So you've lost your eyeglass case. Yes, again. Gets frustrating, doesn't it? Stop wasting time searching for stuff -- build a device that emits signals you can see and hear, so you can find what you're looking for instantly. Attach remote-control car receivers to any items you frequently misplace, and put the cars' transmitters in a control box that can activate the receivers' lights and sound signals. Then when one of the items goes missing, press the corresponding button on the box, and you'll have it back in no time. Or at least until the next time you need it.
So you’re ready to settle down on the couch in front of a good movie. Wait, there’s still work to be done: Turn off the lights, make popcorn, maybe even mix some drinks in the blender. No, don’t get up—just use a home-built receiver box that lets you turn any household appliance on and off with your TV remote. For example, plug a lamp into an outlet on the box (we’ve dubbed it the Zapper), program one of the remote’s little-used buttons to control it, and the next time you want to watch Halloween VI, you’ll barely have to lift a finger to set the mood.
Al Gore and company have helped us to see that our planet is in peril. Lend a hand, make a toast, and help illuminate ways for saving Earth -- all at the same time! It's easy to do your part: recycle, refill, and recharge.
Customize a circuit’s firmware and make your own personal weather forecast system
By Dave ProchnowPosted 08.08.2008 at 11:13 am 1 Comment
If you've ever wanted to learn how to hack a circuit's firmware, a great beginning point would be SparkFun Electronics. Many of the development, prototyping, and sensor products sold by SparkFun come equipped with a special programming interface. Even better, most of these products feature downloadable firmware. Therefore, with just a modest amount of effort, you can modify one of these products' firmware, reprogram the circuit, and create your own customized product.
Take an accelerometer, add a microcontroller and display, and watch the dollars fly out of your carburetor
By Dave ProchnowPosted 07.03.2008 at 10:46 am 5 Comments
Pain at the pump continues to reach new levels of misery every day. While most of us can’t afford to trade our current gas guzzler for a more fuel economical model, it would be nice to adopt some new driving skills that will translate into greater fuel economy. But where do you start? How do you know if your current jitney is a fuel sipper or a gas guzzler?
Cut down on the squinting by beaming the image on your iPod’s screen onto a wall
By Bård Lund JohansenPosted 07.01.2008 at 3:09 pm 8 Comments
Sometimes, when you're trying to immerse yourself in a movie or television show on an iPod's diminutive screen, you just need to go bigger. Here's how: Turn your Classic or Nano into a home theater with a simple, unpowered DIY projector.
Using the Everex gBook as a base, easily swap large CF cards for multiple OS booting and quasi-SSD storage
By Dave ProchnowPosted 05.08.2008 at 6:56 pm 1 Comment
No doubt about it; Everexs gBook computer is a hackers dream PC. While we weren't too fond of the company's entry into the ultra-portable market, the gBook sings a different tune: On top of being a fairly well-equipped, full-size VIA-based budget laptop, the gBook also sports some impressive hidden features when the hood is lifted and the tires kicked. And while they may not be immediately apparent, in the hands of a seasoned tinkerer the gBook's extras can allow for some inspired modding.
Even if you're not familiar with the Theremin itself, it's very likely you've heard its loopy electronic tones before. Remember those spooky sound tracks from 1950s science fiction movies? Well, chances are pretty good that those oscillating noises were generated by a Theremin.
Designed by Russian physicist Leon Theremin circa 1919, the two-handed instrument was one of the first ever electronic musical instruments and the first instrument one could play without physically touching it. Thirty years after its invention, the Theremin was popularized by American synthesizer godfather Robert Moog in the 1950s and immortalized in the classic Sci-Fi flick The Day the Earth Stood Still.
A full-fledged Theremin will set you back nearly $400, but with the instructions below, you can build a pocket-sized Theremin-like instrument that wont break the bank. Unlike the real McCoy which relies on grounded variable capacitance for changing frequency and volume with the wave of a hand, our Pocket Theremin uses variations in light for producing its unearthly vibrato.
Who needs pen and paper? Jot down reminders on a digital screen, using only your finger
By Dave ProchnowPosted 03.11.2008 at 11:56 am 8 Comments
Pick up milk. Feed dog. Finish homemade nuclear sub. Like many people, I cant function without writing little reminders to myself. But using one paper sticky note after another causes a lot of clutter and can be pretty wasteful. Instead, assemble a bunch of surplus parts into a digital note system for your kitchen or office. Just write out your message with your fingertip on a computer trackpad, and it appears on an LCD screen.