Boing Boing 

Interview with Ben Krasnow, the guy who made his own electron microscope

Every week on the Cool Tools Show podcast, Kevin Kelly and I interview an interesting person, and ask them about four of their favorite tools. Our guest this week is Ben Krasnow. Ben works at Google[x], Google’s semi-secret technology development facility, where he creates advanced prototypes. Ben previously developed virtual reality hardware at Valve. After work, he spends time on various projects that usually involve circuit design, machining, and chemistry. Ben makes things that usually require a lot of money and sophisticated equipment: an electron scanning microscope, silica aerogel, and freeze-dried astronaut ice cream (I’ve tasted it, and it’s spectacular). You can follow Ben’s projects on his youtube channel, Applied Science.

Deal: Arduino Robotic Vehicle Kit

Meet Cherokey 4WD, a versatile mobile platform compatible with most microcontrollers, and the heart and soul of your robotic vehicle. By assembling the included hardware and tuning the software, you will construct a rapid, rugged, outdoor-friendly truck controlled by an iOS app on your phone. Learn to install sensors on the robot to trigger specific movements and actions, and take your newfound Arduino expertise onto limitless future projects.

  • Enjoy high-quality micro-speed motors
  • Drive your truck on rough terrain w/ its durable & solid aluminum body
  • Expand upon the highly versatile modular design
  • Easily control w/ your iOS device
  • Write your own code to take advantage of its ultrasonic sensor, BLE-ready microcontroller, IR sensor & LEDs
  • Start your project immediately without the need for an additional motor driver or wireless shield
  • Use for educational purposes, robot competitions, home automation protyping or research projects

Make an Arduino puzzle box

"This is my first foray in the world of interactivity," says Grady Hillhouse. "It's an arcade-style puzzle box mini game. Powered by an Arduino with completely custom wooden enclosure and components, the goal was to make it look like something your parents told you not to play with when you were a kid. The object of the game is to adjust the knobs so each needle points at its respective LED, but it's not as easy as it sounds (or is it!?)." [via]

Gotcha Gadgets – A book with a built in electronic mischief maker

Build Your Own Gotcha Gadgets comes with a multifunction electronic circuit, wires, and sensors that kids can use to build a variety of pranksterish devices: A cookie jar that sounds an alarm when the lid is removed, an electronic whoopie cushion, an intrusion detector, a fake lie detector, and more. Once you try a few projects from the book, it wouldn’t be hard to come up with other ways to use the components, both mischievous and mild.

Build Your Own Gotcha Gadgets
by Ben Grossblatt
Klutz press
2015, 32 pages, 0.5 x 10.2 x 12 inches (paperback)
$21 Buy a copy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

LightUp Faraday: a toy to teach electronics and coding

Read the rest

What is the fastest check-out line?

There happens to be a branch of mathematics that deals with this issue. It’s called queuing theory, and it deals with the behavior of waiting lines.Read the rest

Zero to Hero Game Developer Bundle in Boing Boing Store

gamesLearn to develop games through seven courses, including 30+ hours of training for creating mobile & desktop games. The entire package is just $49.

Get the complete Arduino starter kit & course bundle for 85% off

Tackle 13 different projects w/ this fully-stocked beginner's toolkit. The ARDX Arduino Starter Kit pairs a detailed, illustrated guide with all the parts you need to build your own circuits. Perfect for beginners, this kit requires no experience and teaches you to use Arduino to control lights, buzzers, and more. Once you master the basics of Arduino, you can control motors on any device you dream up—from robots, to mood lights, to self-playing instruments, and beyond.

In addition to the kit, this deal offers three video courses. Learn about everything here. ($75.99)

The $100 Peachy 3D Printer is amazing

peachy$100 buys you a snap-fit 3D printer. Whitney Hipolite of 3DPrint.com says the resin-based Peachy Printer is "amazing."

One of the great things about the Peachy Printer is that since it is only available in kit form, it can can be completely customized to the size you want. The build volume can be modified depending on the size of an object you need printed, and even the color resins can be mixed in order to create new colors. Want a yellow-green color? Then mix the perfect amount of yellow and green. Peachy Printer will offer 8 completely mixable colors.

How to make a tiny BBQ grill from an Altoids tin

Instructables contributor vmspionage posted instructions for making this tiny grill. It uses a single charcoal briquette. Fire it up, keep it in your pocket, and pull it out whenever you find a marshmallow!

New Makey Makey Go converts almost anything into a touch interface

Jay Silver is a very cool guy, and I loved the original Makey Makey, so I know the Makey Makey Go will be awesome. The video is terrific.

Small enough to fit on your keychain, book bag, or bracelet, Makey Makey GO turns everyday objects into touchpads and combines them with the internet. It’s a simple tool-slash-toy that allows beginners and experts to make countless art, music, engineering, and science projects. It comes ready to use out of the box with no setup and no installations. Just plug and play.

Jig for making paracord bracelets

Paracord bracelets (or survival bracelets) are a popular, fun-to-make fashion accessory, and can also come in handy if you suddenly need to unravel the bracelet and use the cord to make a tourniquet, secure a tent, tow a lifeboat, make a pair of snowshoes, or… fill in the blank here (choose from hundreds of emergency situations in which paracord saves the day). And making these bracelets is really easy, especially if you’ve got a jig to keep your cord taut while working the knots.

I just got this EZzzy-Jig ($14), which comes with 12mm and 15mm attached buckles to plug your own buckles and cord into, as well as an adjustable ruler on its side to help you make the exact length you want. If you’ve made these bracelets before, the instructions for the jig should make perfect sense. But if you’re a newbie like me, you might also want to check out Beadaholique’s How to Use the EZzzy-Jig Bracelet Maker on YouTube. The instructions that come with the Paracord Planet cord (which you will need since the jig does not come with any cords or buckles) will get you started on a basic cobra braided bracelet. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to whip one of these bracelets up in 10 minutes flat.

See more photos at Wink Fun.

Encyclopedia of Electronic Components

When I was one of the editors at Make: Books, one of the projects I was proudest to have helped conceive of and edit was Charles Platt’s Make: Electronics (which has now been a best-seller for years). Growing up being absurdly visual and suffering from mild dyslexia, I found it incredibly difficult to learn electronics using the books of the day. They were usually very poorly written, with bad editing, dark and dreary photos, and crude diagrams. Forrest Mims’ 1983 Getting Started in Electronics, beautifully hand-drawn on graph paper, with succinct and clear text and playful examples, was a revelation to me.

For Make: Electronics we wanted to create a Getting Started for the early 21st century – well-written, beautifully photographed and illustrated, and in high-quality, full-color. Charles Platt and Make: delivered on that promise, in spades, with Make: Electronics and its follow-up volume, Make: More Electronics. And Charles continues to knock it out of the park with Encyclopedia of Electronic Components, currently in two volumes, with a third on the way.
 Volume 1 covers batteries, power supplies, motors, resistors, capacitors, inductors, switches, encoders, relays, diodes, transistors, and more. Each entry describes what it does, how it works, variants on the component, how to use it, and what can go wrong with it. Each entry is illustrated with well-shot photos (the components are shot on a graph paper background, so you can get some idea of their size), charts and graphs, and cut-away diagrams. The writing is very approachable while not shying away from technical rigor. These are fun books for picking up and scanning a component listing to learn more about the component, its variants, applications, and how it might fail. And, the books are an invaluable reference if you’re working on a project and want to gain a deeper understanding of the specific components you’re working with.

Volume 2, subtitled Signal Processing, covers LEDs, LCDs, audio, amplification, digital logic, and more. The two books together cover a lot of the common components you encounter in most basic-to-intermediate electronics work. Volume 3 (available now for pre-order) will fill in the one major missing component class – all manner of sensors.

I cannot imagine what it’s like to be growing up today with an interest in electronics and DIY high-technology. Smartly written, visual, and well-produced books like the Make: Electronics series and these Encyclopedia of Electronic Components volumes open up the world of electrical engineering and high-tech tinkering to a wider audience than ever before. – Gareth Branwyn

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Gigantic tub o' 22,000 Perler beads

My 12-year-old and her pals like making thing with Perler beads. They go through them quickly, so I bought a tub of 22,000 Perler beads for $15.

What are Perler beads? They are tiny colorful plastic cylinders. Each bead is a pixel that you place on a Perler pegboard to make a piece of art. Once you've placed all the beads down, you use a clothes iron to fuse the beads together, so your artwork doesn't fall apart.

The above video shows you a smart way to stack beads on a toothpick for faster beading.

Here are some great Perler bead drawings from around the world:

Perler Bead Majora's Mask by EP-380

Floppy disks by larrieking

Mario Perler beads by TheBeadLord

Mobile phone case by Lovely CraftsDIY

Perler beads Stormtrooper Star Wars by L000lz

Perler bead camera coasters by Maker Crate

Perler beads tree and mobile by Idee Creative

8-Bit Pixel Art Christmas Baubles by adamcrockett

Time lapse: making a cruiser skateboard

My friend Andreas Ekberg, who made this great Boing Boing deck for me, made a Happy Cloud cruiser for his pal Steve Guyer. Steve shot and edited the video above.

Andreas tell me he uses a Silhouette Cameo vinyl cutter to create the stencils for his designs. The design is painted with acrylic paint and coated with a water based varnish. He went to Uncle Funkys in Manhattan for the hardware.

Here are some of Andreas' other boards:

Minecraft: The Complete Handbook Collection just $14

I reviewed this beautifully designed Minecraft boxed set of four hardcover handbooks in December. The price has since dropped to $14, which is a great deal.

Read the rest

Make this display frame that holds 10 comic books

I was sick of storing my comics in cardboard magazine bins: they're ugly, dusty and don't protect the comics--and worst of all you can't even see the cool comic book covers!Read the rest