Electronic Gadgets

"Gadget" is a catch-all word these days for nifty devices. We've covered the basics, such as clocks & watches, plus delved into the world of present-day and future high-tech gadgets, such as digital jewelry and restaurant pagers.

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Fabric displays are revolutionizing the marketing and fashion industries. From furry TV to wearable computer systems, these displays are worth watching.

By Jonathan Strickland

Love the pitter-patter of tiny robotic feet? Need a way to stash your cash? Check out some of the latest Discovery gifts and gadgets that are at the top of everyone's wish list this holiday season.

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are part of a tracking system that uses intelligent bar codes to track items in a store. First used to monitor livestock, these devices now appear in countless stores across the country.

By Kevin Bonsor & Wesley Fenlon


Broadcast fax allows users to send faxes simultaneously to many recipients. Find out how broadcast fax programs work.

By Dave Roos

The demand for virtual reality gear is determined by its uses in the medical, military and entertainment markets. Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of devices like head-mounted displays.

By Jonathan Strickland

Virtual reality uses a computer to create a simulated three-dimensional world. Find out how virtual reality works and learn about the future of virtual reality.

By Jonathan Strickland

Noise-canceling headphones maximize your listening experience by removing ambient noise, all without sacrificing the sound quality of your music. But how do they do it?

By William Harris


Speech recognition technology allows people to compose documents and control their computers using their voice. It can be used in homes or businesses, for a variety of uses.

By Ed Grabianowski

For less than $100, you can get a pocket-sized gadget that will tell you exactly where you are on Earth at any moment. As long as you have a GPS receiver and a clear view of the sky, you'll never be lost again. Learn more!

By Marshall Brain & Tom Harris

If you lived through the 1980s, then you know it was an amazing decade. It seemed like every month some cool new technology came onto the market. See the most popular consumer products that made their mark.

By Marshall Brain

From rug-beating to vacuum-pushing . . . and now to hands-free floor care! The robotic vacuum has arrived in our homes from a Jetson-like future and may one day provide air purification and even internet connectivity. See the models currently available, check the prices and learn what the future may hold.

By Julia Layton


Faxing over email is a popular and convenient trend for many fax users. Learn more about faxing over email in this article.

Faxing over the internet has made it faster and easier to send and receive faxes. Check out this article for an explanation of how faxing over the internet works.

Paying for a fax machine and a phone line can be a major expense. But there are alternatives. Learn more in this article.

The trend in technology is to get more and more "connectivity" into smaller and smaller packages. Find out how it's possible to access news, weather, sports, stocks, horoscopes, e-mail and more from a wristwatch.

By Robert Valdes & Nathan Chandler


You can use it to watch TV shows and movies, listen to music and flip through digital photos -- all while sitting on an airplane. Learn all about the latest addition to the mobile-entertainment market.

By Eric Tucker

Clocks come in many different forms, from quartz watches to atomic clocks. Take a peek inside and learn what makes each kind tick.

By Marshall Brain

Gadgets are all the rage in our digital age, so much so that you probably consider some of them essential to your daily life. Which devices have made their mark?

By Nathan Chandler

Before the iPhone and other smartphones, there were PDAs such as the Palm Pilot. Learn about the PDA technology that paved the way to big-time computing power on the go.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D. & Carmen Carmack


How unique is your face? Learn how facial recognition systems can pick a face out of a crowd, extract it from the rest of the scene and compare it to a database of stored images.

By Kevin Bonsor & Ryan Johnson

Like the usual setting on the phasers used by Kirk and Spock, stun guns fall into the category of non-lethal weaponry. See how they incapacitate without causing permanent damage.

By Tom Harris

A digital picture frame is the perfect gadget for sharing digital photos with the computerless. Learn how these Internet appliances keep the technophobe in the loop.

By Karim Nice

Metal detectors can do more than just detect metal -- they can tell you the kind of metal it is and even how deep it's buried. Learn how these units pinpoint and identify their target.

By Jeff Tyson


Most of us instinctively think of darkness as a cloak, a way to hide. So, how can you see someone standing more than 200 yards away on a pitch-black night?

By Jeff Tyson

In the next wave of mobile computing devices, our jewelry might double as our cell phones, PDAs and GPS receivers. Get a look at these new microdevices.

By Kevin Bonsor