A very tiny flying machine by Kevin Ma et.al. at Harvard. A summary and the paper appears in Science.
A new fabrication process based on the principle of pop-up books made this microrobot possible, but don't expect to see it in stores any time soon. It takes 2 days to make a single RoboBee, and the tiny device still requires a tether to supply power and guidance for flight. "Getting all the sensors and power on board is definitely many years out," says Sarah Bergbreiter, a mechanical engineer at the University of Maryland, College Park, who was not involved in the work. Nonetheless, this new robot is "pretty fantastically cool," she adds.
Although thousands of insect species dart about with agility that puts stunt pilots to shame, most engineers have considered building a robotic fly an impossible task. You can't buy off-the-shelf parts for the body, and no existing power source, sensors, or controllers are small enough to fit on board. What's more, researchers don't even have a good grasp on how aerodynamic principles change on such small scales, so they can't precisely predict how delicate wing movements will alter flight. Yet 12 years ago, mechanical engineer Robert Wood, who is now at Harvard University, decided to embrace the challenge of building an insect-sized robot—in part to understand the flight mechanics of small flapping wings, and in part "because it was so hard," he recalls.
Fat tire bikes are taking off and better tires are emerging - something that should drive the niche. Not as wide as some, but on a city bike it could take out most of the bumps in the road. A guy around here has a fat tired bike with 100 mm wide tires, but I only see him riding it in the snow.
A niche that is only beginning to get tires and one that seems less likely to take off is the 36" tire bike. Most of them have fairly wide tires and are proportioned for people around six feet tall. This one is for people 6'6 and up .. titanium frame and not undoubtely spendy. It would be interesting to see someone make tires more suited for the road and touring and commuting styles.
The NetAtmo weather station has been around for awhile. I haven't played with one, but there is a review from The Register. It seems a bit spendy, unless you are really interested in your local weather.
In my mind the most useful part is CO2 monitoring as that turns out to be a good proxy for indoor air quality and some recent work shows that 1,000 ppm and possibly as low as 650 ppm causes a drop in mental acuity. Many office and school environments are well in excess of 1,000. If you are really interested in CO2 measurements, there are good enough monitors in the same price range, but anything under about $400 is limited to about 50ppm accuracy these days. 50ppm is good enough for simple office and home monitoring - more accurate meters might be useful to HVAC types who tune building airflows. When I worked at Bell Labs I was able to borrow a very nice (and expensive!) piece of kit for a day to make a case that my office air was bad so someone could work on it. I think it was good to about 10ppm and traceable to a standard. Beyond that (at least a decade ago) required more serious kit.
If a lot of people wanted these the prices could drop dramatically, but for the time being it seems unlikely. But if you wanted to tune up the effective IQ of the folks in your company getting one and properly balancing air flow may be very cost effective. The same for kids in school...