Last month, engineer Shane Wighton of Stuff Made Here impressed the Internet with his curiously engineered wooden basketball backboard that helps the ball into the hoop. (Video below.) His latest version, above, employs computer vision and robotics to track the ball and tilt the backboard to direct the ball through the basket.
Russian artist Roman Booteen modifies coins with incredible engravings and feats of mechanical engineering. This coin features a beating heart. Other exquisite examples of his work are below. He also customizes Zippo lighters.
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David Schneider built his own radio telescope out of roof flashing, an empty paint thinner can, a free software-defined radio app, USB receiver, and a length of coaxial cable. The whole project cost him less than $150 and he's already used it to detect galactic hydrogen and monitor the motion of our Milky Way galaxy's spiral arms. (With a radio telescope, you look for and measure radio-frequency radiation emitted by astronomical objects.) From IEEE Spectrum:
Point at Cygnus and you’ll receive a strong signal from the local arm of the Milky Way very near the expected 1420.4-MHz frequency. Point it toward Cassiopeia, at a higher galactic longitude, and you’ll see the hydrogen-line signal shift to 1420.5 MHz—a subtle Doppler shift indicating that the material giving off these radio waves is speeding toward us in a relative sense. With some hunting, you may be able to discern two or more distinct signals at different frequencies coming from different spiral arms of the Milky Way.
Don’t expect to hear E.T., but being able to map the Milky Way in this fashion feels strangely empowering. It’ll be $150 well spent.
Our friend Donald Bell put together an excellent little tour of some of the game designs from the alt.ctrl showcase at last week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
And here's a handy link list that Donald provides to the game projects covered:
HELLCOUCH: A Couch Co-op Game (Carol Mertz, Francesca Carletto-Leon) Continuum Bacterium (HNRY) Machinaria (Black Mamba Studio) HOT SWAP: All Hands On Deck (Peter Gyory, Clement Zheng) More details on Mechamagnets More on Alt.Ctrl Game highlights of Alt.Ctrl 2018 Make: Coverage of Alt.Ctrl 2019 Read the rest
In this delightful project, Will Gudgeon turned a frozen chocolate easter egg into a fun and effective pinhole camera. The first step is to eat the contents. "The main challenges were it melting, cracking and light leaks around the seal," Gudgeon writes.
Andy George made his own camera lens with borax, river sand, and soda ash. From PetaPixel:
“It has been one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever done,” George says after completing his lens. “Every single step in the project has been a huge pain.”
Making clear glass took over a dozen tries, annealing the glass pucks took at least four attempts, and grinding the lenses themselves took at least 30 hours of continuous grinding.
Sure, the lens is cloudy and, er, imperfect, but HE MADE HIS OWN DAMN CAMERA LENS FROM SCRATCH!
All the versions are on display in his room in the (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya) residence on the outskirts of Barcelona. The latest models are marked MK followed by the number - a tribute to comic book superhero Iron Man and his MK armor suits....
After graduating from university, he wants to create affordable prosthetic solutions for people who need them.
“I would try to give them a prosthetic, even if it’s for free, to make them feel like a normal person, because what is normal, right?”
Artisan maker Dick Whitney modifies beautiful antique phones to offer Amazon Echo functionality. His goal with the "Alexaphones" and other creations is to "combine classical design and usability with the most salient elements of your modern world." Unlike other spying smart speakers, Alexaphone only listens when you lift the handset. Absolutely stunning work.
• Secure. Alexa can only hear you when the handset is off the receiver; all of the microphones are physically disconnected otherwise, so you’re not depending on a mute button to be trustworthy.
• Speaker Compatible. Each Alexaphone comes with a 1/8" auxiliary out port, so you can connect it to your home speakers.
• The Lights Of The Future. Status LEDs are carefully made visible in a way unique to each phone, striving for minimal disruption of the original aesthetic. Know when your Alexaphone is connected, listening, and more.
• The Sounds Of The Past. On some phones we’ve been able to preserve or rebuild the antique earpiece electronics, so you’ll hear the original voice of the phone.
• Easy Setup. Just plug in the USB power cable and set up with the Alexa app.
• Uncompromised Experience. These works of art function with your Alexa app and any of Alexa’s skills.
Crochetverse's Stephanie Pokorny is putting all us moms to shame with the crocheted Halloween costumes she's made for her six-year-old son Jack. Recently her all-yarn Predator costume made the rounds and now she's back with this glow-in-the-freaking-dark Slimer costume. (You may remember when Jack was two, she made an adorable E.T. costume for him.)
Here's a look at her son in the Predator costume:
Action! Crochet Predator comes to life courtesy of one super scary 6 year old! (He pulled the hood down "extra to be super scary", end quote.) pic.twitter.com/42MPQuiWAH
— Crochetverse (@crochetverse) September 30, 2018
And here he is in the Slimer costume:
Crochet Slimer costume ACTION! Fully crocheted by me at my son's request ♡ pic.twitter.com/o7emNTjnP8
— Crochetverse (@crochetverse) October 15, 2018
Also, get this, she freehand crochets her costumes. That means she doesn't use a pattern. If you know anything about crocheting, you'll appreciate what an incredible feat this is.
See more of her creations here.
As a teenager in the 1970s, hip hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash hacked together his own DJ mixer in his bedroom. At the time, he was attending a vocational high school in the Bronx where he had developed some electronics repair chops. Flash needed his Sony microphone mixer to have a cueing feature enabling him to preview his mix through headphones before sending the audio to the speakers for everyone to hear. So he hit Radio Shack for the parts to make his own musical tool, and history.
For more on the development of DJ mixers, see this classic Cuepoint feature.