Ideas, Intelligence, Events and Promotions from WIRED

$30 War of the Worlds Tripod Lamp

Image via Makezine

This lamp is awesome and it costs $30 to make. What are you waiting for?

You won’t need fancy tools but you will need to put on your creativity hat and head to a resale shop or dollar store. The creator of this tutorial cut apart various plastic toys including a water gun, glue gunned them together, and finished with a coat of spray paint to create a War of the Worlds-inspired shape. Add metal legs and a flashlight from the hardware store and you’ve got yourself a desk lamp unlike no other. 

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|  August 31st, 2014

DIY Mind Control

Image via Spectrum

DIY nerds just got some good news. Mind control is only one hack away.

Brain-computer interface gear is now available online for purchase. It’s called OpenBCI and it will blow your mind. Why? It means makers can now incorporate brain wave control to anything they can hack. The versatile analog-to-digital converter can sample activity from the brain, muscles, and heart. The OpenBCI 8-bit board kit that’s Arduino compatible is currently available for pre-order for $399.99 at the OpenBCI store

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|  August 31st, 2014

Arduino-Based Electric Go-Kart

Image via Instructables

Forget the soapbox derby. Let’s build an electric go-kart. How about one that travels 15 miles per hour? And doesn’t need gasoline? Yep, that sounds good.

This fully-functional go-kart is efficient and fast. It doesn’t require gasoline and can travel for 10 to 15 miles per hour for about 30 minutes at a time. Although the design looks a little barebones, it has headlights, taillights, and an LCD screen. Unfortunately, you’re not going to get a thorough step-by-step for this complicated project but if you have a decent understanding of electronics, Arduino, and radio control power systems, you can probably find your way. After all, the kid who built this go-kart is only 15. (Now you’re motivated to tackle this project, right?) Learn more at Adafruit

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|  August 24th, 2014

Self-Folding Origami Robots

Image via Hackaday

How do you make a cheap, quick robot? You can’t, right? Wrong. It turns out that a little bit of origami inspiration and a little bit of creativity goes a long way.

So how did they do it? MIT engineers used flexible print circuit boards made out of paper and polystyrene (aka Shrinky Dinks) to create a functional machine that builds itself and goes into action with the press of a button. The flat composite is mechanically pre-programmed to fold at the hinges and then operate – in this case, crawl across a table. While these self-folding robots seem like the most fun toys ever, they have a lot of practical uses. For example, they can easily travel to harsh environments like space or war zones. Watch a video of the robots in action over at hackaday.

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|  August 24th, 2014

Turn Water into Wine

Image via Makezine

Everyone loves a little magic. Now turning water into wine is another story – talk about a good party trick. Have this illusion up your sleeve and you’ll be the star of your next get together.

The “water to wine” trick needs only a cardboard box and three empty soda bottles that are connected via slim tubing. With a little magic – ahem, air pressure – water is poured through a funnel and into an empty bottle, which pushes the air from the empty bottle into a bottle of wine, which pushes the wine out the tube and into a glass.  All your audience will see is water poured into a box and wine coming out. How’s that for a little abracadabra?

Watch the detailed video and read the full directions at Instructables

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|  August 17th, 2014

Now You Can 3D Print with Amazon

Image via Amazon

Big news, my friends. Amazon now has a 3D Printing Store. If this doesn’t solidify the 3D-printing movement then I don’t know what will.

Customers can choose from a catalog of 3D-printed items ranging from jewelry to toys to tech accessories to home décor to games. Right now my eye is on the slim wallet, the “Dawg” sculpture, and the GoPro scuba mask mount. Some items – like a bobble head, dog collar tag, and monogrammed cufflinks – are customizable with multiple options for size, color, material, and more. No word yet on whether customers will eventually be able to upload their own designs. 

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|  August 17th, 2014

Rubber Band Machine Gun

Image via Instructables

There are some projects that just need to be made. This is one of them. If you love woodwork, using a jigsaw and a hand drill, and sanding, you’ll love the Rubber Band Machine Gun. It holds over 100 rubber bands – basically as many as you can physically fit onto the barrels. 

It only takes a weekend to cut, sand, and assemble the various inexpensive parts of this homemade project. It’s as simple as printing the free template, gluing it to pine board, drilling, cutting, sanding, and then gluing the dowels and pine board together like one big puzzle. Read and watch the video for the full – and very detailed – project over at Instructables

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|  August 10th, 2014

Robot 101

Image via Instructables

If you’ve ever wanted to build your own robot, this might be a great place to start.

One man dove headfirst into his premiere robot adventure and documented the whole thing on Instructables. It’s a modified and simplified 3pi Robot called the 2pi Line Follower that moves autonomously instead of with a remote control. With help from Gordon McComb’s Robot Builder’s Bonanza and David Cook’s Intermediate Robot Building, I’d say the 2pi Line Follower is quite impressive for a first-time build.

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|  August 3rd, 2014

Vote for the Working Lego Microscope!

Image via Flickr

There’s a new Lego Ideas project that you don’t want to miss – it’s a functioning microscope made entirely from bricks. It has coarse and fine adjustment knobs, adjustable stage and magnification, lights, and a Lego magnifying glass. This is the real deal.

Think of the possibilities. Not only do builders get to piece together a functioning microscope, but then they get to use their creation again and again to learn more and more about the world around them. Do it for the kids! The project is currently approaching 1,000 supporters of the 10,000 it needs. Support the Working Microscope today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                — Maker 

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|  August 3rd, 2014

Play With Your Food

Image via PSFK

If I gave you a chocolate wafer, you’d be happy. If I gave you chocolate wafer pieces that could be placed together to form a dinosaur or an airplane, you’d be even happier. Right? RIGHT.

Choco Fix allows sugar fiends to build edible models from chocolate wafer pieces. The kits include dinosaurs, racecars, horses, and airplanes and augmented reality packaging lets smartphone users envision the finished project in 3D. Cadbury challenged graduate students at the University of Arts London to use chocolate in an innovative way to combat the rising price of chocolate. This is what they came up with. I’d pay top dollar. How about you?  Read more about it at PSFK

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|  July 27th, 2014