While going through one of my favorite found-image blogs, Happy Palace
, I came across these photos of projects from Simon Quellen Field's blog, SciToys. I was already somewhat familiar with SciToys, because I built the Gauss Rifle project
(which uses a ruler and some magnets to accelerate a steel ball), but it looks like the site has been updated since I last dropped by.
Happy Palace didn't say which projects the pictures were from, so I went to SciToys and looked them up. In doing so, I saw a bunch of other projects, many of which had animations of the things in action. They are fantastic, because they are simple, yet novel contraptions that demonstrate rules of physics, optics, and electricity in fun and surprising ways. These projects are just the sort of thing you hope for when you get a book of "amazing science projects." In fact, Simon has a book out, called Gonzo Gizmos: Projects & Devices to Channel Your Inner Geek. It's the best science project book I've ever seen.
It's worthwhile going through the entire site to see what Simon has made, but here are the three projects that Happy Palace featured:
This is a "Three-Penny" radio, a very simple battery-powered transistor radio. The three pennies serve as junction points for the soldered components. Instructions here.
This is a homopolar motor. The funky wire frame spins slowly around the battery. Here is an animated gif of the thing in action. I already have a few of these small but very strong magnets (if you play with two of them long enough you will eventually get painfully pinched, I promise you) from the gauss rifle project I made last year. I'm going to make one of these this weekend if I can find the time. Instructions here.
This is a simple crystal radio made from a plastic bottle, a plastic ball point pen tube, a germanium diode, and some wire. Instructions here.
This gadget does exactly as promised: it looks like a thumbdrive (sort of) and fries the circuitry of any computer it’s plugged into. It’s made from camera flash parts, is charged with a standard AA battery, and delivers a 300V zap of DC destruction to the port for all your USB-murdering needs. Note that this […]
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
Holiday shopping is in full swing, and the Striiv Touch is one of the best gift ideas I’ve landed on. Its simple design works for females and males, and its wide range of features makes it suitable for even the non-fitness enthusiasts in your life.Unlike traditional fitness trackers, the Striiv Touch also acts as a smartwatch. It […]
The Pocket Tripod PRO had massive Kickstarter success in 2013, raising almost $85,000 in a single month. But this isn’t just another case of pre-release product hype. This ingenious little device folds out from a credit-card-shaped plastic slab into a sturdy stand with a surprisingly wide range of motion. In portrait orientation, your phone slides […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]