Guy Gadgets for Father's Day

An iPod Flashlight, An MP3-Friendly Swiss Army Knife, and More Gifts Ideas


June 14, 2005 — Father's Day gifts don't have to be useful or expensive. What really counts is the "wow factor." Guys love gadgets.

If you just love frivolous applications of technology, here's a smattering of gift ideas to make your dad go gaga with wireless delight.

1. For Digital Rambos: The Geeky Swiss Army Knife
What kept the Swiss out of so many wars? The world-class ski slopes? Cuckoo clocks? No, it had to be the super-cool pocket knives, complete with nail file, scissors, corkscrew and tweezers. The latest Swiss Army Knife is just perfect for the on-the-go geek, featuring a built-in USB flash drive with up to 1 GB of memory.

Now, dad can easily tote computer files, digital images and MP3s with the same gadget he uses to clip his toenails.

The 2.4 inch knife weighs just 1.2 oz. and works with PCs or Macs. It's available from at prices that range from $55 to $180.

2. For iPod Enlightenment: iBeam
Your dad may take his iPod everywhere, but he's not going to get very far if he keeps losing his car keys. Now, Griffin Technologies has introduced the iBeam, a mini-flashlight accessory for your iPod. This $20 gizmo plugs into the iPod's headphone jack and can hook onto a key chain when not in use. Of course, if you lose your keys, you'll have to look for your iBeam in the dark.

3. For a Man Who Needs Juicing Up: The Solar-Powered Jacket
Here's a gift your Dad and his cell phone will both get a charge out of — a jacket with solar paneling to energize all his electronic devices.

SCOTTeVEST's $200 Fintex windbreaker features a patented system that conceals wires through the jacket's network of 30 pockets. Many of the pockets are hidden and extra-deep, with USB adapters attached to the fabric so you can plug in all of your portable electronics without feeling like a two-legged Radio Shack.

For an extra $225, you get SCOTTeVEST's detachable solar panel. It fits on the back of the jacket and charges batteries via a USB cable. I can only assume that later editions will convert the vest pocket into a mini microwave oven.

Whether or not you need a SCOTTeVEST jacket, if you wear it on vacation, I'd suggest arriving a month early, so you have time to pass through airport security.