11 Innovative Gifts for Aspiring Scientists

By Editorial Staff
istock / istock

If you have a future professor or armchair astronomer in your life, these gifts will help them hone their skills and pursue their passion. We’ve covered all ages, abilities, and budgets so you can add to anyone’s laboratory.

1. Meet Science: Magnetism and Electricity App; $6.99

This middle-school-level phone app will give your budding physicists a head start on mastering two of science’s trickiest topics through a series of interactive animations and games.

Find it: App stores

2. 3Doodler; $99 

You can you use this three-dimensional pen for everything from arts and crafts to minor home repairs, but we like its potential for making more accurate scientific models and providing an opportunity for hands-on learning.

Find it: The3Doodler.com

3. Micro Fi Wi-Fi Handheld Microscope; $219.95

The portable, ergonomic quality of this 80x magnification microscope isn’t even the coolest thing about it. A Wi-Fi module allows you to connect the feed to up to three smart devices—phones, tablets, or laptops—making it perfect for collaborative experiments or teaching demonstrations.

Find it: Amazon.com

4. Veho Discovery LCD Microscope; $299.95

If your scientist isn’t a fan of squinting into eyepieces, the LCD screen on this microscope shows you what’s going on below, 1200 times magnified. Time-lapse photography capability allows you to create incredible videos of bacteria growth or decay.

Find it: Amazon.com

5. LittleBits Space Kit; $189

LittleBits creates modular kits that help children and adults alike understand electronics by building functioning systems. For this latest product, they teamed up with NASA to bring you the opportunity to build miniature models of the Mars Rover or International Space Station and carry out scaled-down versions of real NASA experiments.

Find it: LittleBits.cc 

6. Mindflex Duel Game; $134.95

Okay, this head-to-head contest of “mind-eye” coordination is more recreation than education, but it’s sure to inspire even the most reluctant scientists to wonder about the future of technology as they control the movements of a foam ball using just their brain waves.

Find it: Mindflexgames.com 

7. Elenco Snap Circuits SC-300 Physics Kit; $66.99 

Get kids as young as eight years old to understand the basics of electrical circuits with this brightly colored, easy-to-follow kit for building things like doorbells and a simple radio.

Find it: Amazon.com

8. LEGO Mindstorms EV3 31313; $349.99 

LEGO has come a long way from simple building blocks. This splurge set lets you build and control a walking, talking robot with an infrared sensor system and intuitive software that connects to either a remote control (included) or your smartphone.

Find it: LEGO.com

9. Thames & Kosmos Eco-Battery Vehicles; $69.95

Toy cars are great, but can they teach you about sustainable energy sources? These customizable cars run on just magnesium plates, salt water, and the oxygen in the air.

Find it: Amazon.com 

10. Genographic Project Participation and DNA Ancestry Kit; $199.95

Learn about your genetic ancestry while participating in real, ongoing scientific research about the origins of humanity. Find out if you’re descended from Neanderthals or Denisovans and get a detailed understanding of your own personal genome.

Find it: NationalGeographic.com

11. Star Walk App; $.99

Give the gift of unlimited astronomical information for less than the price of a stocking stuffer. Learn about the stars directly above you at any given moment and have your map update in real time as you move about.

Find it: App stores

If we can get smarter, so can technology. That’s what innovation—like Intel®  RealSense™ technology with immersive chat and 3D scanning—is all about. Learn more here: intel.com.