NEW YORK -- It's been a brutal winter in many parts of the nation so far - and we still have two months to go.
So if that knit cap and those well-worn gloves just aren't doing the job for you this year, you might consider letting technology lend a helping hand!
On "The Early Show" Tuesday, Brett Larson, host of DirecTV's "Killer Apps," showcased some very cool tech items to help keep you warm - from head-to-toe!
Each product is followed by Brett's take, then descriptions provided by the manufacturer or retailer:
Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket Double Extra Large $119
Available on Amazon.com
Brett: "Forget bulky jackets and multiple layers to stay warm, check out the Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket. A battery provides 6 hours of warmth in a stylish, lightweight and flexible jacket. It's also water and wind resistant so you can take it to the slopes or to the park for a dog walk and stay warm all the while."
Powered by the revolutionary M12 RED LITHIUM battery, the M12 Cordless Heated Jacket delivers unparalleled comfort to users on and off the job site. This multi layered soft shell jacket utilizes new cold weather technology to actively warm the body and stimulate blood circulation. Three sewn in carbon fiber heating zones distribute heat to core body areas, with a stylish performance-fit that gives users maximum flexibility and comfort during use. The 2331 M12 Heated Jacket features three heat settings, for varying heat needs and is water and wind resistant for a variety of weather conditions. Ideal for cold job site conditions and cold outdoor sports and activities, the M12 Heated Jacket delivers continuous heat for up to 6 hours per battery charge.
The Unparka $80
Available on Hammacher.com
Brett: "Another warm one, the Unparka takes advantage of your body's ability to warm up -- and keeps the heat inside a double layer of fleece and polyurethane. That will block wind, water and snow from getting in but let your body moisture get out. You can also unzip the sleeves and wear it as a vest."
This is the jacket that provides warmth in temperatures as cold as -40º F without the restrictive bulk of a heavier parka. The jacket owes its exceptional warmth to its unique construction -- a double layer of fleece bonded with a polyurethane layer that retains the body's heat while blocking wind, water, and snow. It allows the body's moisture to escape, keeping skin dry and warm for optimal comfort. Its lightweight construction also permits nimble movements that are otherwise impossible while wearing a heavy parka, ideal for recreating or working in cold weather. Both sleeves unzip to provide use as a vest. Three zippered pockets -- two at the waist and one at the chest -- secure valuables. The elastic cuffs, drawstring waist, and high collar lock out the cold for complete comfort.
Wonder Warmers $18 for 2
Available at CGets.com
Brett: "Tuck the Wonder Warmers away in your gloves, hat or scarf for up to 2 hours of heat. Simply press a metal disk and the liquid will crystallize and create heat from a chemical reaction. Reusable over 100 times, you just boil it to recharge it. And the contents are non-toxic."
Wonder Warmers - Multi Use Hand Warmers are reusable up to 100 times so you can use them daily to defend against the cold along with your gloves, hat and scarf. Once the metal disk in a Wonder Warmer is pressed, the liquid in the pad crystallizes in a chemical reaction that is fascinating to watch and generates heat for 30 minutes to over 2 hours depending on the pad's size, construction, and insulation, and the temperature outside. The pad is "recharged" by boiling it for approx. 5 - 12 minutes (i.e. Until all of the crystals melt back into their original liquid state). If all of the crystals are not melted, the pad will activate on its own as it cools. The activation and recharging of a pad can be repeated a virtually unlimited number of times, provided the pad's pouch is not damaged. Although the pad will not work if the pouch is damaged, its contents pose no threat as they are common non-toxic food additives.
Freehands Tech-Tip Gloves $24 to $35
Available at FreeHands.com
Brett: Fearful your fingers will freeze before you can get an important email, web information or answer a call? Try the freehand tech tip gloves. They have silver-nylon tips on the forefinger and thumb that works with touch screens that await your touch."
Waterproof, triple-layer liner features conductive silver-nylon tips on the thumb and forefinger and works with any touch-screen device. (There's a newer five finger tech-tip model as well.)
Tooks Hats $28 - $30 (with headphones)
Available at TooksHats.com
Brett: "Enjoy your tunes and keep your ears warm with Tooks. The hat features headphones -- so plug in, rock out and stay warm."
Tooks Hats feature built-in headphones! Tooks were born in the spirit of winter sports but can be used for just about any activity. Whether you're out walking, jogging, biking, snow riding, or just hanging around the house, Tooks make the perfect companion to your MP3 or other favorite media player.
Heated Scarf $35
Available at BlazeWearUSA.com
Brett: "Protecting your neck to stay warm is easier with the heated scarf. Battery operated, a small box inside a pocket will keep the scarf warm, and more importantly, you."
This is a battery operated wrap around heated scarf. Here is a unique and wonderful way to keep warm and cozy on a cold day. It heats the back of the neck to give a feeling of real warmth and can be pulled up at the front to keep the face warm. The battery box sits in a small inside pocket.
12-Hour Heated Socks $25
Available at Hammacher.com
Brett: "You can wear almost any shoe and keep your toes warm with Thermostat socks. A battery-powered heating element in the padded area of each toe will keep you warm without overheating. The socks will 'run' for 10-12 hours depending on how cold your feet get. They do require two D batteries."
Even in the most bitter cold, these heated wool and Thermostat socks provide soothing warmth. Thermostat is made from hollow-core fibers that trap air while moving moisture away from skin. A battery-powered heating element in the padded area of each toe has low and high settings and won't overheat. The low-amperage element is so thin as to be undetectable. Socks run 12 hours on low and 10 hours on high setting. Gray. Requires two D batteries.
Heated Mouse $30
Available at HeatedMouse.com
Brett: "Your computer can be a little warmer to you in the morning with the Heated Mouse. The Warm Mouse can help keep your hand warmer while you work and also help with stressed muscles. There's a high and low heat setting so you can make it as comfortable as you need."
Tired of a painful, cold mouse hand and aching fingers? Does your mouse hand get cold making your fingers numb? Do you feel the cold hand pain in muscles and joints? Infrared heated computer mouse may be the solution you've been looking for! The new & improved ValueRays Warm Mouse I helps soothe chronic cold mouse hand and heal stressed muscles and joints by using radiant infrared heat rays. The Heated Mouse is for both left and right handed users. It is ergonomically shaped and fits comfortably in hand. The gray color has high-tech appeal. This heated mouse has a new and improved on/off switch with Low to High heat settings. Slide the heat control switch to your comfort level. The ValueRays Heated Mouse is the best available.
USB Heated Shawl $25
Available at CGets.com
Brett: "Wrap yourself in the warmth of your USB connection, with the USB Cozy Warming Blanket. Just plug it into an available USB port on your laptop or desktop and it will keep you warm in a chilly office or while you lay on the couch."
Is your office cold in the morning? Or worse, all day long? Well the USB Cozy Warming Blanket is your answer. Just plug the USB blanket into your USB port on your laptop or desktop computer you can use it as a heated blanket on your legs or place it around your shoulders as a heated shawl. If you wear it as a shawl it even has a button to hold it in place around your shoulders while you work. It can also be used as a heated blanket for your back, just fold it up and place it at your back or on the back of your chair.
Vornado Heaters $40 to $200
Available at Vornado.com
Brett: "Vornado heaters use a technology that circulates heat around a space, warming up the room quickly. They're cool to the touch so you don't have to worry about accidentally burning yourself and come in a variety of models. The VH101 is perfect for your desk at the office and the TVH600 is the high end model which remote control and touch screen."
VH101 Personal Vortex Heater - $39.99 - circulates heat around your personal space, sized for desktop, tabletop, or under desk use. Keeps you plenty warm at the office without taking up much space. Much more powerful than you would first expect given its small size. Safety tip over switch. PVH Whole Room Heater - Priced at $59.99, it brings Vornado's whole room heat circulation capability at a very attractive price point, in a stylish flat panel look. TVH600 Whole Room Heater - $199.99 - Provides whole room heat, Auto climate control, Energy saving timer. This top end model features a simple to use touch-screen control and a remote control that senses the temperature in the room - and regulates the heater based on the temperature where you (and the remote) are, not where the heater is located.
Trane ComfortLink Remote Thermostat & ComfortLink II Thermostat -- Prices vary
Brett: "If you want to experience the future of heating your home right now, look no further than Trane. Remote Thermostat which is already available allows you to change temperature settings from anywhere in the world directly over the internet. And, their newest model, the Trane ComfortLink II is an award winning piece of technology that resembles an iPad and allows you to control all temperature variables through its touch screen technology. You can check out the indoor humidity, individual room temperatures -- . the Comfortlink II does it all."
Trane ComfortLink Remote Thermostat- Adjust the temperature remotely from most web-enabled cell phones or computers to arrive home to your ideal environment. Place your Trane Comfort System into an energy savings mode from anywhere in the world to reduce your utility costs while away. Receive text and email alerts for filter changes and maintenance reminders before the heating or cooling season begins. Program temperatures for up to seven days, with four settings per day for personalized home comfort. Trane ComfortLink II Thermostat- the winner of the Popular Mechanics 2010 Breakthrough Award and an International Consumer Electronic Show (CES) Best of Innovations 2011 Award Honoree. Notes about the Trane ComfortLink II Thermostat: A personal computer application allows homeowners with a wireless router to control comfort from any room in the house. Homeowners are able to program as much information as they want to see on their thermostat, including the status of their indoor air quality, humidity and individual room temperatures.
If you're on-the0go
Viper SmartStart Complete $399
Available at Viper.com
Brett: "The Viper SmartStart is a great piece of technology that works on any Blackberry, iPhone or smart phone. Once you install the main sensor in your car, it enables you to access your car right from your phone and turn on the ignition from a distance (even across the country!) to get your heat rolling. There's no need to get into a cold car ever again!"
Are you tired of carrying around another clunky remote control on your key ring or finding yourself out of range when you really need to warm up or cool down your car before getting in? Now you can remote start or lock and unlock your car just by pushing a button on your BlackBerry smart phone, iPhone, etc. using the popular Viper SmartStart app from Directed Electronics, the leader in vehicle security and remote start. If you already have a Viper system on your car, you can add SmartStart for $299. You can buy a complete Viper SmartStart remote start system starting at $399. Secure service plan is $49.99 per year.