A sound-activated device that gives you more freedom than any store-bought clapper could wish for
By Pete Mills as told to Amanda SchupakPosted 06.15.2012 at 12:15 pm 8 Comments
One night, I was trying to draw a circuit on a chalkboard, but it became too dark to see. The next day I bought a new lamp, only to find that the board gave off too much glare. I needed a light I could easily adjust. I could have just installed a dimmer, but where’s the fun in that? As an engineer, I like to do projects that use a little electronics, a bit of mechanics and some software.
The options for streaming music over the Internet have increased so dramatically lately that I’ve found my FM radio has become totally irrelevant. Still, I like to be able to listen to a lot of different types of music throughout the day, and I love radios too much to give up on them completely. Now that several music services, such as Last.fm, have released their programming interfaces to the public, I decided to build a custom Wi-Fi radio that can stream my favorite stations and ensure that I’ll always hear music I like.
By Ryan Rusnak, as told to Amanda SchupakPosted 06.13.2011 at 10:30 am 12 Comments
I have a background in programming, but a program by itself has limited use. I was like, man, I need to make a project that will actually control something. I had my old mini-fridge from college lying around and, I thought, how about an iPhone-controlled drink vending machine? So I did it . . . and it sucked. You could control it from your living room—or from China—but the cans just rolled out onto the floor. It was a pain to walk over and get them. I wanted to get a beer to travel from the fridge across a room with minimal effort and maximum cool.
Go here to see how you can build a beer cannon just like Ryan's.
Pearl, my beloved labradoodle, dutifully watched me build myself a new house for the past three years. So when I was almost finished, I decided to build her a place of her own. A standard model just wouldn't do, though, so I went a little overboard. After creating the design with CAD software, I added a solar hot-water radiant-heating system and made a green roof that retains rainwater, creates oxygen, and improves insulation.
The hosts of Food Jammers show how to make a version of a multimillion-dollar commercial grain puffer for about 50 bucks. See the video inside
By Micah Donovan, Christopher Martin, Nobu AdilmanPosted 02.15.2011 at 10:59 am 1 Comment
The machinery that snack and cereal companies use to transform rice and other foods into puffed snacks is expensive and operates at extreme pressures and temperatures. Since you can buy the resulting cheese puffs, rice cakes and toasty oat cereals anywhere, why try to make them ourselves? Because we were curious whether we could figure out a cheap way to crack the code of puffing technology. Plus, we like to build elaborate machines and to blow things up, even if it's only spelt grains and millet cakes.
What happens when life takes you somewhere that lacks Internet access or electricity, but you need to use your computer? Whether you’re faking out your boss while on a long fishing trip, or suffering through an extended power outage, there are times when laptop batteries won’t cut it. That’s when this portable solar office setup comes in handy. With a few off-the-shelf parts, you’ll have continuous juice and Wi-Fi anywhere there’s sun and a cellphone signal.
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.
Reading a clock is one thing; really knowing the time is quite another. For everyday timekeeping needs, we use a standard known as Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC, which is derived from International Atomic Time, a consensus of more than 200 clocks that keep precise time based on the movement of electrons.
Here's a project sure to head off your road rage. Instead of silently fuming the next time you're stuck in traffic behind some attention-deficient driver who fails to move when the light turns green, just give him a friendly yet firm word of encouragement through your DIY megaphone. He'll definitely get the message. The device projects your voice using a small microphone connected to a preamplifier and boosted with a power-amplifier circuit. It won't deafen anyone, but it can provide a step up to more than twice your normal speaking volume.
There’s nothing better than Guys’ Night, an evening of gaming or movies in my basement media room. The only trouble is when we (invariably) order pizza, because I can’t hear the doorbell from there. The solution: an inexpensive DIY digital surveillance system tied to Twitter.