Last chance to buy a TV-B-Gone!


BB pal Mitch Altman informs us that he's ceased manufacturing on his marvelous invention the TV-B-Gone, a keychain remote control that turns off any television with a push of the button. It's great fun in sports bars, airports, restaurants, and wherever else there's an idiot box that annoys you! Grab one now because when they're gone, you'll have to make your own (also great fun). Mitch writes:

In 2003 I quit my job to explore ways of making a living doing what I love doing. It was kind of scary, since I had no idea how I would make enough money after quitting my work. But I knew that I had to quit doing what was only OK, to make time to explore what I truly love. One thing I knew was that I wanted to design and make one TV-B-Gone remote control -- just for me. I wanted to be able to turn TVs off in public places!

It took me a year and a half to make the first TV-B-Gone remote control. And when I did, I went all over San Francisco turning TVs off everywhere I went -- and enjoying the hell out of it! And, of course my friends all wanted one. So, I made them for all of my friends. But, oddly, most of their friends wanted one. And when it turned out that many of the friends of my friends' friends also wanted one, I thought it would be interesting to make a bunch.

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Back to the Future Flux Capacitor car USB charger

1dbd_flux_capacitor_car_charger (1)

It's Back to the Future day, the day in 2015 that Marty McFly travels to in the distant hoverboard future. Hoverboards remain nonexistent-to-bullshit, but Thinkgeek does make a very nice $25 Flux Capacitor car-lighter USB charger with one 1A USB port and two 2.1A ports, as well as a credible animated light-show (which you can turn off when the novelty wears off). Read the rest

PocketLab: a $100 scientific "Swiss Army knife"


The PocketLab is billed as a "Swiss Army Knife of science." Launched via Kickstarter, the small device contains numerous sensors to measure acceleration, force, angular velocity, magnetic field, pressure, altitude, and temperature and send that data to smartphones or laptops. According to inventor Clifton Roozeboom, it's a tool for students and citizen scientists who can't afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on lab equipment and will get the data they need from this $100 gadget. From IEEE Spectrum:

“If you are doing a classic experiment in AP physics, you might have, say, a track and a pulley and you want to attach a sensor to a cart to measure acceleration, force, and momentum transfer,” says Roozeboom. “The typical gear available is wired, plugs into a specialized handheld gadget with a host of menus to navigate. The students spend a lot of time understanding how to use the gear instead of learning concepts.” In other traditional physics experiments, Roozeboom says, the device can be attached to a rocket to study projectile motion, stuck to a pendulum to look at harmonic motion, or placed inside a tube to measure changes in pressure with volume.

Video demo: Read the rest

Ambient weather report display generates rain, lightning, sunshine in a box

Ambient displays translate online information into a simple presentation that's meant to be glanceable, easy to understand, and non-intrusive. I've always appreciate artistic ambient displays, like Nancy Patterson's Stock Market Skirt and Eric Paulos's Limelight. Ken Kawamoto's Tempescope appears to be another wonderful example. It's a weather display in the form of a transparent box that generates the predicted weather conditions inside. For example, when the forecast is rain, a tiny rain storm occurs in the Tempescope. It can even form "clouds" and create a "lightning" storm through flashing LEDs. Kawamoto created an open source version of the Tempescope so you can make your own, or get one through the Indiegogo campaign launching this week!

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Car cassette slot mistaken for iPhone dock, and also the real deal

A "young driver" reportedly stopped in a car dealership service department "complaining that the iPhone dock in his (old) vehicle isn't working and its scratching his phone..." Read the rest

A tiny phone that fits in an iPhone case

The Talkase is a mini GSM standalone phone that snaps into an iPhone case. The $70 phone is described as a "must-have accessory for a mobile lifestyle." Read the rest

Click your Bluetooth heels three times to call an Uber

iStrategy Labs' Dorothy is a mobile app and Bluetooth-based switch (called the Ruby) that slips into your shoe. Click your heels together three times and it triggers an action on your smartphone like calling an Uber. Read the rest

USB charger in a knife form factor

Brunton saw me coming when they came up with their Power Knife Multi Charger integrating a standard USB to Apple Lightning, 30-Pin, and Micro-USB. Sharp, but spendy at $25. Read the rest

Levitating (!) bluetooth speaker

I have no idea how the OM/ONE bluetooth speaker sounds, but it kinda doesn't matter because it levitates. Ah, magical magnetism. Read the rest

Lens Pen, handy lens cleaner

I watch for cheap prices on Lens Pens, as I keep them on hand for cleaning eye glasses and cameras on the run. Anything in the sub $5 range catches my eye.

The lens pen sports a retractable brush at one end and a cap-covered, lint-free soft wiping element at the other. It is compact and protected enough to live in a pocket or glove box without collecting ruinous amounts of dust. Number of useful cleanings per pen varies on the size of and what I'm cleaning, but I tend to get quite a lot of careful use out of them. Grease and oil that gets picked up by the wiper don't get cleaned off, so over time you'll need to replace the pen.

I clean big lenses at home with a blower, lens paper and cleaning solution if needed. It'd be a waste to use one of these. In the field, however, this little guy shines.

Lens Pen Cleaning System Read the rest

SureFire E2D 'Defender,' best flash light I've ever owned

I live in a place so dark that grues are a legitimate concern. I've found no super bright flashlight better sized or more dependable than the SureFire E2D Defender. I also have not found many more expensive. Shockingly, it is worth the $185!

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Neurodreamer: open source sleeping mask/mind machine

After eight years of development and a successful Kickstarter, BB pal Mitch Altman's Neurodreamer sleep mask is ready for shipping! You might recall that Mitch is the inspiring maker behind the TV-B-Gone, Trip Glasses, and a bunch of other delightful gadgets. The Neurodreamer is an open source light/sound machine integrated into a memory foam mask. Mitch says:

The NeuroDreamer sleep mask is an advancement over prior entrainment* devices which attempt to entrain the brain with only a single brainwave frequency at a time. The NeuroDreamer sleep mask uses up to four brainwave frequencies simultaneously (mixed at different amplitudes), to more closely replicate the full spectrum of frequencies present in a person who is falling asleep.

* "Entrainment" is the the process of externally presenting brainwave frequencies to the brain, allowing it to synchronize to those frequencies.

It's available for $69.95 in three different versions designed for Sleep, Lucid Dreaming, or Meditation. Mitch is having a sale right now: Entering the coupon code THANKS gets you 10% off everything in Mitch's Cornfield Electronics shop, including the Neurodreamer. I want one! Read the rest

Pumpkin Tap turns pumpkin or watermelon into keg

The Pumpkin Tap turns hollowed-out pumpkins and watermelons into drink dispensers! I think most any beer faucet and shank would work, but this is a fun idea. Read the rest

Dewalt DW920K-2 Two-Postion Screw Driver Kit

I have used this for 2 years. It is very effective in narrow spaces such as IDF (Intermediate Distribution Frame) closets, where I have to add switches or UPS units to rack units. The wand shape makes using this screw driver very effective since it gives me the additional length from the chuck to the screw that a normal electric drill configuration fails to achieve.

I wish it also had a LED illumination adjacent to the chuck, which Dewalt is adding to its newer electric product line. -- Stephen S. Wizowski

Dewalt DW920K-2 1/4-Inch 7.2-Volt Cordless Two-Position Screwdriver Kit $70 Read the rest

Reusable lid turns canning jar into travel mug

Cuppow is a a reusable lid that turns a glass canning jar into a travel mug. They have versions for regular and wide mouth glass jars. It's made in the USA from BPA-free, Phthalate-free plastic. What a great idea! Amazon has the regular mouth size for $8; you supply the jar. Cuppow Regular and Cuppow Wide Mouth Read the rest

Combination sink/urinal reuses faucet water

Latvian designer Kaspars Jursons designed the Stand, a combination sink/urinal, to address water shortages. The water flowing from the tap as you wash your hands also flushes the toilet. ""It is more suitable for hygiene than just a urinal and then guys who don't wash [their] hands," Jursons told NPR. The look reminds me of the Penal-Ware Comby, a stainless steel, suicide resistant toilet/sink combination designed for prisons. Unfortunately, that device doesn't use the sink faucet's water to flush. Read the rest

Debut of the Picturephone

In this press conference, Microsoft finally reveals its plans for Skype.

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