10 Gadgets That Help Your Love Life

Wish there was a handy service, gadget, or app that would solve all your romantic problems? Look no further! This carefully cultivated list has you covered — even if you just started seeing someone.

By Laura Schaefer

e've all heard the standard advice: relationships take work; it's all about communication, blah, blah, blah. But what if what you and your amour really need is the latest gadget or technological tool to make your love life superb? Hey, it's not so far-fetched! Here are 10 little items that can help your love life — stat:

1. The LARK wristband sleep sensor.
It's no fun when your partner has to get up before you do and hits the snooze button six times in a row. No one wants their last half-hour of precious
Sharing Google calendars with my wife has been a real relationship-saver.
dreamtime to be interrupted by intermittent morning DJ chatter. Now, there's a solution to this annoyance. "LARK is a silent alarm, sleep sensor and sleep coach that's a relationship lifesaver," says Julia Stemerman Benguigui, a manager at Inner Circle Labs. "My husband wakes up an hour earlier than me, and thanks to [this gadget], I'm not jolted awake by his loud, jarring alarm clock. He is woken up naturally and gently, and I'm given those crucial extra minutes of sleep before waking up. The wristband works wirelessly with your iPad, iPod or iPhone to wake you with soft vibrations. LARK — developed with top sleep experts — also tracks your sleep patterns and teaches you how sleep and feel better over time." Nice.

2. Google calendar.
"I travel a lot for my work," explains Marc A. Pitman, 39, a fundraising coach and author in Waterville, ME. "Sharing Google calendars with my wife has been a real relationship-saver. Now, we have a much better idea [of] when it's a good time to call, and I can see when the kids' events are." Good communication is key for smooth sailing in love-land, and using technology to make it happen more consistently is what it's all about. Two excellent companions to the Google calendar would be a "shared shopping list and to-do list app," suggests Jon Schmig, a data analyst in Minneapolis, MN.

3. Date-night smartphone apps.
"Scoutmob is the perfect smartphone app for date night," offers Eric Payne, 40, a relationship/parenting blogger and freelance writer in Atlanta, GA. "It provides you with the lowdown on what's hot in your locale; this ranges from restaurants to experiences, such as golfing — as well as when to go, and even what to order." Who wouldn't want to have some help coming up with a good plan for your next date? The app also helps daters save money: "Scoutmob offers an average discount of 50 percent for its deals," explains Payne. "As long as you are in tune with your partner's interests, it takes the guesswork out of being spontaneous."

4. Your cell phone.
"One of the simplest gadgets is already in your possession — your cell phone," says Kevin Lockett, an Ohio-based social media consultant. "Simply dropping a text in the middle of the day to say 'I love you' or 'I like how your outfit hugged your curves this morning' is a great way to make a long day at work turn into a long night of passion." Yeow!

5. A home automation system.
Home automation allows you to monitor and control your home from anywhere in the world using your smartphone, tablet or personal computer. You might ask yourself, "How is that relevant to my love life?" Well, for starters, it eliminates any need to have the awkward "Can I have a key to your
Imagine turning up your heat and dimming the lights on the way home from a date.
place?" discussion with your date. "As someone who has been in multiple serious relationships, coming and going becomes an issue — and eventually, I end up giving my significant other a key to my place because it's convenient," explains Laura Wylie of Ingersoll Rand Residential Solutions. "With Schlage LiNK, I can give [someone] an access code and time-fence it so [this person] can only access my place between specified times — and make it invalid if I have to." You can also use a home automation system to remotely adjust your thermostat and lighting settings. Imagine turning up your heat and dimming the lights on the way home from a date!

6. Rhapsody's subscription music service.
"I am married to a gadget guru," says publicist Elena Arney. "We have three kids, and Rhapsody lets us put on a fun song so they can entertain themselves with a dance party while we can enjoy a glass of wine and catch up on our day. It's the cheapest babysitter around, and we can feel good about it. The best part? It allows [my husband] to turn off his computer and tune in to us."

7. Mobile apps that offer rides.
"We continually have users post and tweet that our app is perfect for a romantic date on the town," says Taxi Magic's Matt Carrington. "It is a mobile phone application that allows users to book taxi rides immediately based on their physical location. Book a ride when the [dinner] bill comes, and the taxi will be waiting outside the restaurant when you and your date leave. What's more suave and debonair than that?"

8. Virtual cards for exchanging contact info.
"In the dating world today, the pressure of having to provide your cell phone number can make someone nervous and uncomfortable," says Carrie Chitsey, CEO of Blinx. "The days of writing down your phone number and exchanging [cards] are over. Blinx allows you to have someone text your specified name to a short code and get whatever information you set up on your Blinx card," explains Chitsey. "You can set it up to have just your personal email address, for example, or your work number only." This allows you to feel more secure throughout the dating process, whether you're meeting someone online, via email, or in your neighborhood pub.

9. Noise-canceling headphones.
Need some peace and quiet from your partner? Try donning a pair of headphones designed to drown out extra noise. They allow you to zone out more easily on long trips or during tough work deadlines. "I was just at CES Unveiled in New York and I had at least three tech editors come up to me, and all of them said, 'wireless headphones saved my marriage,'" relates Jeff Touzeau, president of Hummingbird Media, Inc. "Wireless headphones enable couples to listen to their own programs and shows in peace." If this sounds good to you, check out Sony's MDR-NC7 model or browse this list of Sennheiser wireless headphones.

10. The classic pencil-and-paper combo.
Sometimes, simple is best. "I'm not a gadget guru, just a wife who loves her hubby," says Sandy Fowler, creator of Heart Filled Holidays. "In this high-tech world, the 'gadget' that has helped our relationship the most is... paper and pencil. Writing down the things I want my husband to do (along with a 'drop-dead date') and the one takeaway item [for me] when we have a conversation has done more to help our relationship than anything else."

Laura Schaefer is the author of Notes to Self. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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