Published on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00
It is hard to impress a geek with mass-marketed products. Do you really think someone with the brain capacity for understanding quantum mechanics, or building a fully functioning robot out of scrap metal will be contented with receiving a Furby? Well, thanks to science and all the wonderful inventions it has brought us, you don't need to be a NASA scientist or one of those secretive buggers who works at Area 51 to land your hands on some of our recent discoveries. These affordable gifts are guaranteed to blow anyone's mind, geek or no geek.
1. Valentine Aerogel
Also known as frozen smoke, Aerogel is the world's lowest density solid, clocking in at 96% air. It is basically just a gel made from silicon, except all the liquid has been taken out and replaced with gas instead. If you hold a small piece in your hand, it is practically impossible to feel, but if you poke it, it's like styrofoam. Aerogel isn't just neat, it's useful. It supports up to 4,000 times its own weight and can apparently withstand a direct blast from two pounds of dynamite. It is also the best insulator in existence, to the point that people who wore it as jackets were complaining about overheating on Mt. Everest. This pink heart-shaped Aerogel, while not a practical gift, makes for a really cool conversational piece. Also, this makes for a perfect romantic symbol for the geek in your life. Like true love, this can withstand a whole lot of pressure, but yet, it is still incredibly fragile. So handle with care.
2. Mars Rock
Every now and then, a meteorite crashes into Mars which sends a couple of Mars' rocks out into orbit around the sun. And on very rare occasions, these rocks find its way onto Earth, free for the picking. Yes, you don't have to be an astronaut in order to score yourself a little piece of another planet. Whoever is lucky enough to find the meteorite is allowed to cut it up into bits and sell it to people who want to have their very own piece of the red planet.
A vial of ferrofluid is the closest thing you can ever get to owning your own alien symbiote. Only true geeks will know what a symbiote is. It is a fun desk toy to have for any geek, not to mention, it doubles up as a stress reliever when you need to take a short break from work. When a magnet is held close to the glob of ferrofluid, the weird substance follows it around and freaks out and at which point it grows spikes all over the place as the fluid flows out along magnetic force lines. Ferrofluids are found in everything from speakers to hard drives, but it's much more fun to play with when when you've got a puddle of it naked and out in the open.
4. Magnetic Thinking Putty
Yet again, this is another desk toy meant for the amusement of geeks rather than for a practical use. I'm sure many of you are familiar with Silly Putty (think PlayDough just firmer and bouncier), but what about the magnetic thinking putty? It is literally what it says it is; magnetic. The putty is infused with millions of super-tiny, magnetic particles. When you place a strong ceramic magnet near or on the putty the real small magnets in the putty will naturally be drawn to it pulling the putty along with them and engulfing the magnets overtime. This awesome phenomenon allows you to control the Magnetic Thinking Putty like a snake charmer. Imagine all kinds of fun you can have with this simple product!
This glass orb looks like an artistic ornament but there is more to it than meets the eye. If you peer into one of these glass balls, you will find yourself looking at a microscopic, self-sustaining ecosystem. Inside these sealed glass balls are live shrimp, algae, micro-organisms and bacteria, all swimming around in filtered seawater. Place it somewhere with some light, and this little ecosystem will chug along happily for years, no feeding or cleaning necessary. EcoSpheres came out of research looking at ways to develop self-contained ecosystems for long duration space travel. How cool is that? It is like owning your own little world where you can watch its inhabitants going about their daily lives.
Gallium is a silvery metal with atomic number 31. It's used in semiconductors and LEDs, but the cool thing about it is its melting point, which is only about 29.76 °C. If you hold a solid gallium crystal in your hand long enough, your body heat will cause it to slowly melt into a silvery metallic puddle. Pour it into a dish, and it freezes back into a solid. While you probably shouldn't lick your fingers after playing with it, gallium isn't toxic and won't make you crazy like mercury does. Think about all the possibilities you can do with gallium! You could even grab someone's key when he/she is not looking, press it into a small piece of wax, then pour melted gallium into the mold. When the gallium sets again, you will have your very own temporary spare key to catch a cheating partner!
7. Magic Billet Box
The magic billet box is the brain child of Eric Krusenstjerna who lives in Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A. It is a modern spin on the classic Japanese puzzle box. Long, painstaking hours go into the making of every precision CNC machined billet box. But let's forget about the technical aspects of it, especially when it looks so freaking gorgeous. And here's the most interesting part about this; the box can only be opened if you are in the know how. No one would be able to figure out how to open the box unless they are familiar with this particular box puzzle, as of late, not many people know about this yet. This would make the perfect box for any small, sentimental keepsake.
Go ahead and share this article to impress your geek friends with these cool geeky products! Let us know in our Facebook comment box which of these geek gifts you would like to receive, and we might just buy them to give away to you and our other readers!