The Great Technology Swap

"GMA" takes gadgets from the tech-savvy, gives to an old-fashioned family.

ByERIC NOLL via logo
December 6, 2008, 9:04 AM

Dec. 6, 2008 — -- Now more than ever, many people are absolutely dependent on technology. But believe it or not, there are those who live without the wonders of cell phones and computers.

"Good Morning America" decided to see just how important all this technology was by challenging two families to switch technological lives.

Click here to tell "GMA" what piece of technology you couldn't live without.

The O'Malleys live in what some would call the digital dark ages. They have no video games, no cell phones, no DVDs. On the other end of the technological spectrum is the Briere family, who have 17 computers, a 400-disc DVD changer and remote control lights and blinds.

To pull off the switch, "GMA" teamed up with, FedEx, Verizon Wireless and Zip Express Installation to turn both families' worlds upside down.

Click here to watch the families' video blog of their technological adventures.

To see how the O'Malleys would handle an influx of tech, provided an array of technological wonders. These gadgets were among them:

HP TouchSmart
HP Pavilion G60-120US 15.6-Inch Laptop
Microsoft Office & Microsoft Student
Linksys WRT160N-RangePlus-Wireless-N-Broadband Router
Kodak EasyShare ESP 9 All-In-One Printer
Verizon XV6900 White Smartphone (Verizon Wireless) for the Mom – Lise O'Malley
BlackBerry 8830 Smartphone, Red (Verizon Wireless) for the Dad – Peter O'Malley
LG Voyager Black Phone (Verizon Wireless) for Chloe, who is in eighth grade
LG enV2 Maroon Phone for Isabelle, who is in sixth grade
Samsung Sway Phone, Silver (Verizon Wireless) in Silver for Sara, who is in fourth grade
Verizon Wireless Blitz Phone, Blue (Verizon Wireless) for William, who is in kindergarten
Samsung LN52A850 52-Inch 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV with RED Touch of Color
TiVo TCD658000 HD XL DVR
Nintendo Wii
Wii Remote Controller
Wii Rock Band Special Edition
Guitar Hero
Wii Fit
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Friendly Robotics Robomower RM200
iRobot Scooba
Jura-Capresso ENA5 Automatic Coffee and Espresso Center, Ristretto Black

Light-years ahead of the O'Malleys as far as technology goes is the Briere family. To make them really feel the digital loss, "GMA" took away all their gadgets and replaced them with entertainment and tools from an earlier time. Here is what they got:

Brother ML-100 Daisy Wheel Electronic Typewriter
Cuisinart DCC-100 Coffee Bar Classic 10-Cup Coffeemaker
Moleskine Daily Planner 12 Months Hard Black Cover Pocket
William Wegman Puppies 2008 Wall Calendar
Soccer Rebounder
Adidas F50 Xite Soccer Ball
Park & Sun TS-CL Spectrum Classic Volleyball Set
Tachikara SV5WSC Sensi-Tec Composite High Performance Volleyball
Sorry! Family Game Night Edition
Scrabble Crossword Game
Hasbro The Game of Life
Uno Card Game
Curious George
Cat in the Hat
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
Bridge to Terabithia
How To Eat Fried Worms
Golden Compass
The Nanny Diaries
Spiderwick Chronicles
Other Boleyn Girl
Becoming Jane
Charlie Wilson's War
Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
Pride and Prejudice

After one week of digital domesticity, the O'Malleys reminisced over the good ol' days. They found out time-saving gadgets didn't make their lives any easier. They were begging that all the technology be taken out of their house by the end of the week.

The Brieres preferred virtual reality to the real thing. Taking tech away didn't make the Brieres feel closer. In fact, they say their life was less efficient, fun and engaging. After cooling off their high-tech hotspot, they felt not having gadgets pushed them apart as a family.

Whether your family is like the O'Malleys or the Brieres, a new book from the editors of MAKE Magazine called "The Best of Instructables Vol. 1" can offer some great tips on home-brewed technological projects that turn techno junk into high-tech gifts.

iPod Speaker From a Christmas Card: Don't toss out that singing Christmas card, instead find out how to transform it into a mini home stereo by clicking here.

Wallet From a Keyboard: Your keyboard is good for more than just typing. Click here to see how to turn your old keyboard into a 21st-century gift.

Musical Earmuffs From Stuffed Animals and Headphones: Take your furry friends from trash-bound to snow-bound. Click here to find out how.

Also, check out Danny Briere's Books by clicking here.

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