Posted April 13, 2006
I was convinced the Flameless Wax Sensor Candle was an idiotic idea—until I tried it. Somehow Brookstone, the gadget-happy retailer, has managed to make this new product eerily convincing. It helps that the exterior cylinder is actually made of wax—which come in scented (vanilla, "orange smoothie," etc.) and unscented varieties. But what's really cool about this thing is the hidden, geektastic circuitry that causes two yellow LED lights to flicker back and forth, totally erratically, creating the optical illusion (through the translucent wax) of real flame. The required four AA batteries last 100 hours (the bulbs themselves last 100,000 hours), and to turn the candle on or off, you just wave your hand over the top (there's a motion-detecting sensor tucked inside). Brookstone is marketing this candle to people with pets and small children—i.e., people in households where open flames are not a good idea—but anybody who wants some instant, economical (particularly if you use rechargeable batteries), hassle-free candlelight could group a few of these on a nightstand and not have to worry about burning the house down. The basic six-inch model is twenty bucks, but there are other heights and varieties available.
$20 at brookstone.com.