Great deal on bunnie Huang's The Hardware Hacker: $3.74 as a hardcover book

I'm not sure how long this will last, but Andrew "bunnie" Huang's 2017 book, The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware is just $3.74 in the hardcover edition on Amazon with free Prime shipping. Huang famously hacked the Xbox in 2002 and Microsoft got really mad at him. In this book, Huang writes about all of his adventures as a hardware hacker, including interviews and essays about his work in Shenzhen, China.

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Origami hand: "a disposable robot hand" made from folded paper

Tokyo grad student Tezuka Sota's "Origami Hand" is a robotic gripping hand whose plastic-coated, water-resistant folded paper is sterile, disposable, and free from moving parts and lubricants, meaning it can be used in difficult environments that are hostile to bearings and oils, like space or underwater. Read the rest

How to fix broken scissor handles with a 3D printer

Andre Ferreira says: "My scissors handle broke, I was devastated! And then I thought, I could throw them away and buy some new ones for around $1. Or... I could spend 4 hours planning, measuring, CADing, 3D printing, fitting, glueing, and finishing a replacement handle. The choice was clear :)"

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The Strandbeests of 2018 are from the very greatest of timelines

For more than 15 years, we've been writing about the strandbeests, Theo Jansen's incredibly, multilegged windwalking machines that clatter their way along in eerily lifelike fashion (I even wrote them into my fiction). Read the rest

A bunch of electronics components for $10

If you are getting started in electronics, or just want to refresh your component inventory, this $10 kit comes with a lot of good basic stuff. See everything it comes with on the Amazon description page.

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Cool self-resetting mousetrap catches multiple mice

It's always a pleasure to watch Chris Notap make a new tool. One thing he likes to make is mousetraps. This time, he made an ingeniously simple trap that lures mice into a cylinder made from a soda tube and dumps them unceremoniously into a bucket. Read the rest

Karaoke casemod: it's surprisingly easy to hook up a karaoke machine's CRT to a Raspberry Pi

Brett writes, "As a critique of the IoT buzz, I hacked a portable karaoke machine, stuffed a Raspberry Pi in it, connected it to the internet, and installed Docker on it." (tl;dr: he needed a portable CRT for an installation, found one embedded in a thrift-store karaoke machine, and got it wired up to the Raspi on the first try and discovered it made a perfect and delightful casemod). Read the rest

The Cyberdeck: a homebrew, 3D printed cyberspace deck

A small but vital genre of homebrew portable computers is the "cyberspace deck," in which hackers create DIY, special-purpose computers inspired by the ICE-breaking console-cowboy decks of William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive). Read the rest

Making a Rock Paper Scissors game with an Arduino compatible device

This summer, I have been working as an intern at a company called Switch Science in Tokyo, Japan. I am writing about my experience here in the form of blog posts, and you can find my first post here.

On Thursday last week, I was given a thermal camera to work with along with my M5Stack. My goal was to connect them together and display the thermal data in the form of a picture on the M5Stack’s screen. The thermal camera was called the MLX90640 by Melexis. After briefly reading about it, I was confident that I knew where to connect the wires and which I2C address to use, but I quickly realized that the size of the pins on the thermal camera were too small to connect to the wires’ pins. Although I could plug them into each other, the connection would only work properly half of the time. So my coworker Kazunori helped me by cutting the end of the wires and soldering them straight to the camera’s pins. It seemed to connect well, and I continued trying to figure out how to display the data from it.

Then, Monday morning, the camera suddenly stopped connecting. I spent a few hours trying to figure this out on my own before I asked Kazu for help. He suggested we try to connect a different camera, but no cigar. We also tried a different Arduino sketch made by a different person, but it also didn’t work. Eventually, we tried using a different, brand new M5Stack, and it connected! Read the rest

10 LED Projects for Geeks: Build Light-Up Costumes, Sci-Fi Gadgets, and Other Clever Inventions

My friend John Baichtal has a new project book out called 10 LED Projects for Geeks: Build Light-Up Costumes, Sci-Fi Gadgets, and Other Clever Inventions. John is an excellent teacher and his book will guide you on your way to making fun light-up projects and sharpen your maker skills, including how to:

Design versatile circuits for your own needs Build and print a custom printed circuit board Create flexible circuits which you can use to make any wearable you dream up Turn analog signal into digital data your microcontroller can read Use gesture recognition and wireless interaction for your own Internet of Things projects Experiment with copper tape and create circuits with paper and foi Build "smart" gadgets that make decisions with sensors Read the rest

Review of a cool Arduino-compatible prototyping platform: M5Stack

This summer, I am working as an intern at the company Switch Science in Tokyo, Japan. Switch Science creates electronics kits for people to build and learn from. They produce products that are enjoyable for kids in elementary school all the way up to adults interested in electronics. Read the rest

How Trump's tariff wall will punish small American businesses, kill US jobs, and benefit giant mulitnationals

Last month, the legendary hardware hacker and entrepreneur Andrew "bunnie" Huang (who is also a talented science communicator) published a great explainer on the quirks of the Trump China tariff plan, which exempts finished goods (like TVs), but imposes stiff taxes on components that are shipped from China to US factories for final assembly, a tactic common to the most innovative, cutting edge companies who fear having their trade secrets stolen by Chinese manufacturing contractors. Read the rest

Modded, post-apocalyptic Hot Wheels cars

Back when I was a teen Car Wars player, one of my great pleasures was kit-bashing toy cars together with arms and armor from tank models to make Mad Max-ish battlewagons to use in our autoduels (a friend with family in the USA used to help us blow up our cars with smuggled in firecrackers to make "battle-damaged" models -- pretty much the perfect dangerous, stupid teen boy activity) (sorry, Mom). Read the rest

Making chiptunes with a calculator

HoustonTracker2 is free software that turns your still-overpriced Texas Instruments graphing calculator into a synth. Demo above. Now, you will not only be the nerdiest kid in algebra class, but the coolest as well.

HoustonTracker 2 is a music editor/sequencer for Texas Instruments graphing calculators. It outputs 1-bit sound through the calculator link port. HT2 features 4 voice polyphony, tons of effects, and a simple, tracker-style interface.

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How to remove splinters with a DIY smart phone magnifier

Chris Notap was able to pull a tiny splinter from his hand by attaching a small lens attachment he made for his phone, and looking at his phone's display to guide him in the surgery.

Here's a video on how to make the lens attachment (basically, buy a film camera for a couple of bucks at a thrift store, take it apart to retrieve the lens, and hot glue it to a popsicle stick):

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Trump's tariffs will kill making, especially STEM education, while encouraging US manufacturers to go offshore

With Trump poised to exact high tariffs on goods from China, it's tempting to declare the gadget party over: everyone is going to pay through the nose for electronics, from makers to Apple, and that's the end of the story, right? Read the rest

Homebiogas: easy, clean, climate-friendly way to heat and power your home with garbage

Yesterday, I saw a demo of the Homebiogas bioreactor: it's essentially an artificial stomach that uses colonies of microbes to digest your home food waste (it can do poop, too, but people tend to be squeamish about this), providing enough clean-burning biogas to cook your next meal, heat your house, or run a generator -- what's left behind is excellent fertilizer. Read the rest

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