Best Gadgets for Preparing for a Visit From the Folks

By Features Editor

It’s always a joyful, totally stress-free experience when mom and dad come to visit their little scholar at school. No seriously, think about it: you get a bunch of tasty, free meals, your mom will probably force you to let her buy you stuff, and you can easily stretch the few things you remember learning in class into a couple of impressive conversations by now. The hard part is getting to that carefree fun, which means suffering through your mom’s freak-out about the condition of your living quarters, your dad’s incessant rumblings about tuition payments, and the general tag-teaming split second assessments about the state of your life. If you get past all that, your folks visit is a cake walk. Here’s some high tech tricks to bypass the familial shame and get straight to the carefree family fun zone.


That’s right ladies and gentleman, RoboScooper! Remember your aunt’s old Roomba vacuum robot, helplessly ping-ponging between chair legs, just begging to be set free in the lawn? That shit was so 20th Century. WowWee Robotics has created the next generation room-tidying cyborg slaves, and they are adorable. Roboscooper will zoom around you room on its six all-terrain wheels—badass!—and automatically pick up any stray object on lying around on the floor. Set Roboscooper loose and it uses sensors to detect your mess, then uses his awesome robot hands to pick it up and put it in his dump truck style rear end. This thing is like Rosie the Robot but without the sassy backtalk. So while you are busy shaving your half semester-long beard and rummaging around for that one clean shirt, Roboscooper will go right ahead and clear the floor of your tossed off gym shoes and Chemistry text books. By the time mom dukes blast through the door ready to take you down a peg, your room will be a pillar of respectable housekeeping, just like mom taught you.

Conserve Valet


This handy gizmo screams “you’ve raised a responsible, eco-conscious child!” Conserve products are power-outlet intermediates that limit the amount of energy you use to only what you need. The Conserve Valet is a slick little USB dock that charges up to four mobile devices at once, and shuts itself off automatically when power is no longer needed. Its surface pad keeps your stuff neat and in one place, so instead of having your chargeables strewn about your room, sucking juice from whatever outlet was nearest when they died, all your toys are safely stowed and ready to roll with you. Further coolness can be found with the Conserve Insight. The Insight’s outlet plug comes with a monitor that tells you how much energy you are using, the cost of that energy, and the exact shoe size of your Carbon footprint. We know what you're thinking: “What do I care about conserving energy, I’m not paying my dorm’s electric bill?” and to that we answer “Obviously college is the right place for you, because you need to learn a thing or two.” When you graduate you will be A) unemployed and B) responsible for paying your electric bill. You might as well start figuring out how to reduce your monthly payment now. Plus the Earth is precious, didn’t you know that? Either way, no one will be prouder to see you conserving energy than mom and pop. After all, they’ve been paying your electric bills for a while.

Line Snob and Urbanspoon Apps


These are pretty useful apps in general, but they can be your greatest ally in forging through a weekend of touring your folks around town. Normally you yourself wouldn’t necessarily mind waiting around to get in somewhere or eating mediocre food. But parents are impatient and picky, especially when traveling. Use Urbanspoon to find the cuisine your parents are in the mood for, at the price they want to pay for it, and within the distance they are willing to walk to get it. Double check the chances they’ll be disappointed with Urbanspoon’s reviews, compiled from the press and the apps own users. All of a sudden your parents are realizing that the fruit of their loins has wonderful taste, and an eye for sensible prices. Before you eat, frankly before you take your parents anywhere, peek at your Line Snob app to see if there is a wait time at your next destination that your weary folks just won’t be able to suffer through without giving you an earful. Follow these instructions, and when your parents finally go home, they’ll be so in awe of you, they’d never be able to imagine how much time you spend playing Xbox and not showering.