Thursday, July 08, 2010

Science toys for somewhat grown-up geeks

So, you've outgrown chemistry labs and ant farms. What's a science geek to do? You probably already have a telescope and Einstein action figure. How about any one of these awesome science toys for grown-ups?

RC Submarine

I'm not sure I'd ever fork out the $500+ bucks for one of these remote control submarines, but I still think it would be absolutely awesome. The Neptune SB-1 RC submarine dives and resurfaces on command with a ballast tank, has rudder control and a 12v propulsion motor, an ABS plastic hull capable of high-impacts and an electronic detection protecting system.

The SB-1 also has a static drive, which means that unlike most other subs that have to dive to move forward, the SB-1 can move around without diving. Best of all, for some extra cash you can use a cable to retrieve video of everything it sees. Actually, it would probably be pretty lame without video and one major drawback is that unless you run a cable to a screen on the surface, you can't see the video until after the sub has resurfaced. But then how else would you capture Nessie?

USB Wireless Microscope

For me, microscopes conjure up images of high school biology and very little of interest. But the reality is that the world of the tiny is much more fascinating than most give it credit for; myself included. Just a few drops of sea water will reveal phytoplankton monsters engaged in epic battles, wonder at the variety of snowflake shapes and sizes, and ordinary insects suddenly appear as complex creatures of beauty.

This little Wireless USB microscope is way cooler than my high school biology class' too. Using a USB connection and a 2.4GHz wireless signal to communicate with its cradle, you can magnify between 20 and 200 times. The microscope also has an added ring of LEDs for better illumination of whatever you’re looking at and Li-ion battery.

Fuel Cell Car

To some hydrogen cars are a pipe dream, to others they are the inevitable way of the future. Thames & Kosmos, a maker of high end educational toys and science kits, will give you a kit to make your own today. You can add water to the car then watch it separate it into hydrogen and oxygen and you store them and then use them to move the car around. The electricity required to activate the electrolysis even comes from a solar cell too.

The kit comes with dozens of experiments you can do with the car and a huge color manual including:

"How to build a solar-powered car. Effects of direct and indirect radiation. Characteristics of a solar module. Electrolysis and its effect on water. Oxy-hydrogen test. How to construct and load a reversible fuel cell. Decomposition of water in the fuel cell. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of gas in a fuel cell. How efficient is electrolysis? How light influences electrolysis. Solar electrolysis. Fuel cell-powered car."

Anyone else care to share their favorite?

1 comment:

  1. For a toy with a real physics flavor, how about SpectraSound, which lets you transmit sound across the room (or farther) on a laser beam. Lots of cool things you can do with it. It's on the LaserFest website, .