In the DIY world cigarboxes have replaced the OATH (Obligatory Altoids Tin Hack). Here, Matt Richardson shows how to make an MP3 music box from a cigar box.
I decided I wanted to do a modern-day maker's riff on the old mechanical music box. I asked around for some advice on how to do it and got a lot of great suggestions such as using an Arduino Wave Shield, an MP3 trigger board, or my favorite idea, one of those electronic musical greeting cards. But I happened upon a $6 knockoff MP3 player that started playing songs when you flipped a switch on the side. When I opened it up, I was delighted to see that I could easily stop and start the music by opening and closing the circuit between the battery and the MP3 player's circuit board.
Using a snap action switch inside a cigar box, I was able to control the music by opening and closing the lid, just like with a mechanical music box. The main difference being that my MP3 player would start the song over again after closing and reopening the box, which didn't bother me. I found a pair of cheap speakers that had a headphone jack so that I could easily plug them into the MP3 player.
Building a PC? Why not throw in one of these 80 port USB charger-boards, so you can charge everygoddamnedthing you own? No data throughput, and it wants its own power supply (duh!).
(via OhGizmo!)5-in-1 USB charger handles iPod, PSP, DS and GBA USB 9-volt charger kit in an Altoids tin European Commission demands a single, standard phone charger Boing ... Read the rest
Does your next door neighbor purchase heapin' helpin's of fertilizer from Home Depot? Is he growing an epic beard? He may be more than an annoying hipster experimenting with urban homesteading. No, no—it could be worse. He could be a terrorist. Danger Room highlights a pamphlet "prepared by federal law enforcement to help you navigate the uncertainties of an age of homegrown terrorism," which you can download here. Snip:
Be on the lookout, warn the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center, for such 'indicators of possible terrorist activity' as "behavior that could indicate participation in surveillance of potential targets," "travel or interest in traveling overseas to attend violent extremist institutions or paramilitary camps," or checking out "websites and reading materials that advocate violence and then initiating action in support of this activity." See something? Say something!
Doc of the Day: Feds' Guide To Snitching on Your Terrorist Neighbor (Wired Danger Room)
Bonus: In the screengrab detail shown below, note the obligatory Altoids tin hack... Read the rest
Luke Iseman sells a Bicycle Defense Kit for $19.90.
The Bicycle Defense Kit (BDK) offers options for dealing with aggressive motorists. Contained within an altoids tin, the 8 tools vary in detectability, potential to cause damage, and legality.
Specifically, cyclists can:
• Issue "citizen citations" with official-ish tickets. • Label offending vehicles with an "I was a jerk to a cyclist" sticker. • Introduce the risk of paint damage with a Jolly Rancher. • Create certain coating cremation via DOT3 brake fluid. • Make cars stink worse than their exhaust with a carefully-placed stink bomb. • Throw a trusty bolt to dent offending traffic as it passes. • Lock out loony drivers by filling their keyholes with super glue. • Cut through tire valve stems with a utility blade.
We're publishing an 8-part series of videos profiling the winners. Today, meet 16 year old Harry Lee of Melbourne Australia. He talks with us about his "Sneaky Card" game concept, which explores social interactions between people. He was inspired by ARG and indie projects like "Bite Me," by Gamelab, and Jane McGonigal's Top Secret Dance-Off, both of which we've covered previously on Boing Boing.
"I love index cards," says Harry, "And I was thinking -- hmm, how can I incorporate them into a project?" So he designed and printed these game cards, and "spread the seeds of sneakiness and espionage" into the unsuspecting pockets, math books, binders and bags and jackets of his schoolmates.
I tracked most of the cards and found, with much satisfaction, that a majority of them had been passed down at least three times. The most successful story is of the card passed from student to student three times before ending up in a math teacher's jacket. The teacher found it and gave it to another math teacher, who inserted it into a student's corrected test before giving it back to him. The card passed hands once again before I lost track of it.
Below, some sample cards in Harry's game. (Link to PDF). More after the jump.
We're publishing an 8-part series of videos profiling the winners. Today, meet 15-year-old Ferran Rovira Bosca, of Spain. He created a concept for an "Eco Self-Sustaining House" -- architecture of the future that captures its own renewable energy, and operates off the grid. Ferran believes technology can help us come up with new ways of protecing the environment and saving money in our households at the same time. He says he learns a lot about what's possible in this realm from exploring sustainable technology websites online.
Read more about the youth competition in IFTF's press release announcing Digital Open winners.
Previously:Digital Open Winners: From pocket-sized Altoids tin hack, big dreams emerge Digital Open Winner: A Living Diorama, to Change the World. Digital Open Winner: teen creates a robot shop Digital Open Winners: "Hybrid Airship," by teen robotic blimp builders. Digital Open Winners: A student website by and for teens. BB Video: IFTF, Sun, and Boing Boing Launch Digital Open Youth ... Digital Open: online tech expo for young people - Boing Boing Digital Open tech innovation expo for global youth: 10 more days ... Read the rest
Yesterday on Boing Boing Gadgets, we looked at a stabby knife that lets you inflate your victim with rapidly expanding gaseous pain, considered an easily understood diagram for building a marijuana grow room and lusted after a solar-powered theremin in an Altoids tin. There was also a mind-reading chair bristling with solenoids, some justification for Apple turning .mac into MobileMe and Shannonia, LEGO city in microscale, as well as the world's most luxurious cubicle. Beschizza pointed out a leather keyboard with a surprising dual-use function. Brownlee liked a binaural mic with human ears attached and also a tagged AT-AT. Joel wondered if Spore's creature creator (and specifically, the way it hid creature information in PNG images) could be used to email cute monsters that turned into Goatse.cx when clicked. And we all bummed when Hollywood monster maker Stan Winston died.
Steve Lodefink (left) is guestblogging at Dinosaurs and Robots, a new blog about extraordinary objects that Mister Jalopy and I started.
An inveterate tinkerer and "broad-spectrum hobbyist," Steve just can't say no to a cool project. At 3, he was already reverse-engineering the peanut butter and jelly sandwich: "I figured out where all of the parts were, found a good tool, and built one. I've been doing it ever since." He lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons, two cats, five tarantulas, and 24 African cichlids, and thinks that one of life's great pleasures is a really sharp aged cheddar cheese. "I'm a simple man," he says. He looks at life's debris at finkbuilt.com.
Steve has written a lot of projects for MAKE and CRAFT, including the high-altitude water bottle rocket that was featured on the cover of Vol. 5. (see video), the RetroVision 2000 AV cabinet, an atomic ball clock, a cool cardboard fort, and lots of other incredibly fun stuff.
Lately, he's been interested in the idea of using coconuts as packages for his electronics projects. From Dinosaurs and Robots:
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Although coconut shells do have some well established niche market uses such as novelty tableware and small caged-pet shelters, I can't help but to feel as though too many of them are going to waste.
The New Altoids Tin?
No I don't mean as a mint holder, but as an improvised homebrew electronics project enclosure.
In today's NYT, a story by John Schwartz on a demonstration of serious security vulnerabilities with RFID-enabled "contactless" credit cards. Snip:
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Tom Heydt-Benjamin tapped an envelope against a black plastic box connected to his computer. Within moments, the screen showed a garbled string of characters that included this: fu/kevine, along with some numbers.
Mr. Heydt-Benjamin then ripped open the envelope. Inside was a credit card, fresh from the issuing bank. The card bore the name of Kevin E. Fu, a computer science professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who was standing nearby. The card number and expiration date matched those numbers on the screen.
The demonstration revealed potential security and privacy holes in a new generation of credit cards – cards whose data is relayed by radio waves without need of a signature or physical swiping through a machine. Tens of millions of the cards have been issued, and equipment for their use is showing up at a growing number of locations, including CVS pharmacies, McDonald’s restaurants and many movie theaters.
The card companies have implied through their marketing that the data is encrypted to make sure that a digital eavesdropper cannot get any intelligible information. American Express has said its cards incorporate “128-bit encryption,” and J. P. Morgan Chase has said that its cards, which it calls Blink, use “the highest level of encryption allowed by the U.S. government.”
From aaron Dunlap, the same fine fellow who sells the 9V USB charger-in-an-Altoids-tin kit, here the mini LED flashlight kit. Just $8.50.
It's lit by a single LED that's unbelievably bright. My initial design called for 3 LEDs (the kind you can get from Radio Shack) in a series (at a painful $3 per LED), but from my parts supplier I found this industrial-grade LED that can get the same amount of lumines from just the one. LEDs are great for flashlights because they don't burn out for something like 1000 years, and they require a very small voltage current so you won't have to replace the batteries for a loooong time.
For people daunted by all the fidgety work involved in the USB kits, this LED flashlight project should be just the ticket. I just put one of these together in 5 minutes.
Aaron Dunlap is selling these excellent USB 9-Volt charger kits in an Altoids tin for the ridiculously low price of $9.50. I can't think of a better stocking stuffer. Link
Update: Aaron Dunlap says: "I should point out that what I have for sale is kits to build your own charger in an Altoids tin or whatever you want. You get the electronic components and a walk-through manual. You might want to mention this on the site, since I've had a lot of people place orders thinking they're getting the whole kit & cabootle when I don't have the time to solder together 300 cabootles."
Reader comment: avidd says: "I call prior art on that USB charger featured in today's post. I built one for my trip to the amazon rainforest. While the guy is providing a service by selling the kits for cheap, he's being silly about keeping the design so mysterious. Buy a 5v IC regulator like the NTE960 or NTE977 from jameco.com for $1.65. Solder it between the battery leads and the usb leads. Don't forget the matching heatsink. For the NTE977 I chose to put some capacitors to ground as recommended in the manual on page 8 though that might have been overkill.
"That's really all there is.
"Go ahead and sell the kits, but Information wants to be free. Link
Reader comment: Aaron says: "Why does McDonald's stay in business when you could just make your own burgers? You can even get cookbooks for free from the library. Read the rest