Rachel James of CBS Interactive's Smart Planet interviewed me about making stuff around the house.
You are currently working on a new book. What’s it about?
I haven’t seen a lot of cool project books for girls. My girls aren’t that interested in the kind of crafting books that are out there right now. So this one is going to have fun projects for dads and daughters together, which is rare. A lot of the time the projects are fun for dads, while the girls don’t find them that interesting, or vice versa.
So one of the projects we’re working on now is a kitty cam. It’s a way to put a miniature video camera on a cat’s collar. Then when your cat runs around, either outside or in the house, you get the kitty’s eye view. We have one cat who likes to jump up in trees and on the roof. So we get all these great scenes from our cat.
That’s great. Where does the camera come from?
You can buy these tiny cameras that look like a key fob. They’re smaller than a Tic Tac box and cost about eight dollars. We’re still working on the rig.
Tell me about your process of inventing. It sounds like you do a lot of this work in collaboration with your family. Do you come up with the ideas on your own?
My daughters and I come up with the ideas, and my wife gives us great feedback on everything. For example my younger daughter Jane and I are writing a program for a retro arcade-style video game. We’re using a program called Scratch, developed at MIT’s Media Lab. Jane and I have written the program together and she’s created the art for it. A little character collects different kinds of droplets that fall out of the sky – some are bad for you, some give you bonus skills, etc… We collaborate with all of our different projects.