Gadgets: ChillSpot helps pets keep cool

From the August 9, 2012 edition

Columbus has already suffered through too many days with temperatures in the 90s, but we still have most of the dog days of summer ahead of us. What’s that favorite animal of yours to do as he tries to beat the heat?

If you’re Uga (the University of Georgia bulldog mascot), or one of the pandas at Zoo Atlanta, you lie around on a ChillSpot ($69, This gadget is made to mimic the cool relief of a tile floor, where many pets go when trying to cool off.

The ChillSpot is portable. It measures 2 feet by 3 feet. The animal actually lies on a pair of powder-coated aluminum tiles — embedded with four “ChillPods” that you freeze overnight — for all-day relief. This product works on the principles of thermodynamics and requires no electricity or batteries.

There are certainly cheaper gadgets on the market designed to help your panting animal find respite from the heat, but none is as effective or as long-lasting as the ChillSpot.

Ever wish you had a back-up camera in your vehicle to see what’s behind you when you’re in reverse? Now you can purchase an add-on back-up camera system ($140,

The best thing about installing this gadget: No wires are involved. The camera mounts to your rear license plate and also has night vision ability so you can see behind you when light is at a premium. The monitor sits on your dashboard. This aftermarket product comes with a 90-day free trial.

There are very expensive 3D printers around that can create hard plastic objects by scanning in a design of that product. HP, the computer/printer company, has created the TopShot LaserJet Pro M275 Printer ($324, The printer lets you scan, copy and print like any regular printer, but can also produce a 3D digital scan (actually six different images that are digitally combined to create a 3D graphic) that can then be shared online in all of its multidimensional glory.