Welcome to Your Awesome Robot is a fantastic book for maker-kids and their grownups. It consists of a charming series of instructional comics showing a little girl and her mom converting a cardboard box into an awesome robot -- basically a robot suit that the kid can wear. It builds in complexity, adding dials, gears, internal chutes and storage, brightly colored warning labels and instructional sheets for attachment to the robot's chassis.
More than that, it encourages you to "think outside the box" (ahem), by adding everything from typewriter keys to vacuum hoses to shoulder-straps to your robot, giving the kinds of cues that will set your imagination reeling. For master robot builders, it includes a tear-out set of workshop rules for respectfully sharing robot-building space with other young makers, and certificates of robot achievement. I read this one to Poesy last night at bedtime, and today we're on the lookout for cardboard boxes to robotify. It's a fantastic, inspiring read!
You can get a great preview of the book at NoBrow.
Skit-B Pinball built this custom Duck Hunt pinball machine by modding a 1962 'Williams Valiant' table and hybridizing it with a PC to provide sound effects and other nifties. The project was a little break from Skit-B's main undertaking, a gonzo-awesome pinball adaptation of Predator.
I have no idea if FDRL's "Maple Set" knives are practical or even useful, but they are extremely beautiful.
With this project we wanted to explore an alternative emotion to the standard kitchen knives you see every day. The focus is drawn to the high polished blade, while the rest of the knife's Maple wood body sits warmly in the hand and blends in to its surroundings. The wood is sealed and food safe to allow for easy cleanup. The knife gives the appearance of being lightweight; however their weight is balanced to ensure that they can be used by any level of chef.
Citing unnamed supply chain sources, The Journal claims that Microsoft asked Asian suppliers to ship components for the device. If the reports are true, it would be joining the likes of Apple, Samsung, Google, and others looking to capitalize on a forecasted boom in wearable electronics. Microsoft has so far refused to comment on the rumors.
After the iPhone and iPad, it makes sense that everyone's scrambling to join Apple on the starting blocks for the new big thing. But has anyone committed to anything? If ever there was an obvious gadget whose success will depend not on hardware but on what it connects to, it's the fabled smartwatch. Remember, Sony's is already out and it's not much cop.
California Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) has served notice on Disneyland over three attractions, which led to their shut-down yesterday. In 2006, Disney agreed to make changes to the staff areas at the park, and the OSHA notice apparently related to lack of progress on these promises.
The citations were related a 2006 agreement to make improvements and to inspections following recent accidents such as the man who was seriously injured while cleaning the outside of Space Mountain. The findings include simple failures like not having a charged fire extinguisher and more serious ones like failure to protect employees from unsafe ladders or lack of railings preventing a fall hazard. Serious fines of up to $70,000 for each infraction could be levied if Disneyland does not comply immediately with the requests (although appeal is also an option). Total penalties for just the Space Mountain citations could reach over $230,000.
These are the same sort of hazards that forced Disneyland to close Alice in Wonderland until temporary scaffolding could be erected with guardrails. The park still hasn’t made permanent fixes there.
There were a lot of violations listed in the citation, here are a few of those listed as Willful Serious:
“Disneyland Resort failed to correct the unsafe work practice of employees of both Disneyland Resort and HSG Inc. accessing upper exterior platform of a building (Space Mountain) to change lights, and perform other maintenance tasks without the protection of guardrails or personal fall protection...”
Adam P sez, "I first found out about the Aeropress on Boing Boing and it has dramatically improved my quality of life as an expat here in China. When purchasing another one online for a colleague, I was well titillated by the shop's 28 point photo guide to the differences between a real and fake Aeropress."
The GoPro Hero 3 is a matchbox-sized, battery-powered HD camera that goes anywhere, capturing everything from adrenaline-fueled sporting escapades to underwater adventures. The Angenieux 15-40mm is a $45,000 cine lens that makes everything look wildly beautiful. Now, assuming you don't mind a 6x crop factor and a $295-a-day rental fee, you may have them together!
Ry4an sez, "Today's maker project was a pair of bedside lamps that switch one another. The effect is really jarring because the switches are so near the bulbs they'd normally control." I love this -- it's just annoying enough that you can imagine it appearing unintentionally in, say, a hotel room (the most notorious source of terrible lighting controls in the developed world), and yet perversely pleasing.
Polish leatherworker MK makes some very nice wrist-straps for pocket-watches and car-watches. He's not the only one making these, but I find them particularly handsome, and rather nice retro-modern take on the massive wristwatch phenomenon.
The "Polar Bear Ice Tray" is a sealed bottle that makes icecubes and then facilitates their easy removal. The sealed container keeps freezer flavors away, and once it's all frozen, you can dislodge the ice by giving the bottle a whack on a countertop and then pour it out of the mouth. Looks like a clever way of solving an old problem, though I haven't tried it myself.