Hybridge is the technology partner for many of the top startups in Silicon Valley, so we see amazing apps and technologies every day.

But for this newsletter we thought we’d highlight a few cool tech gift ideas from outside Silicon Valley. All tried and tested by the Hybridge team.

Bosch laser measure (Germany)

A laser measure is a quick, simple, and astonishingly accurate way to measure distance. We use them every day when our startup clients are designing new offices in SoMa. Forget about trying to keep a steel tape measure straight, or holding them midway to measure 16’ at a time.
Our favorite laser measure is the Bosch GLM 20. It uses a laser and some very sophisticated optics and electronics to measure how long laser light takes to bounce off a surface, and then multiplies that by the speed of light to calculate how far away that surface is. If you think about the technology and precision necessary for this (Bosch has +/- 1/8” accuracy at 65’) it is absolutely incredible. And that this technology is available in a rugged, easy to use device for less than $50 is astounding.

Makeblock.com (China)

Meccano or Legos grown-up. These are incredibly well-crafted kits of aluminum beams, steel nuts and bolts, and various electronic components, all controlled by a well-integrated native Arduino or Scratch programming environment. We’ve tested and enjoyed several kits, notably the starter mBot v1.1, the mScara, and the LaserBot. With a little tech know-how, googling, and maybe a bit of Arduino board knowledge, these kits are a great parent-kid learning and exploration activity.

Flash USB drives (Korea/China)

You have heard the Hybridge mantra – any file you care about should be saved in at least three places. Previously that meant your laptop, the cloud, and a remote USB hard drive. Now USB Flash drives have plunged in cost, so these should be on your shopping list for anyone with files (work, photos, movies, resumes, business plans) they care about. A 256 GB flash drive is now less than $50, so load up any files you even remotely care about on them and put them in your safety deposit box or shoebox of choice. And give these flash drives to your friends, family, and co-workers to do the same. Hybridge’s favorite brands are PNY and SanDisk.

LIFX Z LED lighting strips (Australia)

LEDs by themselves are incredible, but pair them with intelligent web app control and you have an amazing capability for mood lighting, music or TV infill, or just fun effects. LIFX, the originator of the web controlled LED lightbulb, recently released LED Strips, which are even cooler than the light bulbs. Wrap them behind TVs, above cabinets, and behind closets or desks. Then control them from your phone for mood, color temperature, or bias lighting. A deal at below $100 for a 2-meter starter strip including a controller, LIFX Z is a great add-on for your Internet of Things lab.

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