Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.
Find a Mother's Day gift with a techie vibe
Mother’s Day is coming up, and we’ve found 25 gifts inspired by tech, science and math for geek-minded matriarchs.
For all those times she comforted you at night, check out this cuff bracelet ($18) inscribed with a line from a poem by 19th century British poet Sarah Williams (and often attributed to Galileo), “I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” The creator of the brass bracelet is Kelley DeLaney from Etsy shop StarryBasementCo.
After studying his own family history, graphic designer Michael Allen started making customized family trees that have a fresh, modern vibe. The Lineage style (pictured; $50) shows four generations, and you can choose from a number of color combinations. More styles are available at Allen’s Etsy shop, ModernTrees.
Hidden heart mug
Show some heart with a ceramic cup that reveals a heart shape when it’s filled. The Hidden Heart Espresso Cup ($35) is made by Daniel Chamberlin, who has a shop on 3D printing company Shapeways.
Jane Eyre book scarf
Help mom get wrapped up in a great tome with a book scarf from Storiarts, a line of wearable literature created by designer Tori Tissell. My personal favorite is the Jane Eyre book scarf (pictured; $42). There are plenty of other literary classics to choose from, including Pride and Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes. You can also opt for fingerless gloves, pillow covers and t-shirts.
Increase mom’s odds of gardening success with Smartpot from Click & Grow. Battery-operated sensors and software measure soil conditions and control the supply of water. Smartpot with Basil (pictured, $79.95) is one option; starter kits with strawberry, chili pepper, mini tomato and other plants are also available.
iPad kitchen stand
The Smart Tools for iPad set ($199.95) from Williams-Sonoma gives a tablet its own place in the kitchen so you can watch cooking shows, browse for recipes, or video chat while you’re cooking. The Kitchen Stand supports a tablet horizontally or vertically in four different positions. The three-piece set also includes a Bluetooth speaker that nests under the Kitchen Stand and a removable Screen Shield to protect the screen from splatters.
Choose two birthdays -- such as a mother and her child’s birthdays -- and Dyo will combine the constellations from their astrological signs to create a pendant. The Dyo jewelry line is an offshoot of Matter.io, a 3-D printing start-up launched by MIT graduates Dylan Reid and Greg Tao. The starscape pendants are available in brass ($75) or silver ($100) via The Grommet.
Leafy phone case
Christopher Beikmann is the artist behind Da Vince Case. His vibrant Green Leaf set ($44.95) includes a zippered wristlet and a matching iPhone case. The artwork, titled “Leaf of Knowledge,” is by Beikmann, who makes and ships the cases from his studio outside of Denver.
Plenty of jewelry makers are inspired by natural forms and complex geometries, but I’m partial to the interpretations by design shop Nervous System. The founders are Jessica Rosenkrantz (who holds degrees in biology and architecture from MIT and Harvard Graduate School of Design) and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg (who majored in mathematics at MIT). The crescent-shaped Vessel pendant ($39.99 for the 3D-printed nylon version) was inspired by the formation of veins in leaves.
The 3D-printed Geometric Urban Code Bag 01 has an architectural quality, like a city façade. Best suited for holding documents, it has a slot for a phone and detachable handles. It’s available from Geometric, a storefront on Shapeways, in nylon plastic ($535.82).
If mom needs power on the go, Anker has her covered. Anker’s second-generation Astro portable external battery ($29.99 via Amazon) packs 6000mAh of power into a candy-bar shaped pack, and the even tinier Astro Mini ($19.99 via Amazon) slips easily into a bag or pocket.
A map can make mom think of a special place -- a former home, a favorite vacation spot, a place she wants to visit. Etsy shop My Bearded Pigeon renders maps on pillow covers. Pictured is a vintage map of Pittsburgh ($52.54), printed on organic cotton. The owners of My Bearded Pigeon, Cath and her husband Neil, live on the east coast of Australia.
This made-to-order watercolor painting ($25) is inspired by the genome of Haemophilus influenza, a bacterium, and the colored bars in the circular genome represent potential protein-coding regions. The artist, Sandra Cullito, is inspired by the simplicity of the circle and the complexity of genomics. She runs an Etsy shop and is based in Rosaryville, Md.
Science beaker terrarium
A trio of glass Erlenmeyer flasks, planted with Dicranum mood moss, makes for a cool terrarium ($59) for a science-loving mom. The tapered shape of the flasks keeps moisture inside and reduces the need for frequent watering, says Patricia the creator and owner of Etsy shop Doodle Birdie Terrariums, based in Eagan, Minn.
Smart air conditioner
Help mom keep cool this summer with a smart air conditioner that raises the bar on design. The Aros window unit from Quirky can “learn” from mom’s budget, location and schedule to automatically maintain her ideal temperature without going over budget. Plus it can be controlled from a mobile device using the Wink app. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon ($300).
It’s in the mail
Is mom nostalgic for the old days of handwritten correspondence? Give her an iPad case made out of upcycled mail bags ($55 from Uncommon Goods). The inside of the canvas cases is lined with ultrasuede to protect devices from scratches.
For sleek tablet viewing on the go, Rain Design’s iSlider pocket stand ($49.90 via Amazon) is lightweight and portable. The base slides out of its aluminum casing and can be adjusted to the user’s preferred viewing angle.
Even when you’re far from home, mom can look in your direction with a functional compass necklace ($26) from JustBeDesigns, an Etsy shop run by Bianca Fleischman in Pawling, N.Y.
Reusable glass cup
Appeal to mom’s earth-loving side with Joco, a reusable glass cup that’s durable, lightweight, and perfect for savoring a cup of coffee. Each Joco cup comes with a silicone thermal sleeve and a lid for splash-free sipping. The 12-ounce cups ($24.95) are available in many colors via The Grommet.
Add a modern touch to mom’s backyard with a handcrafted birdhouse from Etsy shop Twig & Timber of Seattle. Choose from the Modern Craftsman style (pictured; $70) or a number of minimalist alternatives. Each structure is individually handcrafted.
Hand-quilted city map
They’re pricey, but stunning. City quilts from Haptic Lab are hand-stitched to depict cities around the world. Pictured is Washington, D.C. ($450).
Adam Nathaniel Furman, an artist and designer based in London, was inspired by Gothic fan vaults to create his ceramic Fan mug ($62.62 via Shapeways). “… the great gift of the morning brew is elevated to positively ecclesiastical heights in its own inverted cathedral,” writes the artist.
High-tech cooking app
Is mom intrigued by the math, science and physics of cooking? If the six-volume, $446 "Modernist Cuisine" set is too much cookbook, check out another option from techie author Nathan Myhrvold, who was Microsoft's first CTO. “Modernist Cuisine at Home” is geared for home cooks, and it’s available in hardcover ($106.55) and app form (the ebook is $79.99; individual chapters are $4.99).
Give your mom the moon with a bronze-infused stainless steel pendant ($55 via Shapeways), designed with visible print lines and a rough feel for topographic effect. The 3D-modeler and designer, Urbano Rodriguez, is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
A heart-shaped hanging mobile ($93) is a modern take on a Finnish tradition. It’s called a Himmeli, from the Swedish word “himmel,” meaning sky or heaven, according to designer Melissa of Etsy shop Hruskaa. She’s based in Grand Rapids, Mich., and specializes in Scandinavian-inspired designs.
ARN Innovation Awards
Women in ICT Awards