Gadgets and high-tech tools are essential parts of life as an engineer. Regardless of the field and industry you are in, you will always rely on technology to perform in the field. OEMs and tech brands understand this growing need for capable gadgets among engineers, because there are more gadgets to choose from on the market.
In this article, however, we are going to focus more on quirky and everyday gadgets that are great for engineers. They can be useful for work or just a lot of fun to play with; hey, us engineers need to have fun too, don’t we? Here are the top picks for you to consider.
Apple 11-inch iPad Pro
The 3rd generation iPad Pro, the 11-inch version, may seem overpriced at first, but it is actually a very capable tablet for engineers. We definitely have to acknowledge the fact that there are more engineering apps – even CAD apps – for iOS than other mobile platforms. You can seamlessly move files and documents via iCloud synchronization.
The support for Apple Pencil 2 is also invaluable. It is a lot more accurate – and less laggy – than the original Apple Pencil. You get a screen with a higher refresh rate for a truly smooth user experience. Even iOS looks appealing on the iPad Pro.
The 11-inch version is our favorite one because of its relatively compact size. Even with a protective case installed, the 11-inch iPad Pro is still comfortable to hold and use on the go. Yes, you still get a camera with the iPad, but that camera is useful mainly for when you are doing AR measurements or you need to scan documents and convert them into PDFs.
We haven’t even gotten to the upcoming release of iOS 13 yet. The new iPadOS – part of iOS 13 – brings a number of significant improvements to the iPad Pro, including support for remote display (for Mac users) and a more flexible home screen with widgets. If you are looking for a tablet for work, this is definitely the one to get.
There are a lot of great hubs for smart homes, but the 2nd generation Amazon Echo is an option worth looking into. It works really well as a hub, which means you can control other Echo-compatible smart devices around the house remotely. It also has an effective digital assistant – Alexa – to help you get the information you need or perform actions through voice commands.
We particularly love the speaker quality of the Echo. From the tunes you play to weather updates and information from Alexa, sounds coming from the Echo are clear and easy to the eyes. The Echo may not be enough to rival the better Bluetooth speakers on the market, but it is certainly more than enough for everyday use.
Besides, the signature blue ring around the Echo is incredibly cool in different lights. In a dim room, that blue ring light makes for a great source of mood lighting.
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
Yes, this next gadget is yet to be made available on the market, but it is coming soon, and we think it is too good to miss. The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, as the name suggests, is a laptop with two screens. What’s interesting is how well Asus implements the use of two screens to deliver an exceptional user experience.
The main screen is a 15-inch, bezel-less display with 4K resolution. It is an UHD OLED display, so you know colors will be crisp and UI elements will be easy on the eyes. The second display, known as the ScreenPad, also has 4K resolution. It extends across the top portion of the laptop, right above the keyboard for maximum comfort.
This laptop is great for engineers who love to multitask. Let’s say you are trying to get an online masters in electrical engineering while working a fulltime job – which is a possibility now that top universities like Michigan Tech are opening their online courses to more students – and you have a project to monitor. You can divide the two tasks between the dual-screen setup of the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo.
With select apps, the two screens are even more fluid. You can use your CAD software across both screens, with the tools placed on the bottom screen and a clear workspace on the top one. Working on the ZenBook Pro Duo is also easy thanks to the 9th-generation Intel i7 processor and NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX2060 powering this laptop.
Arduino Starter Kits
Tinkering and experimenting are two activities that engineers love to do the most, and Arduino – as a platform – is the perfect medium for them. It offers a lot of flexibility for those who want to try robotics and automation. Arduino starter kits are getting more and more advanced as the board gets more advanced.
You can build a fully-functional robotic arm with Arduino as the primary controller. There are kits with stepper motors, frames, and everything else you need to build your own robot arm. The available kits are also expandable, meaning you can combine multiple starter kits to create something truly unique or develop your own project.
Arduino starter kits are best paired with 3D printers, but here’s the interesting part: you can build your own 3D printer using Arduino. The platform can be tweaked for different applications and use cases, leaving you with a wide range of possibilities to explore. Once you try one or two Arduino projects with existing starter kits, you’ll want to explore further.
It is worth noting that there are alternative boards you can use to replace Arduino. If you want to move up to a more advanced project, you also have the option to develop your own board and play around with microcontrollers. It will be like going back to the days of school projects and experimenting with new things.