Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: xeni@boingboing.net.

15 Responses to “Digital Open Winners: From pocket-sized Altoids tin hack, big dreams emerge”

  1. wgmleslie says:

    Nick’s documentation and business are far more impressive than the project itself. It’s one thing to cobble something together but not everyone can explain the process for others.

    That being said, a true hack of an Altoids tin would use some property of the tin like its capacitance to vary the beam output.

    With Nick’s project, the Altoids tin isn’t strictly necessary: you simply embed those components in something electrically non-conductive like Silly Putty and you have a “self-adhesive ergonomic autoconformal flashlight.” (I leave the pocket lint problem to future inventors.)

    Best quote: “I wanted to keep this going, and I did not want this to be a one time thing.” — I hope he does.

  2. ZoopyFunk says:

    Wow. Being unimpressed gets you a fresh douche? Troll? Jerk? God what has this site become.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Starting the business is cool, but not taking down the instructions and locking them down is the really cool part. What’s that? People will still pay for kits even with the instructions freely available to DIY? That takes guts on his part, because it’s bucking what most would consider ‘common sense’, and yet it works.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Although the flashlight is basic, he started an awesome business, which is something that many teenagers do not have the opportunity to start. The fact that he started a business in the midst of the recession is stunning…and at only 16. Props to this kid.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The flashlight’s not impressive, but this guy’s making money from his efforts, and that is.

  6. CANTFIGHTTHEDITE says:

    Agreed, flashlights are a good start, but nothing to write home about. Then again, if neither of his parents are technically inclined and don’t “work with their hands” then he should get a pat on the back for, most likely, going against the grain and following his heart.

  7. Xeni Jardin says:

    SirWompus, you win the ultimate Troll Power award for the day — making fun of a teenager who’s trying to do something interesting with technology, and botching the facts about his accomplishments? Way to be a total douche. Nick is a cool kid, and it takes a real jerk to try to rain on a young person’s parade like that.

  8. SirWompus says:

    Not impressed. At his age I was building amplified AM radios and logic gates out of transistors, later on a anonymous robot using a basic stamp chip all without kits. The novelty of building a flashlight is great but not at that age.

    • Anonymous says:

      The kits are based off of his projects, not the other way around.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      As a matter of fact Mister Cranky Pants, my cousin built an electric eye out of stuff in his kitchen drawers. When he was eight. I guess that utterly negates your accomplishments? Right?

      Right?

  9. Anonymous says:

    He’s cute!

  10. Mitch says:

    I wish Mentos came in a tin.

  11. SirWompus says:

    I know that was totally snarky of me

  12. Anonymous says:

    ohhh SirWompus i believe you might want to put some ice on that Xeniburn. it’s going to leave a mark, but you should regain full use of your faculties — eventually.