For those who ditched their click-and-clacking Newton's Cradle decades ago, this Solar Marble Machine just might be the modern ball-based meditation tool of your DIY dreams. What does it "do"? Not much! But that's precisely the point.
I mean, technically it has a very simple repetitive function: Solarbotics crafted the gear-and-spiral combo to operate in time with a smart circuit that stores energy collected from a mini solar cell. Every few seconds (or minutes, if you're in a windowless cube) the wheel turns a teensy bit, releasing a marble down the twisty slide to the bottom, where it's eventually carried up to the top again. If you're in a really dark spot — like Milton in the basement keeping company with a sad red Swingline — you can make the whole thing make its rounds manually.
The kit comes with all the parts you need — motors, diodes, transistors and capacitors — but you will have to track down a soldering iron to put them together.
Desktop stress-relievers and mental distractions might seem a little outdated — a goofy toy buy at the shopping centre — and mobile offices make outfitting a physical workspace a bit of a dying breed, but I dig this modified, automated Mouse Trap gadget, and would gladly while away a bitty chunk of time watching these little thangs roll (it's never not mesmerising). Buy one here for $US33. [Maker Shed; Solarbotics]