We’re big fans of [Bill Hammack], aka the Engineer Guy. His series of engineering videos dredge up pleasant memories of watching Mr. Wizard but spin to the adult science enthusiast. The most resent season (he calls it series #4) scratches the surface of the topics covered in his book Eight Amazing Engineering Stories, which was written with fellow authors [Patrick Ryan] and [Nick Ziech]. They provided us with a complimentary digital copy of the book to use for this review.
The conversational style found in the videos translates perfectly to the book, but as with comparing a novel to a movie, the written word allows for much more depth. For instance, we loved learning about how Apple uses anodization to dye the aluminum used for iPod cases. The same presentation style makes the topic easily understandable for anyone who took some chemistry and math in High School. But primers a sidebars offer an optional trip through the looking-glass, explaining the history behind the process, how it compares to natural materials, and what trade-offs are made in choosing this process.
Some of the other topics included are how CCD camera sensors, lead-acid batteries, mems accelerometers, and atomic clocks work. As the book progresses through all eight topics general concepts the complexity of the items being explained advances quickly. By the seventh story — which covers the magentron in a microwave oven — we’d bet the concepts challenge most readers’ cognition. But we still enjoyed every page. The book would make a great pool-side read. It would make a great graduation gift (too bad we missed that time of year) but keep it in mind for any science minded friends or relatives. You can see [Bill’s] own description of the book and all its formats in the clip after the break.
TLDR: Buy it or give it as a gift
Continue reading “Book Review: Eight Amazing Engineering Stories”
We’ve been getting a lot of emails on the Hackaday tip line about the Makey Makey. This business-card sized circuit board turns everything – bananas, Play-Doh, water, and people – into a touch interface.
There have been a ton of blogs that have written about the Makey Makey Kickstarter and debut at the Bay Area Maker Faire, but Hackaday has been mum on the pending release of the Makey Makey. There’s a reason for that: [Jay] and [Eric], the MIT Media Lab rats who came up with the Makey Makey, offered to send a demo board out to somebody at Hackaday. Well, here’s the review of all the cool stuff you can make with the Makey Makey.
Continue reading “Review and a build: Makey Makey, a banana piano, and Mario”
This is the gauntlet; a place where things are tortured in ways that only an engineer could appreciate.
Today’s victim is a 1.0W green laser module, manufactured by Suzhou Daheng under the brand name “DHOM”.
As far as Chinese laser manufacturers go, Suzhou Daheng is about one rung lower than CNI in terms of quality. Although US companies like Coherent blow these guys out of the water, both are still reputable nonetheless. As far as Chinese lasers themselves go, this one seems a bit conservatively rated; a nice change from the “1000MW 532nm laser cat toy burning module” that’s not too uncommon on dealextreme and the like.
More after the break…
Continue reading “The Gauntlet: A 1 Watt Laser Module”
Following Maker Faire, we’ve had a few days to poke around with Digilent’s 32-bit Arduino-compatible chipKIT boards and compiler. We have some initial performance figures to report, along with impressions of the hardware and software.
Continue reading “chipKIT Uno32: first impressions and benchmarks”
At the beginning of the Month we came across a coupon code for a free eZ430-F2013 development stick. TI has given these things now and again so we took the opportunity to acquire one. It arrived yesterday and we’ve spent just a bit of time looking it over. Above you can see the first project completed; Hello World on a salvaged Nokia cell phone screen. Join us after the break for our thoughts on the device, as well as more pictures and details.
Continue reading “Hands-on with eZ430-F2013″
At the Bay Area Maker Faire this past May, we had our first glimpse of Wild Planet’s Spy Video TRAKR, a $130 radio-controlled toy with some surprises under the hood.
On the surface, the Spy Video TRAKR — the latest addition to the popular Spy Gear toy line — is an R/C tank with a video camera and night vision, with the added ability to download new “apps” from the internet for extra functions. With a little detective work, one uncovers the TRAKR’s secret double life: it’s also an eminently hackable robotics platform! Prior Spy Gear toys have been popular hack targets, providing inexpensive, mass-produced sources of unusual items such as head-mounted displays. Rather than throw up barriers, Wild Planet has chosen to embrace this secondary market, with plans to release development tools and documentation making it possible to extend the device’s capabilities.
Read on for our image-heavy unboxing and initial impressions.
With the growing popularity of the Android OS for smartphones, it has become a contender for the likes of Apple’s iPhone. With the rise of Android came the facet it revolves around; Open Source. Besides it revolving around being open sourced it also has deep roots with social media. There has been an outbreak of different Twitter applications for the Android devices, each with their ups and downs suited for different types of users ranging from the socialite to the power users of twitter. These are the top 5 Twitter clients for Android (A phone running Android 2.1 OS – Éclair – will be used but most of these will be compatible with 1.5 & 1.6 OS and will be stated if they are not available to all OS versions) :
Continue reading “Top 5 Twitter Clients For Android”