• By
  • Category Uncategorized

Its eyes blink with data transfer. Spotted first on my Sunday scroll through the CRAFT Flickr pool. Image/video after the jump to protect delicate sensibilities. As Mark Frauenfelder, Editor-in-chief of MAKE, wrote in 2006 about a similar project:

Taxidermy is an ancient craft but contemporary concerns about using animals to make things are worthy of discussion. As someone who eats meat, wears leather, and uses rat traps to kill rats in my attic, I’m in no position to point my finger at anyone practicing taxidermy. We’ve kept the comments section open for this entry, and I encourage people to continue the conversation. I know this topic elicits strong emotions in some people, but please keep the comments civil and constructive. — Mark Frauenfelder editor-in-chief of MAKE

More:

LEDmouseflashdrive.jpg

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern (sternlab.org is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).


  • Anonymous

    disgusting and pointless

  • enoughwithtaxidermy

    would this be acceptable if it were a kitten, puppy, or bird? i’m guessing not.

    why is it acceptable that it is a mouse?

    to imply that the readers that find this offensive/repugnant possess “delicate sensibilities” is ridiculous. if readers find this offensive they ARE sensible.

    to make this requires a lack of sensibility.

    • enoughwithtaxidermy

      it also requires a lack of sensibility to celebrate/post this.

  • Chrome6

    But my dogs would chew it if you ever left it in reach.
    Nice work.

    • rallen71366

      Cool. Kind of gives me the “willies” looking at it. Like a piece of good art, it evokes strong emotion and wonder. It makes you go “hrmm…”.

  • OntarioMaker

    Must have been a slow day in the office for this one to get up here.

    This is so pointless and stupid it defies description. Come on Make…you guys/gals can do better than this.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t get so upset, I’m sure the mouse died of natural causes.

  • lolomfgwtfbbqlmaoroflcopter

    I’m with Chrome6 on this one, it’s cool, but dogs/cats would destroy this thing.

    Anyway, I have a better idea… Why a flash drive? It seems so obvious that this should have been an optical mouse. C’mon, that hilarious.

  • Ross Hershberger

    To establish my background, I don’t eat meat, but I don’t tell others what to eat. I think even before I became a vegetarian this would have looked creepy to me. A rodent with a connector on its butt seems pervy.

  • screaminscott

    Personally, I don’t think this is offensive. But that’s me.

    I think I see a fad approaching, where people try to create the most offensive flash drive ever.

    So I’m waiting for some pro-life group to create a embryo flash-drive.

  • Anonymous

    It’s just a rodent. They’re evolutionary strategy is to reproduce in high numbers and be expendable as individuals. Its brothers and sisters have probably been fed to pet snakes. Using its remains for some quality human entertainment doesn’t bother me in the least.

    Excuse me while I sit in my leather chair and eat my hot dog made from the innards of 3 different animal species.

    • nestor
    • Miguel

      Humans reproduce in high numbers too. Are we expendable? Maybe if the mouse would have signed a release form people would feel more justified.
      Life is life, don’t go around judging whether one species is expendable or not just cause there’s lots of them.

      • Geoff

        Humans ARE expendable.

        People die constantly by war. Little is ever done to prevent it, and many people even actively seek profit from it.

        People die constantly of starvation, illness and exposure in third-world nations, and in the poorer portions of our own societies. Little is done by way of effective help, and few of us think about it except when some big event hits the news.

        No, humans do not often value human life, especially when they can’t see it. Humans are expendable

        People die constantly in part due to obesity, smoking, drugs, or alcohol. These are the most preventable health issues, yet the problems grow simply because humans don’t even care about themselves.

        Want me to care about a rat? Fix the humans first.

  • clifford paul

    Rant Mode:

    You think this mouse got it bad? Check out where your food (bacon, eggs, hamburger, taco, sausage, steak, milk, chicken fingers, McNuggets, Whoppers, etc…) comes from. Nature does not have these conveniently shrink-wrapped – there is some intervention needed. When you do educate yourself, thank God you don’t have to be the one bringing it to market and thank the one that does.

    Can you imagine a taxidermy cow with RFID to dispense milk? How about a salmon skin utility belt?

    Also, these same producers deal with the scourge of mice and rats bringing diseases and destroying food, destroying property.

    I would love to see what a MAKEr could create to eliminate these pests. A LED Mouse Throwie? RepRap Rat singing “Pants on the Floor”? Arduino R/C ‘possum?

    screaminscott has it mixed up – protest vermin not babies.

    • Maha

      I think the difference comes in with the final product. Using mouse fur in a product would not offend most people. It’s crafting an object inside the corpse of the mouse and preserving a life-like look.. that is what is offensive. Because then the point wasn’t to make use of the dead animal parts, it was to display a corpse.

      Eating animal parts does not disgust most people. Watching an animal butchered and cooked does make people squeamish. Butchering an animal yourself can make you feel sick. The closer you get to the corpse the more unsettling it becomes. Now, it is also true that exposure reduces and eliminates those feelings. But i need to point out the same can be said for murder and many other undesirable acts (like visiting /b/).

      Ultimately we must consume lower lifeforms.. plants and animals. It is best to make use of as much of the lifeform as possible. Taxidermy seems to have started as a method of studying and displaying an animal (like in a museum) for educational purposes (how else could you see an exotic animal?) and has now ended up mostly for displaying hunting Trophies.

  • Anonymous

    gee, is anyone willing to donate their hand? i suppose it doesn’t matter if you’re willing, dontcha know it’d make a really cool cupholder. maybe if i position your fingers right, i can get it to hold my cigarettes, too.

    • Odin

      I Liked the mouse mouse mod featured several months back, but the LED eyeballs on this project is grotesque. They were too large for the mouse sockets, so it looked more disgusting than cool.

      However, you get bonus points for originality.

  • cde

    So it’s okay to use the dead bodies of animals as long as you cut them up and it doesn’t resemble the animal any more….

    • Maha

      For the most part, yes. But the point isn’t to obscure the animal’s origin. Most people eat beef but most people would not eat a burger with an eyeball or a nipple (i know, external feature). Same thing with a leather wallet, i wouldn’t buy a wallet with a nipple sticking out the side. But a lot of it seems subjective and up to the individual to draw those lines.. and they are obviously different for everyone.

      To a more extreme case and not related to animals: people display an urn of ashes from deceased family members but they don’t have preserved heads of mom & dad on the mantel. I’m just trying to show that a difference exists but the line is blurry and subjective.

  • premature anti-fascist

    Some years ago, I found a road-kill raccoon, and collected the body with the idea of making a coon skin cap. But I’d never tried taxidermy before, and it got thrown out before I could finish.

    Seems like a mouse would be a much easier starting point. Seems a little big for a flash drive, if computer-usable vermin were a theme, I’d probably epoxy a cockroach around a flash drive. Maybe perch the mouse on my screen to tell me with its eyes if I had mail.

    To complete the series, why not put an external hard drive inside a cat or a small dog?

    In any case, I like the idea of shaking things up and presenting the animal world in a different context. Using live animals would be an even cooler challenge, maybe hook up the hamster wheel to charge a night-lite battery.

  • Maker Dino

    This is absolutely pointless to post.

    You should learn when to draw the line Makezine.

    I’ll remind you of why you’re here with a quote from your home page:

    “The first magazine devoted entirely to DIY technology projects, MAKE Magazine unites, inspires and informs a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages.”

    Is this a technology project? Hardly.
    Does it unite people? Just read the posts and you’ll get your answer to that.
    Does this inspire? Not really.
    Yes it informs, but to what end?

    ….and would you PLEASE fix the bug on this blog that makes me log back in and repost even though it says I’m logged in. Like many others, I have learned to copy/paste my posts.

  • Anonymous

    could this have been done with sythetic fur?

  • anonymous

    I’m surprised at how up in arms people seem to be over this project. Is the assumption that the creator killed a mouse to put his thumb drive in? You do realize that pet stores sell already dead frozen rodents as reptile food?

    There is a strange need to justify one’s instinctual repulsion. To say that this is more wrong than a belt because it preserves the apperance of a rodent is stupid. A leather belt doesn’t look like a cow, but it still represents the death of that animal. Is that okay because it servers a purpose? Well, it is very easy to make belts and shoes and wallets out of products that have nothing to do with living creatures, so there are other ways to serve that purpose. Sure, the mouse drive isn’t necesarry, but it still serves a purpose.

    I think people should view taxidermy as less offensive when it is employed to create functional art. A head mounted on a wall is far more grotesque to me than a mouse thumb drive.

    I think it’s awesome.

  • Nathan

    Is this a technology project? Taxidermy is tech for sure.
    Does it unite people? It unites me with all the other people that think its a great project.
    Does this inspire? Yep, Im gonna start now.

  • Chris

    Oh mY God – this is sooooo cooooollll! i love it and it has inspired me – my dog is on its last legs – I dont think he has much life left in him so I might convert him into a tower case for my PC? What do you all think?

    Can anyone give me any tips on taking the dogs organs out and then replacing his innards with parts form my PC? I think it will work – i could use his arse hole as a USB port.

    I will photograph my progress and update you all.

  • cliff paul

    Inspired by the protests of those offended and those offended by those offended, I have completed my first taxidermy hack – the flashEgg.

    As follows:
    First I had pierced the egg shell on both ends (1/64-inch drill hooked to a Dremel – 110volt) and utilized high pressure (Craftsman compressor and coiled hose with adapted nozzle) to force the yolk out and spew the chicken ovulation into a frying pan. I then proceeded to insert my flash drive into a custom carved hole (those pesky carbon producing chainsaws and 2 gallons of gas/oil mix do wonders for opening such – unfortunately it took a dozen or so eggs to get it right).

    Noticing that the flash drive (a repurposed 64mB) wobbled about (loosing a couple more egg shells) I used an insulating foam (releasing so much CFC) to tighten up the movement. So you can scratch a number of other unsuccessful flashEgg mods until I found the right amount of atmospheric decimating insulation foam in ratio to the space used.

    Once established (only the insulating foam still oozed slightly and made it so unsightly) I coated it all with the precious rubbery Sugru (what cool stuff this is) until it looked just right.

    Now, my PC looks like it laid a white rubber coated chicken egg out of the USB port (version 2.1).

    Omlettes were enjoyed by all though the fetal chicken loss was heavy.

    • Becky Stern

      I’d like to see a picture! Also, most eggs you get from the store are unfertilized, which means they’re not fetal chickens. =]

  • cliff paul

    …BUT THEY ARE CHICKEN OVULATIONS!

    “Excuse me, you have some bytes in my omlette.”

  • dparks

    I suppose the mouse skin could have just been tossed in the garbage – but I doubt that would have shut you whiners up.

  • Dead pets make great art.

    This is a great project.
    We have 5 dead pet rats in the freezer waiting to become ornaments, and this will be something really cool to try.
    Might have to just use the head, since the rats are larger.

    Most of you misguided people complaining about this probably walk around with dead cows on your feet.

    (curiously, my captcha is “pet2yz”)

  • Anonymous

    AMAZING!!!!!!

    I want one

  • Deez

    Really?