Archive for category: Toys and Gadgets

On Theo Jansen’s walking mechanism…

May 23, 2013 | 3D printing, Math, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

If you haven’t heard of Theo Jansen and his incredible walking machines, I can’t do them justice with words. Check this out: His work is accessible from I find his creations amazingly cool. And others do as well, even hamsters (although cats seem less impressed): But while I’ve found these things fascinating, I didn’t […]

Batsocks – Text on TV – Introduction

January 12, 2011 | diy, electronics, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

The chaps over at the Batsocks blog sell a cute little gadget called the “Tellymate”: a nice little serial->video converter that is very, very simple. It uses a single Atmel AVR Mega, and handful of other extra components to implement a full character mapped 38×25 character display terminal which reads characters from a serial input […]

Old Glory, in Postscript

August 19, 2010 | My Projects, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

I needed a graphic of a flag that I could scale to whatever size I needed. About 10 minutes of Postscript hacking with the specifications in Wikipedia yielded the following results: Sadly, the syntax highlighter that I have here doesn’t know about PostScript, so I’ll just have to add it here. %!PS % % % […]

Making a soft-circuit input device for your computer

August 13, 2010 | electronics, Hardware, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’m intrigued by various uses for embedded processors, and so are my readers. I hadn’t seen this particular microcontroller board before, the “Teensy”, which is very similar to the Arduino, except that it is uses an ATMEL AVR chip with a direct support for USB. The link also points at a nifty interface to “soft […]

A New Podcast! With Reviews of XM Radio and the Panasonic DMC-TZ1

May 18, 2006 | Audioblogs and Podcasting, Brainwagon Radio, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

What can I say? I was bored on the way home yesterday, and decided to record a 23 minute podcast, reviewing two of my moderately recent gadget purchases: The Delphi SKYFI2 receiver for XM satellite radio. The Panasonic DMC-TZ1 digital camera, a compact five megapixel camera with 10x optical zoom. I also gave a brief […]

little tips about making rc micro_helicopter

April 29, 2006 | General, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

It’s been a busy week for me, wading through piles of SIGGRAPH sketch reviews, so I haven’t had too much inclination to spend more time in front of a computer.   But I did find this article linked on the make blog: little tips about making rc micro_helicopter.  A very cool micro helicopter, which used a […]

Build Your Own Nuclear Bomb Effects Computer

February 27, 2006 | Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

What more needs to be said? Technorati Tags: Nuclear Bomb Computer, Slide Rule

Alcohol Breath Test Pen

February 18, 2006 | I Kid You Not, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

The Only Pen a Drunk Could Ask For – Gizmodo So you’re at your favorite sports bar watching the big game with your friends. Before heading out and driving home, perhaps it’d be a good idea to make sure you’re not legally intoxicated. At this point, it’s just a matter of whipping out the Alcohol […]

Run Linux on a JuiceBox

February 16, 2006 | General, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

Via the Make Blog, LinuxDevices tells you how to run linux on a JuiceBox.  I bought one of these a while ago, and haven’t done much with it, other than take one of my flickr pictures and copy it to a memory card and display it as show in the picture.  I’ll have to goof […]

Lay Siege to Your Enemies!

February 10, 2006 | Link of the Day, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

Feel the need to lob tennis balls at those who oppose you? Try checking out these rather nice plans for a small trebuchet. With such a mighty seige engine, none dare oppose your military might! Seriously though, these things are: interesting mechanical devices fun to play with and excellent for tossing water balloons. Unless of […]

Simplest DIY motor demo

January 26, 2006 | General, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

Courtesy of, here’s just about the simplest motor that I can imagine. Only 4 parts (battery, wire, screw, magnet). Too cool. Technorati Tags: Science Fair

My new PC…

January 25, 2006 | My Projects, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

Over the last couple of months, I had gradually decreased the number of computers in my office to just two (well, computers that have X86 architecture anyway), and I decided that I would like to have a new amd64 based machine. I priced out the cost of just building one from components, and found that […]

Downgrading my Axim X50v

January 25, 2006 | General, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

Well, I spent $40 for the Windows Mobile 5 upgrade for my Dell, and it’s been a pain in the ass ever since.  Apparently I’m not alone, since now Dell officially lists a downgrade for the Axim: yep, it’s back to 2003 SE for the little guy.  Maybe it will stop blinking its stupid LED, […]

New Lego Blog

January 12, 2006 | Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

Another link courtesy of the make blog forums, this time for a brand spanking new Lego blog. It’s too new to tell whether it’s going to be of lasting value, but I’m impressed so far. Subscribe to NextBrick or just surf on over and check out their cool Technic knitting machine or the P-38 and […]

Sony Thwarted Again – PSP 2.60 Hacked – First Homebrew Emerges!

January 12, 2006 | Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

I saw this on digg this morning: A hacker has taken the next step and accomplished the unthinkable, hacking the 2.60 Firmware PSP! It is now possible to play homebrew games on your PSP no matter what firmware it has. Sony, give up on trying to stop us! I haven’t tried this out yet (the […]