Growing up back in the 1970s, I remember going to the furniture store with my parents, and being hypnotized by those dual-layered mirrors that had lights built into them, creating a sort of infinite light effect.
Like the way the Apple Watch looks, but don’t want to spend a few hundred bucks? Cheap Chinese knock-off makers are here to save the day! At first glance, this $16 wristwatch looks just like Apple’s popular timepiece.
If it weren’t for the words printed on the face of Skmei’s watch, you’d swear it was an Apple Watch with the sport band.
There is a whole universe that we can only see through a microscope. But high powered microscopes are cumbersome and often quite expensive. The Foldscope can help you check out the microscopic world and goes anywhere.
You punch out the microscope from a sheet of paper, and it has a lens that delivers 140X magnification, which is enough for “imaging live individual cells, cellular organelles, embryos, swimming bacteria and much more.”
The Foldscope is not new.
Today, even single board computers are locked in an arms race of size and power. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but Konstantin Dimitrov thinks that for budding programmers and electronic engineers, simplicity and soul will go a long way.
Earlier this year, we checked out the ScopeAround, a set of affordable scientific cameras that stream video to smartphones. But if you’re looking for something even simpler and cheaper, check out SmartMicroOptics’ Blips, a pair of macro and micro lenses that you stick over your mobile device’s camera.
Blips lenses are mounted on films that adhere electrostatically to your mobile device.
Even though geeky hobbies are increasingly going digital or electronic, the action figure and scale model market has remained strong. You know what’s even more enduring? Our love for dinosaurs. But veteran toy designer and sculptor David Silva has yet to find a winning combination of the two, so he wants to fill the void himself.
In 2008, after making toys for the likes of McFarlane Toys, Hasbro and NECA, David began sculpting dinosaur figures under the company Creative Beast.
Last year, we checked out a cheap and open source sip-and-puff mouse for the disabled. CEBA’s GlassOuse seems to be another affordable alternative. It uses Bluetooth to connect to both desktop computers and mobile devices.
It looks like a pair of eyeglasses but without the lenses.
It’s becoming increasingly clear to makers that single board computers and the DIY devices based on them need control interfaces that are simpler and faster to use than desktop peripherals or even full-on PCs. Pičugins Arsenijs believes he’s come up with a much simpler alternative.
Arsenijs’ calls his invention as he sees it: a Python-based Linux Control Interface, or pyLCI.
Last week we checked out Ben Heck’s keyboard and display in a box that he made to test dev kits. I mentioned that it should be a gadget that already exists. It turns out it does, and it’s called the NexDock.
The NexDock is basically the old Motorola Atrix lapdock except you connect devices to it via its mini-HDMI and USB ports, which means it works with a variety of smartphones, single-board computers, PCs-on-a-stick and media streaming devices.
In the past couple of years, a number of PC enthusiasts have been removing the lid – aka the Integrated Heat Spreader – on their Intel CPUs to replace the stock thermal paste with third party ones that do a better job of siphoning heat off of the chip itself.
The folks at Dinosaur Egg Farm want to raise awareness for wildlife preservation groups while making a bit of money for themselves as well. And what better way to remind us that life is precious than with stillborn dino plushies?
Set and forget cameras like action cameras and dash cams expanded the applications of video cameras. But action cameras can be pricey, while dash cams are not versatile. If you’re looking for a cheap, user-friendly and open source alternative, check out Armstart’s WiCAM.
WiCAM measures about 1.3″x
Batman’s utility belt isn’t as cool as his mask or logo, but it’s an equally essential part of any Dark Knight costume. DIY Prop Shop shows us how you can make a replica of the belt out of only $9 (USD) worth of materials.
Host Odin Abbott based his belt on the one that’s on Michael Keaton’s Batman costume.
Three years ago I used one of my cooler puns on the Photon 3D scanner, which I called cheap because you could snag it from its crowdfunding campaign for $390 (USD). CowTech Engineering’s $99 Ciclop 3D scanner takes that crown in a lop-sided price war, and supposedly without sacrificing on quality.
The CowTech Ciclop can scan at up to 0.5mm
Single board computers are getting more and more powerful, as exemplified by last year’s Pine A64. The Raspberry Pi Foundation keeps up with the times with the third version of its extremely popular computer. The Raspberry Pi 3 has significant improvements over the Raspberry Pi 2 but with the same price tag.
The Pi 3 has a new system-on-a-chip, the Broadcom BCM2837.
Mobile devices have become so popular as both still and video cameras that we now have lens attachments for phones and videocamera rigs for tablets. The ScopeAround system aims to add to that revolution by making affordable versions of scientific cameras that stream video to iOS or Android devices.
The ScopeAround lasts up to 3h per charge and has three hot-swappable camera heads.