20 gifts for the thinkers, tinkerers and innovators

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For the colleague that’s always talking about his next “big trip,” this crowdfunding platform lets them campaign for their next adventure, from the Cairngorms to K2. If you’re looking for something they can open, perhaps try this breath amplifying airbed (USD 85), which enables campers to inflate their beds in seconds, or this device (USD 99) that will charge their smartphones via physical activity.

Interior Maker

These beautiful, sustainable furniture pieces from Full Grown are almost an antidote to world of rapid 3D printing — the chairs (GBP 2700, ships in 2017), lamps and more are grown from willow, oak, ash and sycamore trees, and will be grown in the shape of its final form, and harvested whole in the coming years. But for makers who can’t wait, Snap (USD 60) is starting to ship their long-awaited table legs that turns any surface into unique furniture.


Over half of the Springwise team cycles into the office, so it’s fair to say we have a few ideas for the athletes in your life. Perhaps a night at Japan’s Hotel Cycle (JPY 17,000), or the COBI device (EUR 179, ships in 2016), which adds 100 smart features to any bike, including lights, indicator, charger, and a thumb-control system. For those more into extreme sports, this Vollebak jacket (GBP 750), made out of spacesuit material, can survive falls of 120kmph.

Robotics Fanatic

A Magzor gift cards could give them the perfect holiday project — the platform lets users test modular robot designs while suggesting circuit layouts. A subscription package from Tron Club (GBP 11) will let them practice circuit-building. They might also like The Micro Drone (USD 150), which is a customizable quad-copter with auto-leveling capabilities and an HD video camera.

Coffee Connoisseur

We all know the type: those who turn their nose up at Nespresso, preferring the local artisan café’s specialty “V60 Pour Over”. With IKAWA’s digital micro-roaster (GBP 650, available May 2016), they can now roast their own beans at a touch of a smartphone button.

Urban Gardener

For the city-dwellers that pretend to have a garden on their apartment balconies — we feel you. This indoor shelving unit (USD 399, ships July 2016) can be fitted into kitchens or hallways, and grow up to 21 vegetables. But for those who can’t wait seven months for its delivery, there are plenty of other smart micro gardens such as this kit by Click and Grow.

Workers At Home

As more offices give employees the option to work from the comfort of their homes, many are taking advantage of the extra couple of hours for a much needed lie in. The Room in Room tent (USD 70, ships in January 2016) will make their precious time in bed even cozier — complete with device holders, it envelops the bed in warmth while helping them save on winter power bills.

Child Geniuses

We have seen many outstanding innovations for children, but among our favorites are coding friendship bracelets (USD 69), throwable computers (GBP 75, ships March 2016), a Minecraft hacker toolkit (USD 269.99, ships early 2016), and Vaikai’s smart wooden dolls (EUR 159, ships in 2016).

The Startup Team

What if, after a much deserved break, the first Monday morning meeting in January was held in a relaxing, mentally restorative forest? For those living in the Netherlands, you can start your year off by gathering employees in a national park. KantoorKaravaan hosts mobile caravans that function as micro offices, which are complete with wifi, coffee machines, and conference rooms.

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