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From subtle geekery to blatantly techie devices, Valentine's Day gifts suit a range of personalities
Treat your Valentine to a cool gift with a techie vibe. Some of our ideas are sweet (personalized bracelets), some savory (a bacon-infused chocolate pig), and the geekery quotient ranges from subtle to blatant.
Inspired by old-school travel clocks, the portable Geneva XS Sound System ($250) comes in a leather-like clamshell case that's the perfect Valentine's Day hue. It has a digital FM clock radio, Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming, alarm clock, and touch-sensitive controls that illuminate when in use.
The artist behind Lil Miss Katie's Etsy shop is Katie Eldridge, and she stamps every longitude/latitude character on her personalized bracelets (starting at $28) by hand. You can buy a single bracelet or a pair. If you're in a long-distance relationship, there's an option with two coordinates stamped onto a single charm.
Nothing says "I love you" like a Periodic table rendition. DefineDesign11 is the creator of this geeky print ($12).
Chocolate + bacon
Vosges' Flying Chocolate Pig ($8) is filled with hickory-smoked uncured bacon, Alderwood smoked salt and milk chocolate. Need we say more?
The boxy Cuboluce Lamp, available from MoMA Store ($175), is made by Italian manufacturer Cini & Nils and based on a 1972 design by Franco Bettonica and Mario Melocchi. Just open the reflective lid of the cube to light up a room. It’s a bold, bright alternative to traditional bedside lighting.
Reclaimed barn wood forms the base of this wireless speaker and iPad dock ($375). The system was carved from an old redwood barn post. Etsy shop dockartisan says it only uses wood from salvaged building materials, fallen trees or standing dead trees for its one-of-a-kind tech accessories (see the whole stunning collection here).
Subatomic particle plush toys
Julie Peasley is the seamstress, Web designer, inventor, packager, proofreader and emailer behind The Particle Zoo, which she launched to raise awareness and interest in the field of particle physics. Her Boson 5-Pack ($50.99) renders the Higgs Boson, Z Boson, W Boson, Gluon and Photon as plush toys.
A luminous connection
If you're separated from your special someone, a pair of social-network inspired lamps can keep you connected in a luminous way. When one partner turns on the Big Lamp, the remote Little Lamp lights up. You can turn on your Good Night Lamp to let your Valentine know you're home and ready to chat. But there’s one Valentine's Day obstacle: It's not available for purchase yet. If your Valentine is patient and likes a techie gamble, the design team aims to have a shipping product sometime in 2013.
Case and carry
If your Valentine likes to keep things minimal, unencumbered by bulky bags, check out the Crossover iPhone 5 case ($34.99) from Quirky. It has silicone straps that protect the phone from impact and provide storage for up to four credit card-size items. The buyer gets to choose the strap colors.
Loaded caramel corn
Liddabit Sweets describes its Bourbon-Coffee-Bacon Caramel Corn ($12) as a "salty, crunchy, smoky, boozy, bacony mélange of awesomeness." It's a recipe for contentment.
Geek or no geek, most of us could use a little more greenery during office hours. The Hedgewood organizer ($32) from Barbara Flanagan offers greenery of the artificial variety. You can stash office supplies, mail and gadgets in the "turf" holder, made of recycled polyethylene.
Etsy shop owner Megan Kintzel creates biolojewelry -- earrings, necklaces and charms inspired by neurotransmitters, caffeine molecules and more (prices start at $6). Her work is nerdy, creative and charming.
Pi in the kitchen
The Pi Kitchen Towel ($25) is aimed at math-minded foodies, says Brian Johnson, owner of Etsy shop theUncommonGreen. The digits of pi are screenprinted onto 100% cotton flour sacks. It's a simple, mathematical constant.
Concrete seems more like a material for Luddites than for tech accessories, but fmcdesign makes it work in its concrete iPhone 5 docking station ($30). It's unexpected, a little edgy and a solid choice for Valentine's Day.
Game for cookies
Sweets are always a hit on Valentine's Day, and these Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man sugar cookies ($50) have a sugary, retro vibe. The assortment from Etsy shop Askanam includes 12 individually wrapped cookies, packaged in a pastry box.
Marianne Olry's Meteorite Necklace ($145) is actually made from lightweight polyester resin on plastic-coated wire, but the iridescent shapes are designed to resemble astronomical objects from outer space.
Taco Bell, anyone?
If your Valentine is a fan of fast food, make a run for the border with the Taco Bell Packet iPhone 5 case cover ($16.99) from Etsy shop DanazDesigns. It's HOT.
Sugarfina's Antioxidant Bento Box ($50) combines superfoods with sugary sweets for a treat any Valentine can feel less guilty about enjoying. The assortment includes candies such as dark chocolate goji berries, chocolate-coated pomegranate seeds, and green tea caramels.
Do you <3 emoticons?
If you want to tell your Valentine how much you <3 her, the heart necklace ($22) from Etsy shop WillowPi does it in emoticon style.
Vibrant textiles set apart Eastern Collective's micro USB, mini USB, lightning, 30-pin and auxiliary cables (starting at $12.95). The graphic woven cords stand out in a sea of monochromatic device cords, so you'll never mistake your Valentine's for someone else's adapter.
The Orbit Necklace ($385) from Rone' Prinz Jewelry combines sterling silver forms, spinning copper discs and a steel cable to create a sculptural design with a planetary vibe.
The art of grammar
GrammaticalArt combines graphic design with science and grammar subjects, finding the humor in periodic elements, grammatical errors and all sorts of geekery. Cards, prints and T-shirts are available, starting at $4.50.
Recycled tech parts
Resistors, capacitors, diodes, oscillators, MOVs, transistors and other industrial leftovers are inspiration for Etsy shop PeriwinkleDzyns. These funky lattice earrings ($25) are made from recycled electronic components that haven't been in contact with solder or circuit boards, says the shop owner, who works out of a studio in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
3D printing translates nature's cellular forms into light and airy jewelry made from nylon plastic. MoMA Store offers Wave rings ($35) and bracelets ($98), designed by Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, in multiple colors, including ready-for-Valentine's-Day red.
Eat your heart out
A brain, heart, spleen, liver, stomach ... if it's an internal organ, Wendy Bryan has probably turned it into a squeezable, anatomically inspired plush ($20). They’re bizarre, geeky and surprisingly endearing.