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MaKey MaKey

For anyone who's ever wanted to make a banana piano, or a kitty-powered photo booth, or any other sort of strange invention, hope has arrived. The MaKey MaKey ($35 and up) is a new, simple invention kit that makes it easy to make whatever you want. It connects to your computer via USB and uses alligator clips to make a connection to pretty much any conductive object you can think of — paint cans, fruit, or even other people — letting you control websites, apps, or custom programs. In addition, the MaKey MaKey runs on top of Arduino, so when you're ready to step up to more advanced builds it'll be up to the challenge.

  • Cryoscope

    Sure, it can be useful to check the weather on your smartphone, computer, or local news station, but it doesn't really help you to know what it's actually going to feel like outside. The Cryoscope ($300 and up) does. This crazy contraption heats or cools its top slab to a certain temperature, depending on the mode — time shift mode will give you the forecasted temperature, while space shift can give you the current temperature of anywhere you specify — letting you literally feel the temperature you're looking for. Useful for commuters, travelers, or those who want to torture themselves by checking the current temp in Wailea.

  • Noise Hero

    Yes, it looks a little like a science fair project, but make no mistake: the Noise Hero ($90) is no toy. This 4093-based electronic noise maker uses three oscillators, five knobs, eight switches, and one push button to output everything from light, Mario-esque beeps and bloops to grinding, NIN-style growls. As for the low-rent looks? They just add to the charm.