Sam Zeloof, 17 built out a 1970s-vintage chip fab in his parents' New Jersey garage so he can make DIY integrated circuits. Why? So he can better understand how they work.
It's a "way of trying to learn what’s going on inside semiconductors and transistors," Zeloof told IEEE Spectrum. "I started reading old books and old patents because the newer books explain processes that require very expensive equipment.”
From IEEE Spectrum:
He obtained much of his raw materials and equipment from online sellers, in various states of repair. “Acquiring all the equipment and building and fixing all the stuff I take off eBay is half of the whole journey,” he says. His equipment includes a high-temperature furnace, a vacuum chamber built from surplus parts, and a scanning electron microscope. The electron microscope was “a broken one from a university that just needed some electrical repairs,” says Zeloof. He estimates that the microscope originally cost about $300,000 back in 1996. It was listed for sale at $2,500, but Zeloof persuaded the seller to take “well below that” and ended up spending more on shipping than it cost to buy the microscope.
“If all goes well, maybe I could make chips for people in the [maker] community—in small batches," he says.
"The High School Student Who’s Building His Own Integrated Circuits" (IEEE Spectrum)
And here's Zeloof's blog.
(photo at top: Beth Deene)
Colin Furze turned a briefcase into a gas-fueled portable fireplace. Seems that it would be impractical, inefficient, and possibly rather dangerous, but still stately and impressive.
Siddharth Mandala, 18, of Hyderabad, India, is developing the Electroshoe as a defensive weapon for women. The idea is that a woman could kick an attacker to deliver a jolt of electricity, similar to a taser, giving her time to escape. From the Deccan Chronicle:
Apart from transmitting a 0.1-ampere shock, the shoe also sends off an alert to the nearest police station. The shoe is run by power generated through the user’s footsteps. Mechanical energy from every step taken is harvested and stored in a rechargeable battery...
“The basic idea was that it had to be something that women would have with them all the time. Women might forget to carry tasers or other protective devices, but no one forgets to wear shoes before they step out. It was very challenging for me to think of a solution dealing with footwear. My product is basically a prototype. I’m still figuring out ways to make the shoe water resistant and overcome other limitations,” Siddharth said.
(via Weird Universe)
I had the pleasure of writing the cover feature, on Limor Fried (aka "Ladyada") and her company, Adafruit, for the latest issue of Make: (Volume 57). Since a lot had already been made about the company's impressive and popular open source product line and Limor as a successful female entrepreneur, I decided to focus on what I think is another rather unique aspect of the company: the fact that the open source ethos that informs the design of their hardware also informs their corporate culture.
There's a openness, a spirit of sharing, educating, and supporting, that is shot through the fabric of Adafruit Industries.
They open-source many of the details of how the company is run and post the details of what they're learning (as a company) on their Adafruit Learning System and in their newsletters. They use the feedback and ideas from their substantial online social community to crowdsource product development. And they're attempting to create a corporate culture where employees feel respected, cared for, and given room to grow. As the Founder Collective put it on Twitter this morning: "105 full-time employees, $45M in revenue, no venture capital. Adafruit is a great case study in efficient entrepreneurship."
Founded in a dorm room in 2005 by MIT engineer Limor “Ladyada” Fried as an online learning resource and marketplace for do-it-yourself electronics, Adafruit is now a highly successful community-driven electronics company, educational resource, and maker community thriving in SoHo, Manhattan.Read the rest