apple to make a supersized phone. That was before Apple quieted them with the release of the iPhone 6 Plus in September, the company’s largest iPhone ever. With an alluring 5.5-inch display that makes it feel something like a portable iPad, the phone is is a challenge to Samsung’s larger models. Along with a powerful 8-megapixel camera and longer battery life, the phone is more a statement than an answer. Apple Osmo Tangram
Tired of seeing your kids staring at screens like zombies? This iPad game brings virtual play to life. A reflector equipped with artificial intelligence snaps over your iPad's camera and can sense when objects are moving (or being drawn) on a pad in front of it. Osmo comes with three games, all of which promote creativity and—because it’s best played in groups—social intelligence. The best way to understand how Osmo works is by watching the video of kids who have never played with the device before testing it out for the first time. Osmo Tesla 2014 Model S
Tesla 2014 Model S has been praised both for its luxury feel and high-tech interior. The electric car offers instantaneous acceleration from a stop, a function very few other cars on the market provide. Tesla Jawbone's UP3 Wristband
Depending on your view, Jawbone is on the road to making us all super fit athletes or brutally efficient cyborgs who operate by data alone. How many minutes of REM sleep did I get last night? What’s the difference between my heart rate while resting and during a workout? How hydrated am I? How many calories did I burn on my last run? Jawbone UP3 answers all those questions better than any other Jawbone did before. The $179 wearable fits on your wrist and comes in black and silver. Jawbone Square Stand
The iPad holder and credit card reader launched last year with the goal of transforming an iPad into a point-of-sale. The sleek, white stand also offers an enhanced credit card reader, and can be adapted to include a cash register. Square Nerf Rebelle Rapid Red Blaster
Last year, Nerf decided to even the battlefield and create a new line of guns, arrows and crossbows specifically for girls. The resulting Nerf Rebelle line takes a cue from the success of The Hunger Games: The box is covered with tweens styled like that series' hero, Katniss Everdeen. Hasbro Oculus Rift Crescent Bay
The latest Oculus Rift prototype, Crescent Bay, marks one step further before the commercial release of the virtual reality handset. Crescent Bay features upgrades like 360-degree head tracking, a lighter weight, and high-quality audio. Lucky participants in the demos recalled the mind-boggling immersion in the scenes they were watching. The consumer version, Oculus Rift, is expected to launch as early as April 2015. Oculus VR Qualcomm WiPower
Sick of tangled phone charging cables? Qualcomm WiPower allows you to power up your phone without plugging it in — a function that, to most people, is basically magic. The wireless charging pad eliminates the fuss of power chords, while also allowing you to turn everyday furniture like tables and chairs into charging surfaces. Qualcomm More Must-Reads From TIME Meet the 2024 Women of the Year Greta Gerwig's Next Big Swing East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap Long COVID Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Does Column: The New Antisemitism The Best Romantic Comedies to Watch on Netflix Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time