Want to give someone something a bit geeky this Christmas? Have no fear, we are here to help with some ideas on what you should give a geek. This year, we’ve split our geeky gift guide into two. This one, Play and Build, focuses on the gadgets, games and electronics we know that geeks of all ages will enjoy getting under the Christmas Tree this season.
We have tried to find items that will be available in Australia through a retailer. However, there will be some items you will have to ship from America – so, if you really want to give that person a gift, you might need to give them a late Christmas present.
Parrot Jumping Sumo MiniDrone
Created by the same people that brought you the AR.Drone, the Jumping Sumo MiniDrone is one impressive machine. Inside the MiniDrone is a powerful motor that lets you jump 80cm high – or enough to jump from a table to the floor. Like the AR.Drone, you control the Jumping Sumo with your iOS, Android or Windows Phone device by simply connecting the device to the Wi-Fi connection. It also has a camera, so you can still see where you are going even if you cannot physically see the device.
You can purchase the Jumping Sumo from Myer and Apple.
Cards Against Humanity (AU Edition)
Cards Against Humanity is finally here in Australia. For those unacquainted with the card game, it is similar to Apples to Apples where you have to choose a card that you think fits in with the prompt. However, be warned. It does contain a lot – and I really mean a lot – of politically incorrect humour. Do not give this game to someone who is easily offended, or is under the age of 18 (since there are lot of references that would make parents have a heart attack if they heard their kids saying it).
You can purchase the card game online from the official store, or visit your local geek retailer like Critical Hit in Melbourne.
Described as the game that will “bring the best of every nerd”, Superfight is a card game similar to Cards Against Humanity. But, instead of filling a prompt, players creates their own character, add special abilities, and then argue that their character can win in a fight against the others. According to the official rules, there are many different variations to play. All of them will bring hours of hilarious arguments.
The game is not sold in Australia, but you can purchase it from the official store. Be warned, shipping can be really expensive and you might not get the present until after Christmas due to its popularity.
While it looks like ordinary wet sand, it is not. Kinetic Sand is completely dry and sticks to itself thanks to a bonding agent mixed in. In other words, you can make awesome sand sculptures on your desk without leaving any mess. And when you are done, you can simply roll it all up into a gigantic ball just like Play-Doh.
Want to give someone the gift of virtual reality, without the cost or the long waiting times for the Oculus Rift? Maybe give them Google Cardboard, an attempt to bring virtual reality to the masses using components found in a hardware store or garage. Google has provided the instructions to build your very own Google Cardboard online.
However, if you are short for time, you can always buy a pre-made set from DODOCase or online by looking at eBay.
littleBits Cloudbit Starter Kit
Ever wanted to start building an internet-connected device? The littleBits Cloudbit Starter Kit provides you with the necessary components to start prototyping the next brilliant idea, or build something that solves a problem that you have. The brilliant thing about littleBits is that everything is modularised – allowing you to add components to create new things or enhance an existing project. Be warned, it is a bit pricey. But if you have someone that wants to start tinkering with electronics, this might be a good place to start.
Paint that is conductive? Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint pretty much lets you draw your own electrical circuits – helpful when you want to create something really technical but don’t want to use a lot of wires, or simply fixing electronics without the need of soldering equipment. It is safe for children, and can be easily removed from most surfaces using soap and water.
The Raspberry Pi is a $55 computer that can play Minecraft (sorta), browse the web, run Linux, serve as a media hub, or emulate your favourite retro games. Plus there are a billion other uses, all coded by a community of awesome geeks.
Basically it’s your dream device: a computer which can run 24/7 without destroying your power bill. You will have to work for a bit to actually make it do any of the above, but if you want to help someone learn the basics of computing, this could just be the best gift. You might want to also pick up the power supply, which is basically a phone USB port, and also an SD card, but still it’s a small price to pay for what is essentially a super basic mini computer.
Additional words by Chris Southcott