The past year has been stuffed full of watershed geek events, like the debut of the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailer and a massive crowdfunding effort that went into the making of a potato salad. We've rounded up 10 of our favorites.
The year 2014 certainly had its share of hoverboards. Ever since "Back to the Future: Part II" came out in 1989, we've all wanted to glide around on wheel-less floating skateboards. That dream is a little closer, thanks to Hendo's successful Kickstarter project to produce magnetic-field hoverboards. We also got a DIY leaf-blower hoverboard. It's only fair we got some real hoverboards after making it through a hoverboard hoax earlier in the year.
If a geek happening can be judged by the number of parodies it inspires, then the new "Star Wars" trailer is top of the pops. The short teaser gave us a rolling droid, Stormtroopers, the Millennium Falcon and a controversial new lightsaber with a fancy hand guard. It also gave us a slew of joke versions of the trailer, including George Lucas, Lego and Wes Anderson-style remakes.
Published:Caption:Amanda KooserPhoto:Lucasfilm/Screenshot by CNET
Lego lets lady scientists have a turn
The subtly named Lego Research Institute set ended up being quite the topic of discussion in 2014. Designed by a Lego fan, it won support from other Lego enthusiasts before Lego finally stepped up and decided to produce the set for retail. What makes it different is that it features three women scientists: an astronomer, a paleontologist and a chemist. Women scientists in Lego form had previously been in short supply.
If you're going to buy a zombie-proof log cabin, you might as well buy the one that comes with a 10-year anti-zombie guarantee, an arsenal storage unit, microwave, garden and a barbed-wire surround. Tiger Log Cabins offered up a $113,000 zombie-proof cabin kit designed for people worried about an undead apocalypse. The cabin's thoughtfully designed fortifications represented an impressive step forward in zombie readiness.
Peter Capaldi made his first official appearance in "Doctor Who" in 2013, but he didn't fully take over the role until the debut of his first season as the time-traveling Gallifreyan in 2014. He presented legions of Whovians with an older, spikier version of the Doctor, a big change from Matt Smith's young, whimsical character.
The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission reached a dramatic high point in November when the spacecraft set about sending its lander Philae down to the surface of a comet. Philae reached its destination, though the plucky lander soon ran out of battery power due to its awkward low-sunlight location. The saga of the lander entranced geeks and space fans the world over.
Published:Caption:Amanda KooserPhoto:ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Potato salad conquers Kickstarter
A Kickstarter project with a humble $10 goal ended up making headlines as it rocketed toward a $55,492 final funding mark. Zack Brown's potato-salad project became a crowdfunding phenomenon stocked with backers who loved the silliness of it all and critics who hated to see such a strange little project pull in so much monetary success. It also spawned a slew of imitators, from bacon cupcakes to pancakes-by-mail. It showed the world how the power of Kickstarter could both stir up a debate and bring people closer together, much like mayonnaise holds together the chunks of tuber and pickles in a creamy potato salad.
Published:Caption:Amanda KooserPhoto:Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET
Jetpack propels runners at high speed
The 4-minute mile could be in reach of average runners if they're willing to strap on a special jetpack designed to boost speed. The dual-jets design comes from Arizona State University engineering student Jason Kerestes. It adds thrust on the runner's lower back by shooting bursts of air for more propulsion than you can manage with feet alone. It's not exactly the flying jetpack of the future we all wanted, but it's still pretty darn cool.
Published:Caption:Amanda KooserPhoto:Video screenshot by Anthony Domanico/CNET
'Guardians' adds humor to superheroics
This past year brought us superhero films ranging from "X-Men: Days of Future Past" to "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Those movies offered plenty to geek out about, but Marvel's "Guardian of the Galaxy" kicked box-office butt by wiping away the serious sheen of modern comic-book-based films and going for geeky, humorous abandon.
"Guardians" didn't spend too much time developing a dark, angsty origin story. Instead, it went for cheesy '70s pop music and tiny dancing trees. It also inspired this delightfully nerdy Groot swing, a custom playground item that will be on many a geek's wish list.
We have enjoyed well over a decade of "Lord of the Rings"-related movies from director Peter Jackson. With the December release of "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," we can say goodbye to a film era stuffed full of magic rings, fire-breathing dragons, shiny elves, hairy feet and wizened wizards. The books, merchandising and marathon re-watching sessions will help Jackson's epic vision live on, but the final film's debut makes for a fitting end to a year of legendary geekiness.