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10 great built environment gift ideas for the holidays

10 great built environment gift ideas for the holidays

'Tis the season to bring joy to others and share of our bounty. So why not do it in a way that supports the built environment and/or educates us in a fun and engaging way? No matter what holiday you're celebrating at this time of year, it is a time of hope, renewal, and infinite possibilities. With that in mind, we dedicate this week's Thursday Ten to the gifts we'd love to get, which we also bet friends and loved ones on your list would love to receive...

1. THE MORPHOLIO BOARD

Morpholio Board is "changing the design game." It allows users to effortlessly layout, collage and illustrate with a series of photos, images, sketches and annotations to generate beautiful and informative boards that are easy to share. Ideal for designers, architects, photographers, artists, etc., the utility enables them to easily build custom layouts, communicate via drawings or notes, and circulate fluently with your global network. Click here to find out how.

2. ARCHISKETCH APP

Archisketch, formerly Archipad, is a new iPad sketching app by Urban Design that’s ideal for architects, interior and product designers. While there are many sketching apps on the market, what makes Archisketch unique is that it is scale aware. Once you set the scale of your drawing sheet, the drawings will be completely scaled to the real world, even down to the line thickness. 

3. PROJECT TANGO TABLET

A personal favorite of Michael Nuñez, technology editor at Popular ScienceProject Tango is an ultra-advanced 3D-modeling device developed by Google. The Android-powered device has a 7-in. screen, two rear-facing cameras, and additional infrared sensors that enable it to create 3-D models of the area around it. The Project Tango Tablet Development Kit contains customized hardware and software designed to track full 3-dimensional motion while simultaneously capturing geometry of the environment.

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4. ADOBE MOLESKINE

Simplify the creative process and create work using both analog and digital without restrictions. The Moleskine Smart Notebook and companion App, Creative Cloud connected, instantly turn your hand-drawn sketches into fully workable vector files accessible within the Adobe Creative Cloud. Find the complete product line here

5. ARCHIBLOCKS

Simple. Portable. Fun. This collection of wood blocks inspires the master builder inside all of us.

6. LEGO RESEARCH INSTITUTE  (limited edition!)

For kids of every age...

  • Build the model voted for by LEGO Ideas members! Includes paleontologist, astronomer and chemist mini figures
  • Features paleontology, astronomy and chemistry scenes on a 6x6 baseplate, Astronomy scene features a telescope and a sky chart
  • Paleontology scene features a dinosaur skeleton, microscope and a magnifying glass, Chemistry scene features a cabinet, tools, bottles and flasks. For more, click here. 
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7. SAMSUNG VR

Making strides within virtual reality, Samsung is rolling out Project Beyonda camera that provides a true 360-degree, 3D experience. Remarkably, and with minimal lag time, it allows multiple users to look around at one scene captured by the camera without interrupting others’ experiences.

8. FORM LABS FORM1+ 3D PRINTER

Finally, a 3D printer built for your home office. A printer that just works. No calibration needed. Get set up and start printing in as little as 15 minutes. High-performance resins engineered by our material scientists for reliable printing with astounding detail. Load the model via USB, hit a button, and get on with what's important: your design! "It's alive!"

9. SCOUT ALARM SYSTEM

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, high-tech devices, such as this alarm system, are becoming increasingly accessible to the general public. Billed as 'hassle-free', the Scout offers "a ridiculously easy setup. No holes in your walls. No tools necessary. No need to miss work to let strangers into your home. Get the entire Scout system up and running yourself in minutes."

10. LAST-MINUTE DEALS: CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE FOUNDATION

  Frank Lloyd Wright mug.

  Frank Lloyd Wright mug.

Conveniently located on Michigan Avenue near the Art Institute and multiple train and bus stops, the CAF Gift Shop is perfect if you forgot to pick up that extra something for that special someone who also happens to love architecture. From puzzles, pens, and ornaments to framed Plans of Chicago, coffee table books and stylish Frank Lloyd Wright-designed desk lamps, this treasure trove of a store is part history museum, part celebration of the design influences that have shaped our metropolitan mosaic.

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