Cool Technology and Gadgets for Hot Summer Fun

New technology is rising to the occasion with answers to the unique tests of summer.


Slide Show: Cool Gadgets for Hot Summer Fun


[GPS capabilities are popping up in all sorts of devices that know where they are.]

Dunkable videocam. Small, simple-to-use videocameras have taken the market by storm, but most couldn't handle being in a storm. Now models are available that can even keep shooting underwater, perhaps as far as 10 feet down, where they can capture video at resolutions as high as an impressive 1080p. The camcorders also come with built-in USB connectors and software that make it easy to share the footage with friends and family over the Web at sites like YouTube and Facebook.

While less expensive, these video cameras don't come with zoom lenses or other features found on larger models. Some are less than $100, but waterproof models typically start at about $150. However, the extra cost not only buys added fun with underwater shots, it also offers insurance against the pain of a water-damaged gadgets.

Solar sounds. Slipping off to the beach means plenty of sun for summer fun, and for powering a growing selection of solar-energy speakers. Some models run for about $30 and can operate indefinitely off of their solar panels. They also connect via wires to the headphone jacks on media players and laptops. More expensive versions that start at about $100 might also stream the music wirelessly via a Bluetooth connection with a smartphone or media player.

Pricier models also come with built-in rechargeable batteries that can keep the music playing on a cloudy day. Their adapters will charge the batteries in an hour or two from a wall outlet, which can also be accomplished with a full-day's sun beaming onto their solar panels.