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What the Tech: The robots (really!) for that techie on your list who has everything

Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 1:09 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2021 at 5:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - I suppose everyone has someone on their gift list who’s hard to buy for. If they love gadgets they may already have doorbell cameras, earbuds, tablets, TV streaming devices, and everything else you think they might want. What on Earth do they need?

Here are a few of my favorite gadgets that I guarantee they don’t already have (probably).

My daughter’s cat is now our family cat and when she first brought it home all I could think of was what a pain the litter box was going to be. They’re smelly and need to be cleaned every day. Scooping and emptying and bagging is not a fun job.

I found that a robot can do the job for us.

The Litter-Robot is one of the greatest inventions for cat owners ever. It does the dirty work for you.

Here’s how it works: when the cat needs to do its business, it walks into the Litter-Robot which is shaped like a futuristic egg. It is a little large so you’ll need to find a good place for it where it doesn’t get in the way but where the cat can find it easily.

So the cat climbs into a fresh even layer of kitty litter. Once it does its business and hops out, the robot senses what just happened and gives the cat plenty of time to walk away. After a few seconds, the Litter-Robot begins the cleaning process which happens by rotating the unit.

As it rotates, any remaining clean litter is dumped into a compartment while the clumps dump into the base inside a plastic bag.

Once that step is complete, the Litter-Robot rotates again, dumping the clean litter back into the egg-shaped litter box. It rotates a little past even and then back again so the fresh litter is leveled off for the next potty break.

After a few days or even a couple of weeks depending on how many cats are using the robot, you simply pull out a drawer in the base where all the clumps are gathered in the plastic bag.

You can purchase Litter-Robot bags but we just use the short kitchen trash bags you can buy in any store.

Close up the bag and replace it with another. That’s it. Not only is it more convenient, but the litter also lasts much longer since it’s being cleaned after every use.

The Litter-Robot is $569 which is expensive but if you’ve ever had to clean a litter box every day, it’s a good investment. The cat owner on your list will never stop thanking you.

Robot vacuum cleaners were the first robots for the home when iRobot introduced the Roomba several years ago. I doubted these things actually cleaned the floors like the good old-fashioned vacuum cleaners we all grew up with. I was wrong.

The Eufy 30C by Anker does a great job cleaning hardwood, tile, and carpeted floors of dirt and dust and even pet hair.

These robot vacuum cleaners work with Alexa and over time they learn the layout of the home.

You can schedule cleanings for when no one is around or just ask Alexa to “start cleaning.” If you have multi-floors in the home the Eufy and others will sense stairs so they don’t go tumbling down. Some robot vacuum cleaners also mop and some have a self-emptying feature.

Robo Vacuum cleaners range in price from $190-$600.

If there’s someone on your list who enjoys the kitchen, take a look at the Aero-Garden self-watering herb gardens. I purchased one of these gardens about 5 years ago on a Black Friday sale.

The Aero-Garden uses seed pods that come with the kit but you can also purchase other pods with different herbs and plants or fill empty pods with seeds of your choice.

The AeroGarden Harvest unit comes with seed pods for Italian, Savory, Basil, Mint, Oregano, and Thyme. An attached LED light turns on and off automatically and the plants are watered from the bottom. All you need to do is keep the water reservoir filled and drop a couple of cap-fuls of plant food into the reservoir every week or so.

Herbs grow super fast and I’ve found the need to harvest or clip the herbs every few days. The AeroGarden Harvest kit includes 6 pods that can be grown at the same time. The basic AeroGarden is $90 on Amazon right now.

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