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Weird but super useful tech gadgets

I seem to be someone who buys things on the off chance that they will be useful at some point down the road. While there are many times when it doesn't feel like this pays off, some of the weird gadgets that I've picked up ended up being super useful, and have become part of the kit I use.

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Topic: Hardware
OptiVISOR
1 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

OptiVISOR

See it now: OptiVISOR on Amazon

The Donegan OptiVISOR is a hands-free, headband binocular magnifier that's super useful when your eyes are just not what they used to be. (Well, mine have never been awesome, so I've used one of these for years.)

I like the brand because there are loads of different lenses available, along with loupes and even lights.

Nitecore VCL10 multifunctional car gadget
2 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Nitecore VCL10 multifunctional car gadget

See it now: Nitecore VCL10

The Nitecore VCL10 is a multifunctional car gadget, incorporating:

- a 2.4A QC 2.0 and 3.0 compatible USB charger

- stainless steel glass breaker

- emergency and warning light

Designed to slot into the cigarette lighter adapter, the Nitecore VCL10 is extremely compact and easy to keep to hand.

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3 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Swiss-Tech Utili-Key 6-in-1

See it now: Swiss-Tech on Amazon

The Swiss-Tech Utili-Key 6-in-1 is the smallest multitool that I've owned, not much bigger than a key. I have one attached to my car keys, house keys, and I have a couple in the office, and I'm surprised how often I turn to them.

It features:

- Flat screwdriver

- Phillips screwdriver

- Micro-sized screwdriver (perfect for eyeglasses)

- Straight blade knife

- Serrated blade knife

- Bottle opener

Lume Cube Air
4 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Lume Cube Air

See it now: Lume Cube Air

At first I couldn't imagine why I needed a Bluetooth-enabled LED light that I could use via an app as a flash for my smartphone.

Then I tried the Lume Cube Air and realized just how superior it was to the built-in flash on my iPhone, especially for video, but also for photography that needed a little bit more lighting than the flash could handle.

I especially like the fact that the Lume Cube Air is durable and waterproof, and on a full charge it is good for a good 2.5 hours. The daylight LED also offers what feels like super natural lighting, and each Lume Cube Air is kitted out with a tripod attachment and a magnet.

DS212 2-channel pocket oscilloscope
5 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

DS212 2-channel pocket oscilloscope

See it now:DS212 on Amazon

Smaller than an iPhone, the DS212 at first looks like a bit of a toy, but it is in fact a very decent 2-channel oscilloscope that is handy for diagnosing problems with low-voltage electrical gadgets (good up to 40 Volts).

Instructions are a bit scant, so getting to know how to use it can be a bit of an adventure -- Google is your friend -- but once you have the basics down, it is pretty straightforward.

These can be found all over Amazon from a variety of sellers priced at around the $110 mark.

Good bit of kit.

Pitaka MagWallet UE
6 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Pitaka MagWallet UE

See it now: Pitaka on Amazon

Leather wallets really don't last very long with me, so I was keen to see how the switch to a carbon fiber wallet would work. Quite well, is the answer to that question.

The Pitaka MagWallet UE is rugged and durable, yet smart, and features a built-in anti-RFID and anti-degaussing technology to keep cards safe.

And importantly for a wallet, it's quick and easy to use, and doesn't flap open and dump your stuff everywhere like a traditional wallet.

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7 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Fiberglass Scratch Brush

See it now: Fiberglass Scratch Brush on Amazon

Seems like a simple thing, but this really has become a staple repair tool for me. This is the perfect tool for removing corrosion, especially in electrical terminals that have corroded as a result of leaky batteries. 

There are also versions that make use of steel or brass bristles, which are effective at removing corrosion, but I don't like to use a material that is electrically conductive.

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8 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Magnetic Wristband

See it now: Magnetic Wristband on Amazon

Sometimes when I'm working on something where I'm having to swap tools regularly, or have lots of different fasteners and parts to assemble, I find that a magnetic wristband is the perfect solution. 

I find it great for screws, nuts, drill bits, bolts, nails and washers.

USB rechargeable AA/AAA lithium batteries
9 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

USB rechargeable AA/AAA lithium batteries

See it now: USB rechargeable batteries on Amazon

The name is pretty self-explanatory, and these USB rechargeable AA and AAA batteries are super-useful in things like computer peripherals or remote controls. Just make sure someone doesn't toss the dead ones in the recycling!

Koogeek rechargeable EMS smart massager
10 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Koogeek rechargeable EMS smart massager

See it now: Koogeek

I work out quite a bit, and at my age, aches and pains are normal. I find that I get a lot of relief out of using electrical muscle stimulation to relax tired muscles and work out the knots and kinks.

The Koogeek rechargeable EMS smart massager is a wireless electrical muscle stimulator can relax muscles, reduce fatigue, and relieve muscle pain. At first it looks like a toy, but I love how small and compact this gadget is, and that I can recharge it from any microUSB output. And it works very well.

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