Does your homebrew design have what it takes to be a Design News Gadget Freak project? If it does, we'll pay you $500.
Gadget Freak builds aren't professional products, but they do showcase the spirit of innovation that's burning inside all design engineers. They also highlight that desert-island skill of making something functional and interesting out of a pile of spare parts.
For Star Trek aficiondos, this skill recalls the episode where Mr. Spock, thrust back in time to the 1930s, lamented that he was "endeavoring to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins." Many Gadget Freaks also fall under the umbrella of "I wish I'd thought of that."
Gadget Freak #178 was the "Easy-Out" -- a remote control that lets a pet out of its crate to go for a walk.
Gadget Freak #191 was the "FaceMelter3000," a guitar amp that deliberately introduces distortion. ("Revolution," anyone?)
Gadget Freak #190 dispenses a free gumball if you know trivia.
The thing that's perhaps the most charming about Gadget Freak is that it shows off the continuing impulse that engineering types have to get in the garage and tinker.
If you're tinkering around and developing a clever gadget, please let us know. Send your idea to Rob Spiegel.
Send me a complete description of your project, including how it works and how to operate it. I'll also need a bill of materials and a schematic diagram.
To wrap up the entry, take color pictures of your gadget, and shoot a short video -- with a maximum run time of four minutes -- of your project in action. A YouTube-quality video shot with a handheld flip-style camera is fine.
Our complete Gadget Freak design submittal guidelines are posted here.
Remember -- there may be $500 waiting for you!