Ideas, Intelligence, Events and Promotions from WIRED

A Real Golden Snitch

Image via Instructables 

There are a lot of things from Harry Potter that we wish were real. Based on the number of “professional” Quidditch leagues that have popped up around the world, this should be a hit. 

This Motorized Quidditch Golden Snitch won’t fly through the air but it looks like it will! And, it’s a perfect project for kids who are interested in electronic circuits. The tutorial involves spraying a ping-pong ball with metallic gold paint and using a coin cell battery, two small vibration motors, and a tilt sensor switch for the electronics plus a bit of soldering. Read the full tutorial at Instructables

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|  September 21st, 2014

15-Minute Speaking Alarm Clock Project

Photo via Amazon

Got fifteen minutes? Connect an old iPhone dock alarm clock to a Raspberry Pi and a wifi dongle and magic will happen.

YouTube user skiwithpete created a ten-minute tutorial that you need to watch now – and apparently the entire project will take less than five minutes to put together. When you’re done, you’ll get an alarm clock that speaks a personalized greeting, the time and date, and the current weather conditions as well as stock prices and the top three world news headlines. Link to the code are included in the tutorial. Now get to work! 

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|  September 14th, 2014

An End Table That Can Beer You

Image via Hack A Day

End tables are slightly functional pieces of furniture that can act as great resting places for your remote or your drink. But why not utilize that space to the best of its ability?

The kegerator end table is exactly what it sounds like but it’s fancier than you’re thinking. The keg is completely concealed within the cabinet and the draft tower emerges from a hatch top with the turn of a key. By coating the inside of the cabinet with bathroom sealant, the cabinet becomes airtight and is ready to be transformed into a mini fridge. An Arduino updates the temperature on an LCD display so you know your beer is staying cool.

Read the full tutorial at HackaDay

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|  September 14th, 2014

Reserve Your Tatooine Sand Watch Now

Image via Kickstarter 

Kickstarter really has something for everyone – these Tatooine Sand Watches are the latest must-back for Star Wars fans. It’s just a regular watch but – get this – it contains sand from the actual filming locations in Tunisia. Ahem, I mean Tatooine. You’ll have to tell the time in Aurebesh numerals. (Aurebesh is the official alphabet of Tatooine. I thought you were a true Star Wars fan!)

Need a reason to justify this purchase? This will be the second and final run of the limited edition high-quality timepieces. Also, the proceeds will go to restoring the Tatooine film sets, which are currently aging and being buried under sand dunes in North Africa. Lastly – the guy who plays Chewbacca wears one! Who doesn’t want to be like Chewbacca? 

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|  September 7th, 2014

Lego Arduino Han Solo Blaster

Image via CNET

Interested in making a full-scale electronic Lego replica of Han Solo’s blaster, complete with lights and sounds? I thought so.

As long as the force is with you, you should be able to get through this semi-challenging tutorial. According to Lego ninja and project creator Baron von Brunk, the electronic portion and coding is fairly simple. It’s the Lego build that’s very advanced and heads up – it’s not a cheap project. If you can’t muster up the strength to build a DL-44 Blaster yourself, submit your vote on the Lego Ideas page and help make it an official product.        

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|  September 7th, 2014

$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