A couple years ago I ordered a copy of Steve Kilts’s “Advanced FPGA Design”. I never pay for overnight shipping, but in this case it was for work, so why not? It arrived in less than 24 hours, which, upon reflection, I found amazing. From a shelf in Kentucky to a shelf in Austin TX at an average speed of 60 mph, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of other items that same evening making their own journey from equally improbable start and end points.
The amazing thing about it is how ordinary it is. We conceive of an object, locate it hundreds or thousands of miles away, and before we know it it’s in our hands. It’s quite a comment on human ingenuity. Either that, or it’s just that I’m easily amazed.
Sacha over at ChemHacker has created a project that is amazing in the same way, only a lot more so. It’s a DIY open source scanning tunneling electron microscope. Some time ago I wrote about one of these. The phrase itself almost seems like an oxymoron — Don’t those things cost millions of dollars and require liquid helium or something? They don’t, and in fact can be built with Arduinos, protoboards, and tungsten light bulb filaments, and there are at least two groups out there who have done it. So here’s another example of technology that not so long ago resulted in a Nobel price being awarded to its inventor, and which is available today to the do-it-yourselfer. Amazing.
Send in your gadget!
Design News is always looking for new gadets to feature in the print edition of the magazine. Mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, whatever. Believe me, if they’ll run my hot rodded Billy Bass they’ll run anything. If you’ve creating something clever and would like to see it in print, submit it to the Design News editors:
You’ll get the thrill of seeing your product show up in a print magazine right in your mailbox, and you’ll get a check for $500 as well.
Design News Gadgeteer