Everyone loves a geek — until you have to try to buy a gift for one. Nanotech? Been there. Bluetooth? Done that.
Never fear. FOXNews.com has dug up some ingenious gadgets for those who live on the bleeding edge of technology.
For the Gaming Geek
Nintendo's next-generation console is the season's hottest ticket in video gaming. The Wii — pronounced like "Whee!" — sports the most innovative gameplay of any home gaming system since, well, the original Nintendo Entertainment System debuted in 1985.
The Wii's motion-sensitive TV remote-like controller and "nunchuk" attachment can become just about anything in a player's hands: a baseball bat, a sword, a steering wheel or even a fishing rod.
Shipping is still ramping up, so you stand a decent chance of snagging a Wii in stores before the New Year, unlike Sony's scarce PlayStation 3.
Scrooges take note: The PS3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 end up costing about $600 to get all their bells and whistles, including the optional $200 HD DVD drive for the Xbox, but a fully functional Wii will only set you back about $250.
The Wii has 26 titles in stores this winter, but be sure to check out "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess," "Madden NFL '07" and the strangely addictive "Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz" to get a good feel for what this thing is capable of.
Nintendo also has a winner on its hands with the reasonably priced Nintendo DS Lite ($129), the sleeker upgraded version of its handheld game console.
The DS, however, is light years beyond the monochrome Game Boys of yesteryear. The system boasts two bright color displays, Wi-Fi connectivity and a touch-sensitive screen that responds to a stylus like a PDA.
You could spend your time rotting your brain with fun games such as "New Super Mario Brothers" or the wacky "Elite Beat Agents," but the DS Lite has a grown-up side, too.
"Brain Age," for example, promises to keep players' minds healthy through a daily regime of "brain-training activities" like speed-reading aloud, quickly solving math problems and drawing figures from memory.
Its sleek, iPod-esque design might come in handy, too. While you're desperately trying to crack the code of the high-speed marble puzzles in "Magnetica," your boss will think you're diligently scheduling your next work project on your Palm Pilot.
Loc8tion, Loc8tion, Loc8tion
Now that GPS systems are widely available in cars as both factory installs and aftermarket customizations, it seems that technology has finally answered the question, "How do I get there from here?"
Unfortunately, scientists hadn't gotten around to answering, "Where the heck are my keys?" — until now.
Meet the Loc8tor: finder of lost keys, rescuer of runaway dogs and minder of misplaced mobile phones.
Despite sounding like a rejected track name from an Avril Lavigne album, this $99 gadget is a godsend for the chronically absentminded.
The Loc8tor is a "Star Trek"-esque handheld device that bonds with up to 24 mini-RFID (radio-frequency ID) tags.
When you lose something that's attached to one of the tags, you simply slide the Loc8tor open and it will give you 3D directions to within inches of your missing item while the tag emits annoying chirps.
What happens if you lose the Loc8tor itself, you ask? Just set off the special "panic tag" and the handset will vibrate and beep.
If you lose the panic tag as well, you might want to invest in a pair of good walking shoes.
The Zune's wireless music-sharing capabilities and oversized screen for viewing movies certainly makes it an attractive gizmo, but savvy shoppers will hold off, at least until Microsoft's online media store offers movie downloads and expands its music library.
(If the geek in your life just has to have the latest iPod, we recommend the special-edition 8-gigabyte (PRODUCT) RED iPod Nano, with $10 of the purchase price going to fight AIDS in Africa.)
While Zuners and iPodoholics duke it out for leadership in the digital music game, one gadget-maker is taking tunes where nobody else has: underwater.
The SwiMP3 MP3 player is a funky looking rig that swimmers can strap on so they can listen to their favorite songs while doing laps. The device uses a technique called "bone conduction" to transmit vibrations through the cheekbones to the inner ear.
Because the SwiMP3 is produced by sports-training equipment maker Finis, it lacks much of the polish of the iPod. It only has an anemic 256 MB of built-in memory, but it produces clear sound even when completely submerged.
If you know a regular swimmer, this $150 device might be the gift he or she will lap up.
Eyes in the Skies
Digital cameras record a boatload of information every time you take a picture. Each photo is tagged with this metadata such as the date and time a photo was taken, the white balance and whether or not you used a flash.
But until recently, consumer-level cameras lacked the high-end global positioning system technology to automatically record where a picture was taken. That's all about to change with the Sony GPS-CS1.
The GPS-CS1 is about the size of an aspirin bottle and is equipped with a carabineer so it can be clipped onto a backpack or camera bag. It runs off of a single AA battery and records its location every 15 seconds.
Hooking the device into a PC allows you to sync the GPS data with the dates from the photos in your digital camera — just about any digital camera.
The pictures can then be ported in Google's Picasa photo-sharing service (or even a Flickr account with a little know-how), which can in turn tap into Google Earth's satellite mapping capabilities to produce a gorgeous "geotagged" map of your last photo safari.
The GPS-CS1 is the perfect gift for shutterbugs with faulty memories or wanderers who want to create stunning travelogues.
National Geographic, eat your heart out.
Mobile Phonaholics Anonymous
There are many of us who have had to suffer through a friend's or family member's battle with "CrackBerry" addiction.
As our loved ones are seduced by the promises of smartphones, push e-mail and T9 text messaging, we see them struggle through a long trail of discarded Treos, Motorola Qs and Sidekicks.
What hurts most is not the vacant stares they give you as they idly text random friends "OMG LOL, TXT ME BAK" during dinner — it's the fact that they walk around with heinous blue hunks of plastic strapped conspicuously to their belts as if they were cyborg cowboys looking for trouble in Silicon Valley.
You are not alone. And now there is help.
With Research In Motion's release of their latest and greatest smartphone, the BlackBerry Pearl, you will no longer have to watch those closest to you dress like they are running for class president of Nerd University.
The Pearl is a quad-band world phone — that means it'll probably work in Europe — which incorporates all the messaging and Web connectivity of the classic BlackBerry in a thin, sexy form. In fact, it's more like a candy-bar style phone than a PDA.
Unlike its all-business older brother, the 8700, the Pearl knows how to have fun, too. It has a built-in digital music player and a bright, high-resolution 2.25-inch screen that plays back video clips with almost no pixelation whatsoever.
To top it all off, the Pearl boasts an integrated 1.3-megapixel camera with a flash and 5X zoom. T-Mobile is offering the phone for about $200 with a one-year contract.
The Pearl is ideal for both gray-haired suits and teenybopper fashionistas. It fits comfortably in a pants pocket or purse.
But seriously, the belt thing has got to stop.
Hot Pants, Literally
Body heat was for Neanderthals. The modern outdoors enthusiast will appreciate Brookstone's Tri-Zone Heated Cargo Pants.
For $150, these fleece-lined khakis come equipped with specialty carbon-fiber heating coils that will warm your legs and backside with low-power infrared rays. Why Brookstone is calling these Tri-Zone rather than Dual-Zone pants is beyond us.
No respectable pair of self-heating pants would be complete without a remote control. This seems like it's just asking for mischief, so keep and eye on that remote.
The pants are lightweight, machine washable and rechargeable.
Beat the Geek
Finally, if you are buying a gift for the geek whose entourage of techno-toys is pushing the boundary of the amount of radiation any one person should be exposed to at a time, try giving him or her the low-tech 20Q Game from Radica.
This $10 ball is just a simple game of 20 questions, but you will swear this thing is reading your mind.
As long as you don't get too obscure — e.g. "the speed of light" or "a wart on Liza Minnelli's nose" — this devious little toy will get you every time.
If it asks you if you would like to play a "game of chess," however, head for the hills.