Inventables: A Store for Superheroes & Hackers
Founded by Zach Kaplan, a "serial entrepreneur" with a B.S. in mechanical engineering, Inventables is a futuristic online hardware store based out of Chicago. The company sells innovative materials at much smaller quantities than typically available—largely to artists, inventors, developers, and researchers. If you've got a brilliant idea and cash to spare, careful, you just may go hog wild. My premature "Dear Santa" wishlist-in-progress:
Although it may look like glass and break like glass, this material is soft, harmless, and as its name infers, rubbery. Rubber Glass is a non-toxic silicone that can simulate the effect of broken glass or ice for use in filmmaking SFX. Just mix it up, and let it set it in the shape you need. The James Bond film Die Another Day used over 1.5 tons of it while filming.
$44.10 for one 4 pound trial kit.
While normal sand sinks when immersed in water, this "magical" hydrophobic sand floats to the surface and keeps dry while immersed. It's been used to waterproof/protect underground wires in cold climates, but what could you use it for? Not sure, but it sounds awesome. Comment below if you have any genius ideas.
$6.99 for 1 lb of blue waterproof sand.
You know those talking greeting cards? Now you can create your own. The Talking Tape works as follows: "The ribbon has grooves just like a traditional record. When your fingernail is pulled down the ribbon, it causes sound vibrations. The card works as the amplifier to make the sound louder. You can replace the card with a plastic cup, a balloon, a greeting card, or just about anything."
$13.00 for a 24 1/2 in long piece that says "Congratulations".
Made from basalt rock and slag, mineral wool can resist temperatures up to around 1,832 °F. Insulate your walls for assured indestructibility. In addition to fire prevention, it also provides superb sound absorbency, and repels water.
$8.59 for one 24 in x 48 in x 2 in sheet.
Called a wide-angle Fresnel lens, this unique, fabric-like optical lens can magnify objects easily and flexibly. Roll it up, stuff it in your pocket, and magnify-on-the-go!
$45.41 for one 6 in x 8 in piece.
Photoluminescent tape charges in the daylight and glows in the dark. Perfect for a power outage, or safety markings—or whatever creative application you can dream up.
$50.95 for one 1 in x 50 ft tape roll.
Screw-strong tape is an adhesive with Superman abilities. Used as an alternative to mechanical fasteners, it can replace screws, rivets, bolts, and even welding. Currently used for construction or electronics.
$37.81 for one 15 yd roll.
Used for signage, wall cladding, and displays in private, public and retail spaces, aluminum foam is a natural large cell foam that looks like "frozen molten bubbles", and can be manipulated by hand.
$51.94 for one 6 in × 10 in sample.
Noisy neighbor? Close to an elevated train or commuter rail? Muffle both sound and vibration with sound-dampening paint, a sprayable, viscoelastic polymer. Cheap and eco-friendly, it was primarily developed for nonporous materials such as stainless steel, galvanized iron, aluminum, and plastics. It can reduce noise levels by 6-20 decibels.
$59.95 for 1 gallon.
Knit yourself a stainless steel sweater with this 100% steel and soft-to-touch yarn. Strong, durable, and resistant to tearing, it is 10 times heavier than cotton, yet retains a soft feel because "its fibers are continuous—there are no bristling fiber ends poking out as there are with spun yarns".
$350.00 for 1 kg spool.