Still searching for the perfect gifts for the science lovers in your life? Maybe you don't have a spare $2 million lying around to wow your loved ones with a personal submarine (pictured above), but there are still plenty of great options for the geeks on your list. From an augmented reality "Star Wars" game to a glow-in-the-dark constellations dress, we've rounded up the ultimate holiday gift guide to help you on your quest.
Lego’s celebration of four female NASA scientists brings STEM to the play table, with the aim of inspiring little girls to dream big. The Lego minifigures are modeled after astronomer Nancy Grace Roman; computer scientist Margaret Hamilton; and two famous female astronauts, Sally Ride and Mae Jemison. The kit includes three sets: the Hubble Space Telescope, a launch pad complete with a space shuttle, and the classroom where Hamilton and her team programmed crucial flight software for NASA’s Apollo program.
From designing toys and kitchen gadgets to building replacement parts for a DIY project, if you can think it, Robo R2 can print it. The 3D printer has an onboard camera that records each print job in real time, allowing users to follow along from a mobile device as their creations come to life. The printer's built-in Wi-Fi makes it possible to create and print designs from a mobile device. The app is compatible with iOS, MacOS, Windows, and Linux (with Android coming soon, according to the company).
The Big Dipper, Ursa Minor, and Draco the dragon are among the glow-in-the-dark stars and constellations featured on this navy-blue number. This isn’t quite what astronomer Carl Sagan meant when he famously said “we are made of star stuff,” but the astronomy buff in your life will love strutting her stuff in this knee-length dress with a fitted bodice, scoop neck, and flared skirt.
The ancients told time by the stars. With this watch, astronomy lovers can identify stars by the time. Wearers simply face North, raise their arm overhead, and match the stars to the glow-in-the-dark constellations on the watch. The timepiece’s bezel rotates to match the wearer's view of the night sky, based on the date and time. The watch is accurate in the Northern Hemisphere from 35 to 50 degrees latitude.
For the adventurer on your list, this South Pole Expedition from Polar Quest is the ultimate travel bucket-list experience — perfect for fans of Shackleton, Amundsen, and Scott. Over the course of the weeklong trip, travelers gain new respect for the intrepid explorers as they explore a glacier, witness stunning icefalls, wander through hidden canyons, and cross-country ski to picturesque destinations. The expedition departs from Chile and flies to the pole, where all 360 lines of longitude meet. The travel package includes accommodation in a tent at Union Glacier Camp, located in the southern Ellsworth Mountains. The trip has a serious price tag, but it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Tech enthusiasts will get a kick out of this head-up display that not only makes a car more like a spaceship but also helps rein in distracted driving. The Navdy display links to a car's onboard diagnostics, enabling it to retrieve information such as fuel level and speed. An accompanying app syncs the device to a driver's iPhone or Android. GPS directions, incoming calls, messages, and more are projected on the windshield, directly in the driver's line of sight. And thanks to gesture controls and a dial that attaches to the steering wheel, drivers can control the display, all while keeping their eyes on the road.
Give the gift of the Force this holiday season. Anyone who’s ever dreamed of being in a lightsaber duel against Darth Vader or Kylo Ren can now live out that fantasy with Star Wars: Jedi Challenges. The game features Lenovo’s smartphone-powered Mirage AR augmented reality headset, lightsaber controller and a smartphone app from Disney. No game console is needed; sensors on the lightsaber and a tracking beacon placed on the floor know where the player is in the room, and the headset displays the games and lifelike images of opponents.
Do you have someone on your list who loves contemplating the great cosmic unknowns? From black holes to quantum mechanics, from the concepts of time and space to the search for alien life, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson brings his clarity and wit to the incomprehensible. Despite its title, “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” is best savored slowly and in small bites. It’s also available as an audiobook, narrated by the author.
This rugged timepiece adds a touch of class to any space, whether it's a mancave or a C-suite office. The machined aluminum body of the Altimeter Table Clock features a WWII-era altimeter. It’s the perfect gift for a history buff.
If you know someone who idolizes Albert Einstein, help spruce up his wardrobe with this nerdy necktie. The famous physicist is front and center, surrounded by his famous E=MC2 formula on a space-black background.
Big and little kids alike will love building this robot and bringing it to life, making the Meccano M.A.X. a great family project. Budding engineers have to assemble the robot out of more than 300 parts. Then, with help from sensors, artificial intelligence, and personalization, M.A.X. can be programmed to tell jokes, bust a move on his smart wheels, and play games.
Know a wine lover who also shares a deep appreciation of science? Indulge both appetites by pairing a good red with these stemless glasses emblazoned with the structural formulas of key organic molecules. It's sure to spark fun conversation in between sips.
Andrea Smith is an award-winning news and technology journalist. She spent over two decades as technology producer at ABC News and was Lifestyle Channel Editor at Mashable. Andrea writes about consumer tech for several major lifestyle sites and publications. Andrea is also co-host of the Parenting Bytes Podcast, which can be found in iTunes.
Andrea currently appears as a guest expert in technology segments for WABC TV, CNBC and Fox News, and has appeared on ABC’s World News Now, Good Morning America Now, and ABC-affiliated radio and TV stations across the U.S. Andrea also enjoys mentoring young women starting out in the business world and is a recipient of the 2015 Women in CE Legacy Award.