It's a light bulb and a flashlight
The power goes out, your lamp bulb pops on. You unscrew it from the socket, pull out the handle and use it as a flashlight. Ascella bills itself as the the first self-powered LED light bulb that does triple duty as a flashlight and emergency light. The rechargeable light has a battery back-up that lasts over three hours. The light (the equivalent of a 30-watt standard bulb) has a three-staged switch to allow you to operate it as a regular bulb, an emergency light and a flashlight. Ascella sells for $29.95 and is available at www.AscellaBulb.com. We checked out a sample, and some folks may just love it. Roland Wilkerson
Unlock your door's deadbolt with a smartphone app
How about a smartphone app to control your deadbolt door lock? Lockitron has designed a box that fits over your deadbolt and is controlled by your smart phone. Their pitch: “With Lockitron, you can instantly grant family, friends and guests access to your home or business from anywhere in the world using your Internet enabled smart phone.” This invention is so new you can't even get it yet. The company is taking advance orders for May 2013. The cost is $149. Check it out at www.lockitron.com. Roland Wilkerson
iPhone turns on your lights
Think old-school timer switch, but updated and connected to your iPhone.
WeMo can let you control home electronics from anywhere with a plug-in switch and an app on your iPhone. Just hook it up to your home wireless network. Add a motion sensor and someone's mere presence can control the item. The app is free.
Turn a light on before you walk into the house. Have a fan cut on when you walk into a room. Between the hardware and the app, you can use your imagination.
It works. But whether you want to pay the price is a decision you'll have to make. The switch retails for $49.99. Add the motion sensor and the pair is $99.99. You'll need several to control a lot of things in your home. Mark Hames
Solar power for your gadgets
Goal Zero finally brings harmony to tech-savvy nature lovers. The company's kits –available in small, medium and large – collect and store power, making it possible to run your gadgets in the great outdoors. The kits collect power either from an outlet (if you're planning ahead) or from the accompanying solar panel while you're out and about. Once it's charged, think of it as a portable wall outlet, because you can run everything from an mp3 player and a laptop to a television – even a 12-volt refrigerator. (And yes, recharging your smart phone is covered.) Prices vary by kit size, but start at $129.95. www.goalzero.com. Hilary Trenda
Tabletop outlet access
The PowerPod by Scott Wilson & Minimal is getting rave reviews and seems to be featured everywhere. The unit classes up the conventional “power strip” by providing tabletop access to six plugs (with surge suppression). A multi-tasker as well, the PowerPod comes with an accessory tray to cover the unit when it's not in use. Normally $99, the PowerPod is currently on sale for $84 at store.coalesse.com. HT
Flexibility for plug accommodation
Everyone's been there: The plug for your charger/computer/appliance is too big to fit in the already-crowded power strip. So what gets unplugged? Thanks to the Pivot Power Strip, nothing. The six-plug unit can be flexed and shaped to accommodate large plugs and conform to furniture contours. Also a surge protector, it's available in black or white. It's available at a number of online retailers; we found it for $29.99 at www.quirky.com Hilary Trenda