Christmas Gift Guide 2016: 10 gadget gift ideas for mad scientists

Give the gift of science with our list of awesome experimental tech

Grab your lab coat and put the sonic scalpel on charge: things are about to get scientific.

Christmas might be about coming together and sharing the love over prezzies and grub (apparently), but the real fun is to be had at the makeshift dining table lab, as Dad dissects a mouse and Uncle Jeff jiffies together a genetics machine with little more than some Play-Doh, a microscope and a wire in the mains.

What's more, there's never been a better time to get the kids scratching their heads: your conscience can be clear as you show your future minions how to raise an army of dinosaurs from the safety of your drone home. Glorious.

Mouse Taxidermy Kit (RM165)

Anyone with a Twitter bio that doesn't end in '/taxidermist' needs to take a long, hard look at their extracurricular credentials. Here's where you come in, with this surefire entry into an odd world of pop science and stitching. 

The process takes four hours and the kit includes tanning solution, surgical gloves, PVA glue, galvanised wire, cotton wool, Borax powder and a scalpel. No mouse is included so it's best to buy a (dead) one from an ethical supplier to present the gift as a complete squeak-free package.

Buy the Mouse Taxidermy Kit here

MaKey MaKey (RM225)

This mini Arduino board turns anything an alligator clip will attach to (food, Play-Doh, in-laws) into keys to liven up your computer controls.

Fun for testing what conducts electricity around the house, just attach the clips on to the objects of your choice, plug them into your PC via USB and tap away to your heart's content. Want to play Super Mario Bros with a twig? Or turn a banana into a piano? Go right ahead.

For a science on the road, there's now the MaKey MaKey Go, too.

Buy the MaKey MaKey here

Strand Beest (RM55)

You don’t already have a mechanical wind-powered roaming thing? Why not? It doesn’t matter – the RNLI offers you the StrandBeest, a kinetic sculpture which walks its way around using nothing but wind power.

Driven by a fan and constructed from a complex cohesion of plastic limbs and gears, the Beest will mesmerise you with its patio shuffling powers. Like all the best Christmas gifts, it’s completely useless and utterly brilliant.

Buy the Strand Beest here