Sure, the Newton's cradle reigns supreme as the world's most mesmerizing desktop toy. But if you're looking for a replacement, we've a lot of ideas. (This story was originally posted in 2019 and has been recently updated with a handful of new picks.)
Take ScienceGeek's twist on the classic office toy: It changes color as the suspended LED-light balls swing.
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Put Sunnytech's Stirling-engine contraption on top of your morning mug of hot coffee, and watch it whirl and hear it clink. When it stops, you'll know your beverage has reached a pleasing drinking temperature.
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The whole Ball of Whacks
This think piece, developed by veteran workplace creativity consultant Roger von Oech is a 30-sided polyhedron that's assembled from 30 tiny magnetic pyramids and can be reassembled in almost any way you can, well, think of.
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Light it up
Crazy Aaron's specializes in what it calls thinking putty. We like Crazy Aaron's Strange Attractor variety because, one, it's magnetic, two, it comes with a magnet, three, the magnet makes the putty sparkle, and four, we just know it'll make us the talk of the office.
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Fun with ferrofluid
Take iron-rich fluid, put it in a bottle, add two magnets to the outside of the bottle and what do you get? Peaks and patterns reminiscent of the black oil on The X-Files, all courtesy Mokiki's bottled ferrofluid.