No matter who you are or what you’re interested in, gadgets are fun to play with, even as adults. Every day, new gadgets hit the market that promise to deliver better experiences, speed up an annoying daily task or fix a common problem, such as helping to open the lid of a hard-to-open glass jar. Gadgets can make life easier.
However, not all gadgets succeed in actually doing anything at all. Some gadgets are useless because they fail to improve upon an original design, are redundant with the other gadgets people already own, or aren’t intended to do anything in the first place. Useless gadgets don’t necessarily accomplish anything at all, yet people still end up buying them.
Some gadgets are nerdy because they tap into our favorite fan obsessions or incorporate features that are just plain fun. The gadgets on this list are both useless in some ways and definitely nerdy. Despite this, these gadgets are still some of our favorites to look at and to put on our favorite wish lists.
Here are 25 useless nerdy gadgets that you will absolutely want.
25. Victorinox Secure Pro USB Drive
If you love protecting your favorite data on a USB drive and appreciate a great Swiss Army knife, the Victorinox Secure Pro USB Drive is for you. It features a 32 GB flash drive, a small knife, nail file, screw driver and scissors on a key ring, so it’s perfect to take with you anywhere. Many people would argue that flash drives are useless and outdated when compared with cloud storage options, which are often free to use. Although this might be true, there’s probably an opportunity you can still benefit from a portable storage device that also happens to be a pocket knife, right?
24. Bioluminescent Dino Pet
Many of the world’s most fascinating and misunderstood creatures include bioluminescent animals and plants that glow in deep ocean climates. Now you can have your own pet dinosaur that glows at night when you play with it. The Bioluminescent Dino Pet is the pet rock for a new millennium. Sure, it won’t recognize your face or look forward to seeing you when you come home from a long day of work, but it’s a dinosaur that glows! What can be cooler than that? The dinosaur uses microscopic sea life known as Dinoflagellates to power the glow so you’ll never need batteries.
23. Pocket DJ Mixer
Have you always been fascinated by DJs but turned off by the price of professional mixing equipment? Perhaps you want to make listening to music on your smartphone even more fun and technical. The Pocket DJ Mixer allows you to use your smartphone or iPod to instantly create beats while you’re on the go without the costs of DJ equipment. People won’t hire you to use your mini sound mixers for their wedding, but subway passengers or those eating in a nearby park may just enjoy your style. It’s a great gift option for any technically savvy friend who already spends a lot of time listening to music and pretending they’re a DJ.
22. SmartMat Yoga Mat
In the future, the Internet of Things will mean that all of the objects in your home will be Internet-connected devices that can help you and store data to improve your experience. While we’re not quite there yet as a society, you can pretend with an internet-connected yoga mat. Called the SmartMat: The World’s First Intelligent Yoga Mat, built-in sensors detect balance and alignment to provide real time feedback. There are even different modes to use when practicing in different places, such as the studio. Does the mat really know what you’re doing? Is this a piece of technology that really improves practice? Probably not, but it’s still a really cool gadget.
21. Electric Light Blocks
Building blocks are so the 20th century, made in boring primary colors. Now Electric Light Blocks are just like the Legos we all loved to play with as kids, only each block lights up once your finished creation is placed into the light up base. The base allows you to keep your creation always lit, on a fifteen minute timer, or flashing. While kids would love these light up building blocks, adults with an appreciation for building things will appreciate them as a gift, too. You can technically use your creation as a night light, but it’s really more about the fun you’ll have building it.
Kids today don’t appreciate how far video games have come since their earliest days, when going to an arcade was the only way to really play Super Mario Brothers and other favorite games. The iCade transforms a regular iPad into an old school arcade game console complete with buttons and a joystick. It is possible to play iPad games without such a fun retro style gaming cabinet, but it’s hard to get the feel of a real arcade game just using an iPad’s touch screen. For those who loved arcade games, the iCade brings back some great memories of gaming with friends.
19. Sphero Ollie
Have you always dreamed of owning a robot that could help you cook meals, work around the house, and race other robots down the street? The Sphero Ollie is an app-controlled robot that rolls across all types of terrain. Since it won’t do the things you want a robot to do except race other robots down the street, the Sphero Ollie is a robot that doesn’t accomplish much. For those fascinated with robotics technology, that won’t matter, as they’ll love this little robot anyway. There are a number of models that roll and do tricks. A single charge lasts for an hour or so of play time.
18. PhoneSoap Smartphone Sanitizer
Your smartphone travels with you, in the airport, to different restaurants, and maybe the bathroom. Along the way, it picks up germs like bacteria and viruses, which can make you sick. If you think about all of the places your phone goes, it’s easy to see why it’s important to clean it with a disinfectant wipe regularly to keep your smartphone sanitary. The PhoneSoap Smartphone Sanitizer goes a step beyond a disinfectant wipe. You’d put your phone into the small device, which emits light that disinfects your phone, even in the small places you can’t reach. There’s no real proof this works better than a disinfectant wipe, however cool it is.
17. Omron Hj-113
Most people have a fitness monitor, like a FitBit or a Nike Fuelband, that tracks their movements and exercise routines to ensure that they’re getting enough exercise or making progress toward fitness goals. If not, smartphones have built-in accelerometers that track steps. This has led to the decline of traditional pedometers. The Omron Hj-113 is a pedometer that tracks steps, distance, and calories burned. It can be worn a few different ways or carried in a pocket. The Omron Hj-113 is a popular pedometer for those without smartphones or fitness monitoring devices. It even stores 7 days worth of data.
16. The Zolt Charger
All of your favorite devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, require frequent recharging to retain their usefulness but it can be a hassle to carry around different chargers while you’re on the go. The Zolt Laptop Charger is a lightweight charger that you can easily carry around. It charges up to three different devices at the same time, which reduces the number of A/C outlets you need and the amount of time you need to charge all of your devices. Using your existing power cords to charge your devices is the most economical and practical, but it doesn’t look as cool.
15. Smartphone Magnifier
When you’re trying to see small details or words on your mobile phone screen, it can make you wish you could use a magnifying glass to read small print. The Smartphone Magnifier makes it easy to read small text on your smartphone just the way a magnifying glass would. It’s a neat looking gadget that amplifies the size of large amount of text. You could always just zoom in on the text using your phone, which would be much more efficient. However, that’s not quite as fulfilling as using a Smartphone Magnifier that you pull out of a desk drawer.
14. Super Magnetic Putty
As a kid, playing with clay or putty was a lot of fun. You’d create these figurines and maybe save a few of your favorites by letting them dry out on the counter. Super Magnetic Putty takes playing with clay to the next level. Sure, you can make shapes with it or use it to release tension and destress. When you place a magnet on the putty, it becomes magnetic, too, due to the small iron-based particles found within the putty. You can explore making the putty “move” on its own toward another magnet or use it to pick up all of the paper clips on your desk.
13. LED Musical Shades
Lady Gaga is known for wearing eye catching and colorful glasses. You can embody that style by wearing a pair of colorful LED Musical Shades that light up with 12 LED lights through light bars that are across the frames. When you listen to music at home or at a concert, volume sensing technology calibrates to light up the LED Musical Shades to go along with the beat. Although they’re fun to wear at a concert and can easily make a carefree statement, they don’t make excellent glasses overall, as the light bars obstruct a normal view from the glasses.
12. Makey Makey
The Makey Makey: An Invention Kit for Everyone is a dream kit for those who love to create their own circuit board-based inventions that work with everyday objects. The kit comes with a circuit board, alligator clips, and a USB cable that integrate with a computer or webpage. It’s won several awards after it completed a successful Kickstarter funding campaign run by two MIT grads. Although the Makey Makey is awesome to play with and helps you (or your kids) explore how a closed circuit works, it is still just a toy. Many people may not think a toy is worth such a serious investment.
11. Z Board
The Z Board is an all electric skateboard that utilizes weight sensing technology. It’s super light and easy to transport. Riders stop the skateboard from moving by leaning back and propel itself to go by leaning forward. It can travel 24 miles at a top speed of 20 miles per hour. At these speeds, it’s possible to complete nearby errands without having to take your car. The Z Board is an innovative gadget that improves upon skateboards, though a normal wheels to the ground skateboard will work just as well with the added benefit of helping you get more exercise.
To save money, you want to get every last drop of product from the tubes you buy. This includes toothpaste, paint, makeup, or caulking tubes. The Tube-Wringer squishes every little drop of product so you won’t waste any. You could just roll up the tube to slowly work out any product stuck in the corners of the tube without having to use the Tube-Wringer, but how would you be sure that every drop came out? It would be easy to think that this is a useless gadget. However, many Tube-Wringers have been sold through the original brand and its competitors.
9. Tetris Lamp
True fans of the amazingly popular puzzle game Tetris will love the Tetris Lamp that showcases carefully matched pieces that stand on a lamp base. The Tetris Lamp isn’t particularly bright, so it won’t be able to replace regular lamps that you rely on to provide illumination in a room. It would make for a pretty okay nightlight. Some Tetris lamps allow you to restack the blocks to form your own Tetris-based puzzle creations. The mixture of the nostalgia of playing the popular video game and the bright pops of color make this lamp one to decorate your own home with.
8. Personal Planetarium
Star gazers will love having their own way to look into the stars and know what they’re seeing. The Personal Planetarium works like a kaleidoscope but looks like a pair of goggles. After you insert your smartphone into the device, you’ll look at the stars and constellations through an augmented reality viewer that identifies what you’re looking at. An audio guide provides further details much like a planetarium show would have. It’s probably cheaper to just go to an actual planetarium at a science museum to learn more about the stars or to download a star watching app on your smartphone.
7. Fujifilm X100T
Most people take most of their pictures using their smartphone camera. It’s convenient and you’re already carrying your phone around with you. There’s no reason to carry around another camera, especially when it has only a single focal length lens. The Fujifilm X100T looks like a retro camera. It works with your smartphone to allow for remote shooting. Its “Classic Chrome” mode takes photos with colors reminiscent of traditional film. There are some great features including a hybrid viewfinder. If you miss the times of taking pictures with a 35 mm camera and having photos developed, this camera can help bring you back.
6. Columbus Expedition Interactive Globe
Most people don’t have globes in their home anymore because maps and online tools are so efficient, accurate, and easy to access. Globes bring a certain sense of style and worldliness to a room. It’s a shame we don’t need them anymore because there are so many other ways to access the same information. The Columbus Expedition Interactive Globe includes an interactive audio pen that plays every country’s national anthem, a quiz about places around the world, and information about Earth’s physical properties, such as surface area, population facts, and country capitals. It’s fun for kids and adults to enjoy.
5. Darth Vader Toaster
You probably already have a toaster oven capable of toasting slices of bread to your desired doneness. Does your current toaster leave a toasted imprint of the greatest antagonist in the entire galaxy? Probably not. The Darth Vader Toaster works just like any other popup toaster, except that it leaves a picture of Darth Vader from the Star Wars franchise behind. It won’t change the taste of your bread or perform better than your average toaster. In fact, because of its toasting pattern, it might toast less effectively. But that doesn’t matter for true Star Wars fans that want to bring some of it to their breakfast routine.
4. Bubble Wrap Calendar
Do you remember playing with bubble wrap as a kid? It was so much fun to pop each bubble. Now you can use bubble wrap to help you stay organized. The Bubble Wrap Calendar uses a bubble you can pop to keep track of important dates or keep track of the days that have passed by. As you pop each bubble, a colored circle is visible to note an important date. It’s a really fun and innovative way to keep track of calendar dates. The only problem is that you can’t really write what’s happening on each date on the calendar, so it’s less helpful than it is fun to pop.
3. Virtual Reality Maze Builder
The concept of virtual reality and completing challenging mazes is among the nerdiest hobbies out there. The Virtual Reality Maze Builder lets you combine both in a smartphone app that allows you to explore and finish the maze you built in real life. Or you could use the virtual reality viewer to go through the maze as if you were trapped in it and trying to find your way through. You get to create your own maze of any level of difficulty, complete with moving walls and booby traps that only work to make the maze even more difficult to finish.
2. Halo Helmet
Very rarely do adults have a reason to wear a helmet, outside of sports activities and possibly to protect your head at work. The Halo Helmet is a costume helmet that looks as if it came from the Halo video game franchise. If you love playing the game, it may be worth buying one. You can wear it as a Halloween costume, to a party, or while you’re playing the game. Your roommates who don’t understand the game may make fun of you for wasting money on a costume helmet, but it’s okay if it makes you happy to wear it. The Master Chief would be proud.
1. Tivoli Model One Radio
Throughout the 20th century, radios have served as a primary point of entertainment and information for the masses. With the invention of streaming music services, podcasts, and satellite radio, many people don’t listen to a radio with FM or AM frequencies anymore. The Tivoli Model One Radio is reminiscent of vintage radios complete with a simple and classic exterior and a wood grain finish. For music enthusiasts who are looking for a high quality radio, this radio has features that improve reception and increase the clarity of the sound. However, some countries are looking to drop FM radio frequencies, so this model could eventually become just an antique.
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