1. Lazer Stunt Chaser, $65
Perfect for the office, this RC-controlled car is 1:32 scale or about the size of your hand. To control the car, you point a laser gun on the floor and the car follows the light around. There’s also a speed burst mode. The car can flip over and keep going. The car has a rechargeable battery and connects to a charger powered by six AA batteries. Don’t forget those—they are not included.
2. RadioShack Electronic Fire Kit, $20
There’s nothing quite like soldering on your holiday vacation. This kit comes with a few dozen parts including resistors, LED lights, and a circuit board that can be soldered together to form a glowing yuletide log. That’s right: a battery powered circuit board that glows. Fortunately, the kit comes with “easy to follow” instructions. You can also get the lower-priced glowing LED Christmas tree for just as much fun in a smaller package.
3. My Keepon, $37
Worth every penny, the My Keepon is a dancing robot that sways, bops, and tilts in time with whatever music you’re playing. In “touch” mode the robot will respond to finger presses and petting. Eventually, the robot “learns” more movements based on your interactions and the music you play.
4. Hard drive clock, $30
A bit out there even for hardcore techies, these handmade clocks, available on Etsy, show the time on an actual hard disk drive and includes a hanger on the back. The watch hands are attached to the hard drive spindle. There’s an environmental reward, too: The disks do not need to be recycled.
5. Air Swimmers, $40
Available in the Flying Shark or Clown Fish version, these blow-up dirigibles can be used to scare the accounting folks or perform reconnaissance in the cafeteria. They have to be assembled by adding fins and adding your own helium (you can buy canisters online or bring the Air Swimmer to any store that fills party balloons). The balloon is made of nylon and comes with a radio controller.
— John Brandon