10 nerdiest Linux gadgets

Of all the nerdy Linux gadgets out there, these take the cake.

What follows are 10 gadgets. All nerdy. All running Linux. You can easily rate the nerdiness of a person by how many of the following little doo-dads they have (or have had) in their house. Don't fret if you don't get a 10/10. Nobody gets a 10/10. There's just no chance. But, on the other hand, if you score a 2 or lower... you need to turn in your nerd card.

Raspberry Pi

Any list of nerdy, Linux-powered gadgets that doesn't immediately list the Raspberry Pi would be a very bad list of nerdy, Linux-powered gadgets. While the Raspberry Pi is technically more of a computer than a “gadget,” this itty-bitty, ARM-based powerhouse is high on every good nerd’s want list. Plus, there are some cool add-ons (including high-def audio) as well as a COM module (which is sort of like saying “ATM Machine”) version.

Makerbot Replicator Mini

Ever want to make your own LEGO-shaped pieces? How about a small model of the Eiffel Tower? Well, if you've got $1,375 burning a hole in your pocket, the Linux-powered (and ARM-based) MakerBot Replicator Mini is just for you. You could even use it to build a custom case for your Raspberry Pi.

Rubik's Cube Robot

LEGO. Linux. Robot. Rubik's Cube. Those are some of the most wonderfully nerdy words in the English language. Combine them together and you've got a mega Linux-powered robot – built from LEGO pieces (and an Android-powered phone) – that recently broke the world speed record for solving a Rubik's Cube at 3.253 seconds (aka "roughly the amount of time it takes me to pick up a Rubik's Cube off the table").

Linux-powered rifle

Looking for a gadget that is slightly more lethal than a Rubik's Cube-solving robot? Check out this Linux-powered rifle. Not only is it running Linux under the hood, it also has a laser and a USB port. I repeat - this is a Linux-powered rifle with a USB port. I wonder if I could boot Gentoo on this off a thumb drive...

Linux/Android Watches

While we're on the topic of "stuff that James Bond would use," let's talk about watches. Every good super spy needs a multi-function watch. And while the current crop of Linux-powered "smart watches" don't have hidden wires to use for strangling people, they do allow you to see messages and run a few other cool apps. Which is probably a tad more useful, day-to-day.

Improv Board

I think of the Improv as kinda-sorta like a Raspberry Pi, only with quite a bit more oomph (dual-core 1Ghz ARM CPU and 1GB of RAM) for roughly twice the price (about $75). It also boots Debian and Android and a SATA port. This little doodad is really focused on customizing and building unique systems more than simply as a small form factor PC. However, I kind of want one for that purpose as well.

JetBox 5300

Hypothetical situation: You're on an asteroid headed straight for Earth. You need to detonate a nuclear warhead in order to alter the path of the asteroid and save life as we know it. There’s oly one problem - the detonator must be triggered by sending a command through a serial port. And all you have is a laptop with an Ethernet port. Oh, well. Earth is doomed. But wait! What's this? The Korenix JetBox 5300? A sturdy Linux box (rocking an adorable little 185MHz CPU) with 2 Ethernet ports and 4 serial ports... and it can act as a Serial-to-Ethernet gateway. That's $700 well spent.

Pistol Grip Barcode Scanner

If you've ever gotten married (or had a baby) and had to go through the process of registering for gifts... you know this wonderful little gadget quite well. It's a barcode scanner shaped like a gun. Want people to buy you a toaster. Shoot it. Need a blender? Also shoot it. I could give more examples, but you get the point. You shoot things. (Did I mention that it runs Yocto Linux?)

Arduino Anything

The Arduino prototyping boards are legendary. Want to build something cool with flashing lights and knobs? Want to have some actual logic involved? Arduino. There are boards and add-ons aplenty. You can even use Intel's Galileo (running Linux) to have a high-end CPU and really dial the possibilities up to 11. (I can't believe I just wrote “dial up to 11.” What is this, a 1980's commercial for Pop Rocks? Note to self: Replace that with a better metaphor before I send this to my editor. Wait. Is it a metaphor or analogy? Damn. I can never remember the difference. Sure glad nobody will ever read this part... or my career would be toast.)

Linksys WRT54G

The Linksys WRT54G wireless router is legendarily hackable. Every good Linux nerd over the last decade has had one of these bad boys (or wanted one). No other router out there allowed you the freedom and flexibility to run just about whatever you wanted. It was a beautiful little router. Luckily, Linksys brought out the Linux-powered WRT1900AC – sort of the spiritual successor to the WRT54G. And there was much rejoicing.

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