Donald Bell reports on the DIY game goodness from the alt.ctrl showcase at GDC

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

How to turn a chocolate easter egg into a pinhole camera

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.

"How to Make a Pinhole Camera Out of a Chocolate Easter Egg" (PetaPixel)

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How to make your own camera lens from sand and rocks

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!

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Young engineer upgraded the LEGO bionic arm he built for himself

Bioengineer David Aguilar (aka "Hand Solo") continues to upgrade his DIY LEGO prosthetic arms that we posted about previously with this fantastic fourth generation model. From Reuters:

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?”

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Watch this loving restoration of a rusty old hammer to its former glory

Steve of Miller Knives found an extremely rusty old Estwing hammer at a flea market and restored it beautifully. The process is the product. Read the rest

Antique phones lovingly retrofitted with Alexa functionality

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.

Alexaphone (Grain Design, thanks John Park!)

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Mom crochets badass glow-in-the-dark Slimer costume for her son

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:

And here he is in the Slimer costume:

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.

(Geekologie) Read the rest

Broken film camera hacked into supercool wrist-cam

Photographer Alireza Rostami scavenged the lens and shutter from his broken Chinese Seagull TLR camera to create this fantastic wrist-worn camera complete with a self-timer. More at PetaPixel.

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How pioneering DJ Grandmaster Flash hacked together his first mixer

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.

(via Kottke)

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Watch an artist make remarkably lifelike cat portraits from felted wool

Wakuneco uses wool felt to make amazingly detailed custom-ordered cat portraits that look uncannily like the subjects. Here are how the finishing touches like whiskers get done. Read the rest

Watch Skippa the rock-skipping robot get optimized

Skipping stones takes a little practice and finesse, so Mark Rober enlisted his extended family to help build the perfect rock-skipping robot. Their creation, named Skippa, ended up helping humans learn, too. Read the rest

How to make a bike rack for a motorcycle or scooter

Bicyclists who also own motorcycles and motorscooters have come up with some clever ways to mount their human-powered two-wheeler on their motor-powered vehicles. Read the rest

Here's an easy way to etch something on steel

M.N. Projects got a lot of questions about how he etches his initials onto his metalworking projects, so he did a quick HOWTO for those who want to try it themselves. Read the rest

Watch this new and improved LEGO prosthetic arm in action

David Aguilar Amphoux (aka Hand Solo) just built an upgrade to his original LEGO prosthetic arm. Very ingenious! Read the rest

Spectacular "Ambient Walkman Symphony" and other tape-loop, circuit bent performances

Portland-based musician Randall Taylor, aka Amulets, creates gorgeous experimental music performances from modded Walkmans and old multitrack cassette decks playing handcrafted tape loops, live guitar loops processed through circuit-bent pedals, field recordings and other sound sources. He calls his portable setup, featured in the video below, the Suitcase of Drone. Absolutely stunning work.

From Austin's Dimension Gallery where Amulets created a sound installation that runs until August 14:

(Taylor's) current body of work under the moniker Amulets expresses his interest in the intersection between visual art and music. His physical cassette tape loops are like mini musical canvases. They create sonic tapestries in his mechanically performative installations. Using recycled tapes and players, he simultaneously fuses music, recycling, art, and nostalgia.

Amulets (Thanks, John Park!)

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Watch how to 3D print freaky, wobbly sphericons

After seeing a successful Kickstarter project, Angus from Makers Muse has been experimenting with sphericons, unusual shapes that meander when they roll. Read the rest

Watch this gnarly tree burl get turned into a gorgeous dragon's egg

Andy Phillip found a tree burl out in the world, then decided to turn it on a lathe and make it into a sapphire dragon's egg. Read the rest

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