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Gadget Freak
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Gadget Freak Case #243: MR Shock Improves Biking
Gadget Freak 
7/22/2013  34 comments
A trio of Colorado State engineering students created a magnetorheological bicycle shock absorber that can be adjusted using a touchscreen to affect the bike's ride.
Gadget Freak: Summer Lovin
Gadget Freak 
7/4/2013  15 comments
It's July 4, and that means summer has officially kicked into high gear. To celebrate, we've pulled together some of our favorite gadgets inspired by warm weather.
Gadget Freak Case #242: A Gadget's Call for Assistance
Gadget Freak 
6/18/2013  26 comments
Andrew Morris designed a circuit that could detect a stroke victim's groan and convert the sound into a signal so caregivers would know when help was needed.
Slideshow: Brilliant Gadgets From the Hands of the Young
Gadget Freak 
5/24/2013  31 comments
We see Gadget Freak projects from all walks of life, but many of our most imaginative gadgets are created by budding engineers.
Gadget Freak Case #241: Gloved Hand Controls Airplane's Flight
Gadget Freak 
5/17/2013  41 comments
A team of Colorado State University students has created a gadget that guides a remote control airplane through the sensors in a glove.
Gadget Freak Case #240: MEMS Mics Up Telescope
Gadget Freak 
5/9/2013  20 comments
Jerald Cogswell created a sonic telescope to grab sound and bring it as close to the user as the image.
Gadget Freak Case #239: Bridge Rectifier Eliminates LED Light Flicker
Gadget Freak 
4/29/2013  57 comments
Bernard R. Smith Jr. created a bridge rectifier that eliminates the flicker in LED light strings.
Gadget Freak Case #238: Controller Adjusts Garage Lights
Gadget Freak 
4/17/2013  26 comments
Thomas W. Manning created an automatic switch that uses a solid state relay to adjust the florescent lights in his garage automatically.
Gadget Freak Case #237: Dishwasher Indicator Eases Unloading
Gadget Freak 
4/9/2013  40 comments
Jitendra Tailor's gadget uses a proximity sensor and a flashing LED to tell his family members when to load or unload the dishwasher.
Gadget Freak Case #236: Remotely Controlling the Room Temperature
Gadget Freak 
4/2/2013  11 comments
Richard A. Bipes adapted a portable remote so he could adjust his electric space heater without getting up.
Gadget Freak Case #235: Ignition Control Unit for Harley Davidson Panhead Engine
Gadget Freak 
3/26/2013  20 comments
Edward Nauman designed an ignition control unit for the Harley Davidson Panhead engine. The unit can be adapted to almost any four-cycle engine with the proper design and fabrication resources.
Gadget Freak Case #234: We Love This Automated Mailbox
Gadget Freak 
3/12/2013  30 comments
Jeremy Willden created small mailboxes for his daughters' Valentine's Day cards. The boxes use a sensor to open automatically when someone walks by.
Gadget Freak Case #233: Inline Clock With Incandescent Display
Gadget Freak 
2/21/2013  22 comments
David Christianson's inline clock has an electromechanical incandescent display based on an array of tiny projectors that share a ground glass rear projection plane.
Gadget Freak Case #232: Finding the Right Hydraulic Force
Gadget Freak 
12/20/2012  26 comments
Ed Nauman found using a hydraulic press to straighten a piece of material involved guesswork, so he created a gadget that indicates the actual force applied.
Gadget Freak Case #231: Super Rugged Computer-Controlled Tyco Car
Gadget Freak 
12/7/2012  13 comments
Matthew Katzenstein took an electrical car and added a range of control based on robotics.
Gadget Freak Case #230: The Inexpensive Dimmable LED Desk Lamp
Gadget Freak 
11/30/2012  53 comments
Andrew Morris designed a dimmable LED driver circuit that is simple and energy efficient. He then installed the circuit into a portable fluorescent lamp.
Gadget Freak Case #229: Modify Your Wall Art
Gadget Freak 
11/9/2012  21 comments
Al Linke has created a gadget that modifies wall art using LED matrix panels behind the art.
Video: The Incredible Lego 'Great Ball Contraption'
Gadget Freak 
11/5/2012  35 comments
Hey Gadget Freaks -- check out the largest, most intricate Lego machine we've ever seen!
Gadget Freaks That Go Bump in the Night
Gadget Freak 
10/31/2012  10 comments
To get into the spirit, we have pulled together some of our freakishly great Halloween-inspired gadgets.
Gadget Freak Case #228: Super LED Flashlight Hits 3,000 Lumens
Gadget Freak 
10/19/2012  47 comments
John Duffy, a 15-year-old Gadget Freak, has put together a powerful LED flashlight that runs at almost 30W and 3,000 lumens.
Gadget Freak Case #227: Wearable Computer Keeps Tabs on Fido & Kitty
Gadget Freak 
10/5/2012  26 comments
Pete Cross created the PetInspect gadget to record data on how a pet is being treated while it is boarded. The gadget helps you track the pet's environment and if it is getting exercise.
Gadget Freak Case #226: Speed Regulator for Rotary Tool
Gadget Freak 
9/20/2012  43 comments
Andrew Morris' microcontroller-based DC motor speed regulator brings control for delicate work.
Gadget Freak Case #225: Moving the Keyboard Onto Your Fingers
Gadget Freak 
9/14/2012  39 comments
Wayne Rasanen created a device to replace QWERTY that reduces hand movement and ends the days of flying fingers.
Gadget Freak Case #224: Gadget Remembers What You Need to Do
Gadget Freak 
9/7/2012  21 comments
George Tempesta's motion-triggered calendar keeps track of time and dates when a chore or event needs attention.
Gadget Freak: Ear Muff Headphones
Gadget Freak 
8/30/2012  24 comments
Sylvie Barak created a custom pair of earmuff headphones to keep her ears warm while she listens to music.
Gadget Freak: LED Message Board
Gadget Freak 
8/24/2012  20 comments
Rich Quinnell's LED message board traces out a message in mid-air.
Gadget Freak: LED Matrix Helmet
Gadget Freak 
8/17/2012  15 comments
This silver chrome helmet has a full LED matrix display on the front that illuminates words and patterns.
Gadget Freak Case #223: Rocket Records Its Own Flight
Gadget Freak 
8/10/2012  51 comments
Doug Conner strapped a video camera to his PVC-based rocket to record its flight.
Gadget Freak Case #222: Warming Up the Telescope
Gadget Freak 
8/3/2012  30 comments
Eric Chesak created a heating pad system to keep his telescope at a uniform temperature throughout his deep-space photography sessions.
Gadget Freak Case #221: Smart Toolbox Finds the Right Tool
Gadget Freak 
7/27/2012  29 comments
A team of student engineers at Colorado State University have designed a five-drawer toolbox that can locate tools and open the drawer when they are found.
Gadget Freak Case #220: Power Lock With a Secret Code
Gadget Freak 
7/20/2012  18 comments
To keep curious kids from playing with his workbench tools, William Grill created a lock that requires a secret code before power can go to the plug.
Want to Make a Cool $500?
Gadget Freak 
7/13/2012  8 comments
Does your homebrew design have what it takes to be featured in the Design News Gadget Freak forum?
Gadget Freak Case #219: Watching the Alpha Sparks Fly
Gadget Freak 
7/6/2012  18 comments
John Iovine created a homemade alpha particle spark detector with a high-voltage power supply and radioactive materials.
Gadget Freak Case #218: Finally – A Decent Space Heater Thermostat
Gadget Freak 
6/29/2012  37 comments
Andrew Morris designed an electronic thermostat that senses actual room temperature. He tested and tweaked the design to get the proper control range and hysteresis.
Gadget Freak Case #217: Finding the Sun With a Microcontroller
Gadget Freak 
6/22/2012  51 comments
Jerald Cogswell has created a gadget that finds the sun for solar applications.
Gadget Freak Case #216: Wirelessly Charged Indestructible LED Lantern
Gadget Freak 
6/11/2012  41 comments
John Duffy created an indestructible LED lantern that can be recharged without opening its hard PVC shell.
Gadget Freak Case #215: Automating the Doggie Door
Gadget Freak 
6/5/2012  28 comments
Les Kelly’s remote opens or closes a pet flap, whether on a crate or a door, and can work through walls. A timer can be attached to let your pet out at a regular time of the day.
Slideshow: Latest & Greatest Gadget Freaks
Gadget Freak 
5/29/2012  17 comments
Take a tour through some of our newest, most discussed projects, from an Android Breathalyzer to a robotic hand.
Gadget Freak Case #214: Radio Touch Sensors Talk to the Smartphone
Gadget Freak 
5/21/2012  20 comments
Matt Oppenheim has devised a radio that speaks to an Android smartphone to help the visually impaired learn the layout of a new device.
Gadget Freak Case #213: Android Brings the Mirror to Life
Gadget Freak 
5/14/2012  10 comments
Al Linke's interactive mirror can display pictures, running text, simple games, and video streamed from an Android phone.
Gadget Freak Case #212: Solar Up-Converter Handles Remote Sensors
Gadget Freak 
5/7/2012  9 comments
William Grill's gadget can take energy from an alternate source (such as the sun) and increase the voltage to make the power useful in a wide range of applications.
Gadget Freak Case #211: High-Speed Photography Circuit
Gadget Freak 
4/19/2012  20 comments
To capture quick events, like the pop of a balloon, James Hartnett created a high-speed circuit that triggers a flash when movement or sound is detected.
Gadget Freak Case #210: Digital Timer for Night Swimmers
Gadget Freak 
4/2/2012  20 comments
When Doug Conner couldn't track his time while night swimming, he created a digital timer with an LED display to show the time from 10 feet away.
Gadget Freak Case #209: Gradually Dimming Incandescent Bulb
Gadget Freak 
3/29/2012  27 comments
To get immediate lighting while still conserving energy, Dick Bipes used an auxiliary incandescent lamp that would fade out as his CFL floodlights began to reach full brightness.
Gadget Freak Case #208: Robotics Unleashed With Glove-Operated Hand
Gadget Freak 
3/16/2012  15 comments
The Glove-Operated Digital Hand is a mechanical device that can be controlled remotely. It was created for use in environments that are too dangerous for humans, but still need the dexterity of a human hand.
Slideshow: More Best of Gadget Freak
Gadget Freak 
3/9/2012  11 comments
Here's a slideshow with links to our best homebrew engineering projects, drawn from the Design News Gadget Freak section.
Gadget Freak Case #207: Android Breathalyzer in an Altoids Box
Gadget Freak 
3/2/2012  28 comments
Al Linke's tiny breathalyzer is stored in an Altoid's box and the results can be sent to his Android phone. The key component is the IOIO board, which enables the Android to receive data from eternal sensors.
Gadget Freak Case #206: Electroluminescent Wire Sound Controller
Gadget Freak 
2/28/2012  12 comments
By connecting electroluminescent wire to his Android smartphone, Matt Katzenstein has created his own personal disco light that strobes to the beat of his music.
Driving App Updates via Crowdsourcing
Gadget Freak 
2/22/2012  10 comments
Waze, an open-source GPS-enabled smartphone app, takes full advantage of crowdsourcing to update road conditions.
Gadget Freak Case #205: Colorado Smart Bike Shifts Itself
Gadget Freak 
2/14/2012  41 comments
A group of Colorado State University engineering students created a bike that shifts gears by itself based on several inputs: rear wheel speed, pedaling direction, and initial chain position.
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The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
At Medical Design & Manufacturing Midwest, Joe Wascow told Design News how Optimal Design prototyped a machine that captures the wing-beat of a duck.
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Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
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