Top Web Gadgets of 2007 The iPhone may be high on the list of shiny and expensive gadgets, but many of the coolest gizmos don't cost a thing. Joomla and Drupal are two software platforms that help create complex Internet sites. And Fab-At-Home is a printer that makes 3D objects.
NPR logo Top Web Gadgets of 2007

Top Web Gadgets of 2007

Fab-At-Home, a printer that makes 3D objects, was designed by Cornell University researchers who put the plans up on the Internet for free. The parts cost about $2,400. hide caption

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Fab-At-Home, a printer that makes 3D objects, was designed by Cornell University researchers who put the plans up on the Internet for free. The parts cost about $2,400.

If you wanted a shiny and expensive gadget last year, there were some obvious choices: the iPhone and the iPod touch, for example.

But in 2007, many of the coolest new gizmos don't cost a thing.

Joomla and Drupal are two free, open-source software platforms that let anybody create incredibly complex Internet sites on their own.

You can make your own powerful and sophisticated discussion group, auction site, wiki, online magazine — or whatever else you can dream up — using relatively simple tools. Both have been around a while but became far more mature and easy to use in 2007.

Probably the single coolest gadget this year is the Fab-at-Home. It's like a printer that makes 3-dimensional objects. You can make just about anything you want out of plastic or rubber — or even food. Create your own working rubber flashlight, a cheese castle or a chocolate plate that spells out your name.

These 3D fabrication machines are not entirely new, but until now they cost tens of thousands of dollars. The Fab-At-Home was designed by Cornell University researchers who put the plans up on the Internet for free. If you want to make one, you'll have to spend around $2,400 on parts. But then, perhaps, you can create the coolest gadget of 2008.