With the glut of e-book readers now on the market, Barnes & Noble's Nook is easy to overlook—it's not as ubiquitous as Amazon's Kindle or as slick as Apple's iPad. But the Nook has something that its competitors don't: It runs on Google's open-source Android platform, so you can hack it to add functions that go well beyond just displaying an e-ink version of War and Peace. Among other things, you can install the Pandora music service, news feeds and a Twitter application, all for free.
Drive for long enough, and eventually you'll experience it: that helpless feeling that comes when you discover you've locked your keys in your car. Before it happens again, install a system that unlocks your car doors with your cellphone. The setup involves using the Bluetooth module from a cheap wireless printer, which receives a command from your phone and sends it to a switch connected to your car's spare electronic key fob. Instead of telling the printer to print a photo like it normally would, the phone signals it to trigger the unlocking mechanism. Stash the system under a seat (plugged into a lighter socket for power), and a few keystrokes will pop open the doors from up to 10 feet away.
In 1894, American inventor Simon Lake designed the Argonaut Jr., a wheeled vehicle that would drive along the seafloor, the only way to reliably navigate underwater at the time. The unusual concept has inspired sub aficionados ever since. Among its fans are Doug and Kay Jackson, married DIYers from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who in June built a watertight replica from lumber, lead and enough marine epoxy to overflow a bathtub.
Fire enthusiasts have long used propane "poofers" to shoot huge fireballs for oddball art projects and theatrical special effects. As someone who has always been, as my grandfather puts it, "interested in exothermic reactions," I've seen and built my share of them, too. But this time around, I decided to try a new approach that incorporates some striking visual elements as well as a bit of science.
When I first saw this photograph of a man's hand submerged in liquid nitrogen at somewhere below -320° F, my immediate thought was, "That guy must be crazy! One second in that stuff, and you're shopping for new skin!" My shock was tempered only slightly by the fact that it was my hand, and we'd taken the picture just a minute earlier.
A car-lighter-powered shower for when you get a little too much of the Great Outdoors on you
By Calvin BrennanPosted 08.03.2010 at 1:05 pm 2 Comments
How to Build It
1. Attach a small piece of tubing to the outlet on a 12-volt output pump [A].
2. Add an elbow fitting to the tubing, and connect a length of hose [B]. Run the hose to another elbow fitting, and screw that to a piece of plastic pipe [C].
3. Attach an elbow fitting to the other end of the pipe, and screw a showerhead [D] to it.
4. Wire the pump to a 12-volt car lighter plug [E], and drop the pump in a bucket of water.
With practically everything going digital, it’s easy to run out of hard-drive space. You can keep track of how full your drive is with your computer’s default file manager: In Windows, go to Start, then My Computer; in OS X, look at the bottom of any Finder window. Most of us notice a problem only after the drive is already full, though.
It sounds like the promise of an ad in the back of a PopSci issue from the 1950s. Build your own replicating machine! Make anything you desire in your own garage! But that's exactly what veteran hacker Bre Pettis and his pals offer with their CupCake CNC kit: a computer-controlled 3-D printer that can whip up almost any object of less than four inches on a side from two kinds of plastic. The company's goal is to make home manufacturing cheap and common. And the whole setup is open-source, so anybody can modify and improve the design, or even copy it wholesale.
You may associate remote control with the urge to jump little R/C cars through walls of fire in your backyard, but that’s just the beginning of what you can do with the technology. Once you’ve mastered the basic concepts, the same parts and techniques used in toys can be used to control machines big and small, practical and absurd.
Four years ago, engineer Tony Nijhuis was visiting an aviation museum in Duxford, England, when he spotted his next project: the iconic World War II–era Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Nijhuis has been building electric models since he was a boy, but he had been thinking about doing something bigger. Much bigger. The result is a replica that— with a 20-foot wingspan, period decals, and loudspeakers that blare sounds of the real engine—boasts nearly everything but the bombs.