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Gadget Freak
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Gadget Freak Case #228: Super LED Flashlight Hits 3,000 Lumens
Gadget Freak 
10/19/2012  45 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  41 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  38 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  50 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  17 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.
Gadget Freak Case #204: Self-Starting, Solar-Powered Stirling Engine
Gadget Freak 
2/7/2012  28 comments
Doug Conner's self-starting, solar-powered Stirling engine runs all year when the sun is visible from the sculpture’s location. The engine can shut down when the sun isn’t visible, and it can restart by itself when the sun comes back up.
Gadget Freak Case #203: Smart Recycle Can
Gadget Freak 
1/17/2012  19 comments
This recycler determines the type of material being entered, by scanning it in or entering it via a touchscreen; and an RC servomotor opens the trash flap, dropping the material in the can.
Gadget Freak Case #202: Frankenkindle – An Easier-to-Use Kindle
Gadget Freak 
1/3/2012  23 comments
To help his sister, who has cerebral palsy, Glenn Johnson created an easier-to-use Kindle by taking the controls from a children's V.Reader and routing them into the Kindle's interface board.
Gadget Freak Case #201: Plug & Play Sprout Board
Gadget Freak 
12/22/2011  24 comments
Jared Bouck found that off-the-shelf monitor systems were lacking the features he needed and were cost-prohibitive, so he created the sprout board, which is 100 percent open-source and totally customizable to the needs of implementations.
Gadget Freak Case #200: The Sun Lights Up the Deck at Night
Gadget Freak 
12/12/2011  12 comments
To provide nighttime safety for his deck, William Grill used a 40W regulator and solar panel to create an application to shine light all night.
Slideshow: Best Gadget Freak Projects of 2011
Gadget Freak 
12/5/2011  22 comments
Here's a slideshow with links to our best homebrew engineering projects, drawn from the Design News Gadget Freak section.
Gadget Freak Case #199: Nixie Millivolt Meter Clock Add-On
Gadget Freak 
11/28/2011  18 comments
When James Hartnett found a Nixie, a tube for displaying numerals, he instantly decided that he needed to make a clock.
Gadget Freak Case #198: Build a Remote Fan Control
Gadget Freak 
11/9/2011  11 comments
Andy Morris has devised a propeller fan remote control that doesn’t require line-of-sight, which makes it easier to use in the dark. The gadget comes with off/on, three fan speeds, and multicolored LEDs to indicate the fan’s speed.
Gadget Freak Jr.: Manned Electric Helicopter
Gadget Freak 
11/4/2011  9 comments
It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's an ultralight helicopter running via DC motors and lithium-ion batteries.
Gadget Freak Jr.: Homebrew Jet Engines
Gadget Freak 
10/27/2011  17 comments
In an aerospace and mechanical technology trilogy, we bring you videos of homebrew jet engine projects including one made via 3D printing.
Gadget Freak Case #197: Controlling Solar Water Flow
Gadget Freak 
10/25/2011  19 comments
To make his solar water heater more efficient, Paul Westaway put together a differential controller that turns on the pump when the temperature of the solar panel or woodstove coils is higher than the temperature in the storage tanks and turns off when the temperature is lower.
Gadget Freak Case #196: Mayan Water Sound Fountain
Gadget Freak 
10/13/2011  8 comments
This waterfall flows over a miniature Mayan temple and the lights respond to the intensity of the speakers.
Is Your Freaky Gadget Worth $500?
Gadget Freak 
9/30/2011  5 comments
Send us your gadget and become an official Design News Gadget Freak.
Gadget Freak Case #195: Nifty Master/Slave Green Power Switch
Gadget Freak 
9/29/2011  7 comments
This green gadget allows the user to turn speaker systems on and off with a TV or laptop computer. It can also be used to turn on lamps and other electric appliances.
Tree-Climbing Robot
Gadget Freak 
9/27/2011  13 comments
A high school senior has built a robot that grips on to a tree and climbs up like an inchworm.
Dippy Bird Knows the Time
Gadget Freak 
9/23/2011  2 comments
These four Dippy Birds will tell you the current hour.
Gadget Freak Case #194: Fluffing Up Model Lighting
Gadget Freak 
9/15/2011  7 comments
William Grill created an inexpensive controller to customize the lighting for a model or simulator.
Fun With the Arduino Inventor's Kit
Gadget Freak 
9/14/2011  1 comment
Gadget Freak blogger Steve Ravet follows up on his kids' experiences with the Arduino Inventor's Kit.
Gadget Freak Case #193: The Gadget Let the Dog Out
Gadget Freak 
9/1/2011  9 comments
Les Kelly first showed off his gadget skills in Gadget Freak Case #178, where he created a device that let his dog out of a crate remotely. Now Les has taken the show outdoors with his Easy/Out! remote trigger.
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