FB group forms to open-source development of coronavirus-related medical hardware

A group has been formed on Facebook to help facilitate the open-source development of medical hardware (such as ventilators, filter masks, non-contact door openers, etc) to help fight the global coronavirus pandemic.

Here's the statement on their page:

COVID19 is currently spreading exponentially, in a mostly unchecked fashion, throughout the world. Infection doubling rates are as high as 2-3 days. Under simplistic models, such unchecked growth means the disease infects most of the world in months. Current statistics indicate that 15-20% of people who get it require hospitalization for respiratory failure for multiple weeks, and often need intense healthcare from medical professionals who are at severe risk treating these highly infectious patients. If infections proceed at their current pace across the globe, we will not have enough supplies like ventilators, respirators, PPE, etc. to meet demand.

This group is being formed to evaluate, design, validate, and source the fabrication of open source emergency medical supplies around the world, given a variety of local supply conditions.

This is an example of the sorts of projects being shared and discussed there:

And this, a 3D printable device for opening door handles without touching them.

Here is the link if you have something to contribute and want to join.

[H/t Goli Mohammadi]

Image: YouTube screengrab Read the rest

Review of Raspberry Pi's 7-inch touchscreen display

The Raspberry Pi Foundation recently introduced a low-cost  7-inch touchscreen display for the Pi (compatible with all models expect the Pi 1). It's a great display for retro-games and other projects. Here's a quick review from ETA Prime. Read the rest

DIY plywood chair with book storage

Laura Kampf made this cool looking plywood chair with a storage space for books. She says she'll upload plans for making one of your own soon.

If you like videos of people making things, I highly recommend Laura's YouTube channel. She makes a new thing every week, such as a cargo bike, a bike trailer for her dog, and a solar food dehydrator. I don't know how she does it!

Image: YouTube Read the rest

HackSpace magazine lowers its US print subscription price

In case you don't know, HackSpace is a terrific monthly maker magazine from the U.K. Published by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, HackSpace includes articles by bunnie huang, Andrew Lewis, Marc de Vinck, Sophy Wong, Bob Knetzger, and many other authors you many recognize from the pages of Make: magazine and other domains of the maker movement. I contribute a monthly tips and tutorials column.

One of the great benefits to HackSpace is that it has always been a free PDF for those who can't afford the high (over $100/year) international subscription rate. Well, good news, everyone! You can now get HackSpace for $60 a year (12 issues) and your sub comes with an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express (worth $25). Read the rest

DIY electromechanical sequin clock inspired by the popular kids t-shirts

My daughter loves the flip sequin shirts that are all the rage for kids these days. Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi's daughter digs them too and she inspired his fantastic Sequino clock that "writes and rewrites" the time by flipping the sequins. Kalsi posted his build notes over at Hackaday.

Sequino: A Clock Which Rewrites Time Again and Again

Read the rest

Cool retro console lets you play Conway's Game of Life

Love Hultén, who makes retrofuturistic game consoles, built this thing called an EvoBoxx, which lets you play mathematician John Horton Conway's Game of Life, a cellular automaton he devised in 1970. "The game is a zero-player game," writes Hultén, "meaning that its evolution is determined by its initial state, requiring no further input. One interacts with the Game of Life by creating an initial configuration and observing how it evolves, or, for advanced players, by creating patterns with particular properties."

If you don't have an EvoBoxx, you can play The Game of Life here.

Image: Love Hultén Read the rest

Man hacks his prosthetic arm to control music synthesizer with his thoughts

Bertolt Meyer wears a myoelectric prosthetic arm and hand controlled by electrodes attached to his residual limb that pick up impulses generated when he consciously contracts that muscle. Those impulses are then translated into control signals for the prosthetic hand. An electronic musician, Meyer had the idea to swap out the prosthetic hand for a DIY controller for his modular synthesizers so he can play music just by thinking about it. This is the SynLimb. Meyer writes:

Together with Chrisi from KOMA Elektronik and my husband Daniel, I am in the process of building a device (the "SynLimb") that attaches to my arm prosthesis instead of the prosthetic hand. The SynLimb converts the electrode signals that my prosthesis picks up from my residual limb into control voltages (CV) for controlling my modular synthesizer. The SynLimb thus allows me to plug my prosthesis directly into my snythesizer so that I can control its parameters with the signals from my body that normally control the hand. For me, this feels like controlling the synth with my thoughts.

Read the rest

Seven top tips from makers so far this year

Here are seven of my favorite DIY/maker tips published this year in my weekly newsletter, Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales.

Etching Metal with a 9v Battery Etching is easier than you think. Leah of See Jane Drill demonstrates how easy it is to etch a metal surface using little more than a 9v battery and wires, vinegar, salt, and Q-tips.

Finding the Thickness of a Wire Emory Kimbrough was one of the winners of my Tips book drawing in December. I asked contestants for one great tip. Emory sent me ten. And then, a few days later, he sent me another five – all publication-worthy. I’m excited to share them. Look for more Emory tips in the coming months. Here’s the first one:

If you need to find the thickness of a wire but don’t have a micrometer or calipers, wrap the wire around a dowel many times in a tight helix leaving no gaps between the coils. Now, just measure the width of, say, thirty coils with an ordinary ruler and divide by thirty. The more coils you wind, the more accurate your measurement. And even if you do use top-quality digital calipers, it’s even more accurate if you use this wind-and-divide method than if you measure a single thickness.

Organize Cables in Dollar Store Pencil Cases The column I’m currently working on for HackSpace magazine will cover workshop storage and organizing. As part of my research, I asked for relevant storage ideas on my Facebook page. My friend Jake Hildebrandt shared this idea. Read the rest

Father knitted a data viz blanket of his infant's sleep patterns

Seung Lee double knit this blanket based on data about his son's sleep patterns during his first year of life.

"Each stitch represents 6 minutes of time spent awake or asleep," Lee tweeted.

The blanket is 42" x 45," contains approximately 185,000 stitches and took around 300 hours to make. From Twitter:

The original plan was to crochet the entire blanket but I switched to double knitting because the data was much more clearly visualized and the color changes (of which there were literally thousands) were significantly easier..

The sleep data was collected with the BabyConnect app which lets you export to CSV. The CSVs were filtered and converted into JSON (using Google Apps Script and Python) which could then be used for visualization and tracking...

I built a tool in HTML/JavaScript so I could position stitch markers for the color changes and track overall progress. I made it browser based so I could pull it up on any device wherever I was...

(via Kottke) Read the rest

How to make a coin purse out of a rock

The Q took a fist-sized rock and made it into a zipper coin purse. I'm not sure why, but it's fun to watch the process.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Classical guitarist built a microtonal guitar from LEGO and it sounds beautiful

Most Western music is based on a twelve-tone octave with the smallest interval being a half step (or half tone, or "semitone") up or down. Microtonal music contains intervals smaller than a semitone. (Imagine playing notes between the keys on a traditional piano.) You can hear microtonal music compositions in the work of modernist and experimental composers, from Charles Ives and Claude Debussy to Wendy Carlos and Aphex Twin.

Tolgahan Coğulu is a Turkish musician known for designing an adjustable microtonal guitar and performing unique arrangements of Anatolian folk music and Ottoman maqam music. Most recently though, he took a cue from his young son and built a fantastic microtonal guitar from LEGO! Read the rest

Making a mood ring toilet seat using thermochromic liquid crystal ink

Well-known YouTube makers, Evan and Katelyn, take on their weirdest project yet. They use some thermochromic liquid crystal ink left-over from another project to turn a toilet seat into a butt-sized mood ring.

Image: YouTube screengrab. Read the rest

Meet the rocket scientist who invented the Super Soaker

Lonnie Johnson, age 70, was always a maker. As a child, his experiments with rocket fuel nearly burned down his house. While in high school, Johnson was the only black student to enter the Alabama science fair; his entry, a pneumatic robot named Linex, took first prize. Johnson went on to earn engineering degrees from Tuskegee University, worked on the stealth bomber for the US Air Force, developed nuclear power systems for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and has since founded two tech companies -- one that develops solid state batteries and the other focused on thermo-electrochemical converters with green energy applications.

Oh yeah, he also invented the Super Soaker.

From William Broad's 2001 New York Times profile of Johnson :

On his day job in 1982, Lonnie G. Johnson, a 32-year-old aerospace engineer, was preparing an interplanetary spacecraft for its atomic battery. But he dreamed of inventing something that would change life on earth.

He often worked at home as his wife and children slept. One weekend, while tinkering in his bathroom, Mr. Johnson hooked up to the sink a prototype cooling device.

Meant to run on water, it bore at one end a length of vinyl tubing and a homemade metal nozzle. The rest, as they say, is history.

''I turned and shot into the bathtub,'' he recalled. The blast was so powerful that the whoosh of accompanying air set the bathroom curtains flying. ''I said to myself, 'Jeez, this would make a great water gun.' ''

(via The Kid Should See This) Read the rest

How to make your own cotton candy with this simple DIY machine

Learn how to make delicious, healthful cotton candy with this machine made from a cheap USB fan, a plastic bucket, an aluminum soda can, and a few other scrap parts.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

DIY method for transmitting audio in large spaces directly to people's hearing aids

IEEE Spectrum's David Schneider participates in Quaker meetings where there are many elderly people who, even though they are wearing hearing aids, have a hard time catching comments from others around the room. One common solution to this problem is to provide headphones with FM receivers to pick up the sounds of the microphones. That approach isn't ideal, Schneider writes, because "a little awkward, in part because it makes you stand out. So Schneider and a friend bought a 1,000 feet (304 meters) roll of two-conductor, 20-gauge wire $125 and homebrewed an audio frequency induction loop that transmits the sound so it can picked up directly by hearing aids that contain a telecoil (T-coil). From IEEE Spectrum:

These hearing aids can be switched to a mode whereby they pick up audio-frequency signals electronically instead of using their built-in microphones. This system for passing the signal wirelessly doesn’t involve radio transmissions—it just uses magnetic induction. Suitable audio induction loops for energizing T-coils are found in all sorts of places, including museums and theaters; even some taxicabs are equipped with them...(S

I constructed an induction coil from a six-turn square loop of magnet wire that was about a half meter on a side (I taped the wire to a flattened cardboard box), using wire of the right diameter to make the loop resistance 8 ohms. I then attached it to the speaker terminals of an ordinary stereo receiver, one that was collecting dust in the back of my garage....

(Encouraged by initial tests and further refinements of the , another friend and I recently placed a similar wire loop in the attic of the building—which was a lot harder than laying it on the floor because we had to snake the wire around an obstacle course of roof trusses and HVAC ducting.

Read the rest

Teenagers recreate Toy Story 3 using stop-motion animation

Brothers Morgan and Mason McGrew were teenagers when they embarked on an 8-year-quest to remake Toy Story 3. The full length movie is on YouTubeand according to Gizmodo the project has Disney's blessing.

From Gizmodo:

If you’re interested in how the McGrew brothers actually made this fan film happen, you can head over to their Facebook page which features a series of behind the scenes looks at what went into their amateur production which started back in 2011. The British website Joe also published a fascinating interview with the brothers last year after the trailer for their film was released back in June of 2019. Be forewarned, though, it might leave you questioning how you spent your teenage years. The McGrews aren’t going to rake in billions of dollars from their fan film—that would certainly have Disney changing its mind about giving its blessing—but there’s little doubt this pair is going to be embraced by Hollywood, assuming they’re now not sick of filmmaking.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Teddy Ruxpin participates in Trump's impeachment trial

And if you don't know...

From Wikipedia:

Teddy Ruxpin is an animatronic children's toy in the form of a talking Illiop, which looks like a bear. The creature's mouth and eyes move while "reading" stories played on an audio tape cassette deck built into its back. It was created by Ken Forsse with later assistance by Larry Larsen and John Davies,and the first version of the toy was designed by the firm RKS Design. Later versions used a digital cartridge in place of a cassette. At the peak of its popularity, Teddy Ruxpin became the best-selling toy of 1985 and 1986, and the 2006 version was awarded the 2006 Animated Interactive Plush Toy of the Year award by Creative Child Magazine. A cartoon based on the characters debuted in 1986.

And from the Muppet Wiki:

Little Boppers were a line of toys made by Worlds of Wonder in 1987. The toys were sound-activated plush dolls that would "dance" to music. The toys featured plush covered plastic "feet" which were articulated at the "hips" and propelled the toys forward and side to side.

Versions of Baby Piggy and Baby Kermit were produced, along with a line of Disney figures (Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy), comical versions of Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolf Man, and Worlds of Wonder's own Teddy Ruxpin.

Read the rest

More posts